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Phoenix Business Journal: 1 Million Cups provides weekly jolt for entrepreneurs, startups

See the original article here. 

There’s a new meet-up program that offers local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their company to a public audience of mentors, advisers and entrepreneurs.

The 1 Million Cups meet-up is a free, weekly, one-hour program that started in September at Mod, a new business lounge and meeting place for mobile professionals in midtown Phoenix.

The program takes place from 9 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday in 57 cities across the country, from Alaska to Puerto Rico.

The 1 Million Cups name refers to cups of coffee. Organizers believe that good things come out of drinking and talking over coffee.

“It’s a great way to learn about different local businesses,” said Jenny Anderson, a co-organizer of 1 Million Cups and co-founder of Celebrate Autism, a Phoenix nonprofit empowering young adults with developmental disabilities through education and entrepreneurship. “It helps me think more creatively about my business.”

The meet-up, meant to be an educational program, gives entrepreneurs six minutes to pitch their company and 20 minutes of feedback and questions.

The goal is for the entrepreneurs to get ideas on how they can improve their business, connect with needed sources and get real-time feedback on issues.

Any local startup in its first three years of a scalable product is invited to attend.

The Think Global Institute presented at a recent meet-up. The organization has an annual collaborative, 16-week program that helps female business owners transition through their growth stages. The institute came to Phoenix this year and is working with 11 local women.

“We help good businesses become great,” said Steve Haase, Think Global Institute co-founder. “We travel from city to city and work with women across the world in 26 countries. We believe 76 percent of problems that cause a business to fail are fixable.”

Two of the companies Think Global works with also presented at the same meeting.

Jessica “JR” Marriott, owner of Tantrum Handbags, talked about her branding issues and design idea for her high-end leather handbags. She needed help to simplify her message and finding a marketing person who is a Pinterest expert.

“We will be the first independent handbags in Bloomingdale’s,” Marriott said. “I’m trying to build up the brand and reach out to more high-achieving women.”

Susan Cordts, owner of Catalytic Health Partners, an in-home health care service that runs on an integrated database, talked about her dream of transforming health care and her contract work with health plans. She needed contacts at the Phoenix VA hospital, and needed leads on nurses and social workers who are willing to work in people’s homes.

The local 1 Million Cups program was also organized in Phoenix by Courtney Klein, co-founder of Seed Spot, a Phoenix incubator; Brad Wiatr, chief creative officer of User10, a Scottsdale software design and development company; andGeoff Lilienfeld, a serial entrepreneur who is working on new startup CartWheels, an Uber-like golf cart service.

The 1 Million Cups program is offered by the Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Missouri-based foundation that fosters economic independence by advancing education and entrepreneurship.

For more information on 1 Million Cups, click here.

Lauren McDanell

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