Provo entrepreneurs among those who benefit from support program

Jenny Goldsberry
WeWork hosts 3MillionCups for the second year in a row. (Jenny Goldsberry).

Members of Provo’s chapter of 1MillionCups meet every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at what some members describe as a support group for entrepreneurs.

“Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs,” their LinkedIn page says. A meeting consists of a six-minute educational presentation followed by 20 minutes of feedback and questions. According to the page, this is an effort to help entrepreneurs advance their businesses.

“It’s like AA for entrepreneurs,” said Robert Bell, lead organizer for the Salt Lake chapter of 1MillionCups.

It’s called 1MillionCups because, according to the group’s website, it’s “based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee.”

The 1MillionCups group was established by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2012.

According to their website, it’s a free program that got off the ground with the help of volunteers. Now there are 170 chapters nationwide.

“The Kauffman Foundation has done a great job getting this program not only up and running but spreading across the country,” said Amy Caldwell, the lead organizer for the Provo chapter.

Caldwell is also the Executive Director of Rev Road, where the Provo meetings have been hosted since July 2019.

Amy Caldwell, executive director of RevRoad, speaks at Provo’s recent 1MC meeting at RevRoad headquarters. (Instagram profile photo)

Recently, members from the Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden got together to host a “3MillionCups” meeting. It was held at WeWork’s Salt Lake office, where the Salt Lake chapter meets. The lead organizers from each of the three locations put it together.

“This is becoming an annual tradition between the three chapters along the I-15 corridor,” Caldwell said. “This event is meant to bring the organizers, presenters, and community members together in a shared focus to engage, educate and connect everyone who attends.”

For Khaya Darko of South Africa, the meetings are just what she needs to get her business off the ground. While she has interest in varying industries like film and fashion, she has aspirations to help her home country.

“South Africa spent Christmas in darkness,” she said. “I want to be able to empower my people. My biggest belief is that in order to reach greater heights, one must stand on the shoulders of a giant. 1MillionCups is my giant.”

Khaya Darko poses in front of the 1MillionCups banner, provided to each chapter. (Jenny Goldsberry)

During his presentation at a 1MillionCups meeting, a man named Troy pointed out another man in the audience. He was a friend who was coming to meetings consistently. Troy had connections that got that man a job.

“Who you connect with and what you do really matters,” Troy said.

According to Caldwell, there will be more 3MillionCups meetings to come. “We plan at least one 3MillionCups a year and have talked about holding them more regularly,” she said. “The 1MillionCups chapters are all somewhat familiar with each other and maintaining the terrific connections between the groups provide incredible value.”

Tradition has been that 3MillionCups is held the Wednesday before the annual Silicon Slopes convention to promote the tech summit among entrepreneurs.

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