The landscape of Phoenix and its environs still evokes images of the Wild West – dusty, sweltering summers; a tumbleweed rolling off a saguaro cactus; Rattlesnakes and scorpions. But Phoenix and the surrounding area are so much more than they were in the old days. According to 2020 census data, Phoenix was the fastest growing US city between 2010 and 2020, and two suburbs of Phoenix – Goodyear and Buckeye – are two of the fastest growing US cities this decade. Not only is there potential for economic growth, residents have already proven they have what it takes to excel in small businesses.
The American-made documentary series by GoDaddy, which shows the struggles and successes of exceptional entrepreneurs, uses the third season to shed light on Arizona. Fittingly, GoDaddy is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, part of the greater Phoenix landscape and home to Arizona’s largest university.
We feel very attached to the entrepreneurs in the Valley of the Sun because we’ve been there.
Phoenix offers a unique opportunity for the season. Empower, GoDaddy’s philanthropic program that equips entrepreneurs in more than 40 cities with the tools they need to be successful, has a strong presence in Phoenix.
GoDaddy also has strong relationships with business partners and local experts who bring compelling business stories and respected experts to the forefront of the series. The polar and divided political climate of the state enables unique perspectives on core issues and business opportunities for immigrants as well as indigenous and indigenous peoples.
Made in America’s third season takes us on a journey with two unique entrepreneurs – Dizzie Ramsey and Cherilyn Yazzie.
Dizzie Ramsey, Just Energy Entertainment
Dizzie Ramsey is a born entertainer. With his high energy and humor he has worked in the entertainment industry as an MC for the Harlem Globetrotters and for Radio Disney, the Phoenix Suns and Nickelodeon for more than 20 years. Tours have taken him to all 50 states.
He founded Just Energy Entertainment (JEE) five years ago. The company looks after and entertains children and the elderly, focuses on children with disabilities and illnesses, and works with local senior centers. The entertainment company also works with larger companies for team building events.
Dizzie founded JEE to do something that doesn’t weigh the full burden of entertainment on itself. He saw it as an opportunity to train others and pass on his energy and passion for entertainment and bringing joy to others.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard, and JEE is no exception. The nature of the bans and restrictions has brought virtually all business to a standstill.
He supported his employees financially during the toughest times of the pandemic and made sure that his colleagues could pay their bills and expenses.
The social unrest and racial segregation that have intensified and moved to the fore of society have also led to a struggle for Dizzie and JEE. He perceives conflict in his job and perception as “the help” that comes up at events for a generally affluent and white audience, and the inability to express his opinion on important issues so as not to alienate his customer base and potentially close business lose.
But Dizzie is pushing to create joy and entertainment for the community. JEE is partnering with Treasure House, a full-fledged adult home operated by the Kurt Warner Foundation, for an upcoming event. Dizzie is also working on a partnership agreement for JEE as the entertainment partner of the local Indoor Football League.
Cherilyn Yazzie, coffee pot farms
Cherilyn Yazzie knows the importance of a healthy diet. As a social worker for over a decade and a Navajo woman, she directed the Nutritional Services Division for Navajo County Public Health.
She consistently recommended nutritious and healthy foods, but found that it wasn’t always possible for her clients to do so.
Fresh fruits and vegetables have not always been readily available, especially for those located in the Navajo Nation’s reservations, where there is a food wasteland.
So she decided to do something about it.
She and her husband Mike started Coffee Pot Farms. Using a greenhouse, drip irrigation, careful soil management and other techniques, they produce fresh produce despite the harsh desert conditions and lack of water.
They have been running and running the farm since 2016, supplying the Navajo Nation with fresh produce.
Their goal is to bring others within the nation into farming so that there are ever more opportunities for nutritious, fresh food and future generations can continue to be healthy, live long, and further share the traditions and culture of the Navajo.
Cherilyn and Mike, who mainly operated and sold from farm stalls within the reserve, had to adjust when the COVID-19 pandemic closed those stalls. They started their first Community Assisted Agriculture Movement (CSA) and were able to sell at some farmers’ markets both inside and outside the reserve.
Since they lease the land they farm from the Navajo Nation and work almost entirely off-grid – no running water, no electricity, and minimal internet connection – Cherilyn and Mike say that if they can work a farm, anyone can. They are focused on growing their CSA, getting their website up and running, and learning more about marketing their brand and business to bring healthy lives to more people in their community and beyond.
Join us on Made in America season three on October 14, 2021 and learn about the barriers Arizona entrepreneurs face and how they thrive and support their communities in Grand Canyon State.