Shatha Barbour was featured in the Phoenix Business Journal. Here’s the story…

From the Editor: Have a great startup idea? These big thinkers can help

By Greg Barr – Editor in Chief, Phoenix Business Journal
Nov 8, 2019, 6:00am EST

Most entrepreneurs can recall that “aha” moment that got them started. The thing is, many of those ideas never come to fruition simply because of the difficulty in connecting the dots to turn a thought into a thriving enterprise.

It’s good to know some big thinkers in the Valley want to help people convert their ideas into bonafide businesses.

I was speaking the other day with Shatha Barbour, who runs the Phoenix branch of Hera Hub, a California-based coworking space that specializes in supporting women-owned businesses — though many of them these days involve husband-and-wife teams. She is constantly being asked by aspiring entrepreneurs about where to look for advice.

Prior to working for Hera Hub, Barbour had a four-year stint with drug-making giant Eli Lily, where she developed strategies for the company in association with other governments around the world to make medicine more accessible. She is used to developing big-picture ideas, and she had been trying since she arrived in the Valley to find the right connection to help the 60 or so entrepreneurs at her coworking space to get to the next level.

Enter Aram Chávez, a former investment banker who has lectured about entrepreneurship to undergrads at Arizona State University’s engineering school since 2012. His own Chandler startup, called Aha to Exit, has been around since he started teaching at ASU. It provides a working map for entrepreneurs to get rolling — with a mentoring component — for an investment of about $1,000 without that much larger tuition burden or time commitment of being a full-time student.

While accelerators take a startup and turn it into a bigger business, Aha to Exit’s sweet spot is earlier on in the cycle, turning innovators with cool ideas — who often don’t have a lot of financial resources available — into entrepreneurs ready to launch the startup cycle.

After Chavez and Barbour started talking, one of those “aha” moments ensued.

“Since I opened [the coworking space] I get so many phone calls almost every day asking, ‘I have a new idea,’ or ‘I’m stuck, so where do you go for startup advice?’,” Barbour said. “I’ve been looking for a partner to guide and direct traffic for women entrepreneurs, and I found one right here in our backyard.”

Chavez, president of Aha to Exit, is working out details to start teaching one- and two-day seminars at Hera Hub that will introduce attendees to his business plan road map.

“This is a demographic that I think I can help immediately,” Chavez said of his decision to work with Barbour at the coworking space.

Barbour, meanwhile, envisions that working with Chavez could lead to pitch competitions — and more.

“There is just so much new startup activity bubbling up in Phoenix. But to succeed it takes a lot of resilience and the right connections,” Barbour said. “From my own experience, it means you have to not be afraid to ask questions, because that’s what opens doors.”

Original article written and published by Phoenix Business Journal…