/ Entrepreneurship

1 Million Cups Holds First Event in Provo

I thought the launch event was awesome. Two great presenters. Sixty people in attendance. Great questions and participation.

Utah’s first-ever 1 Million Cups (1MC) event took place Wednesday morning at the Camp 4 building in Provo.

What makes a 1 Million Cups event unique is its simplicity and lack of ego. It’s a program driven by entrepreneurs who care about building a strong community that fosters an environment of engagement and unity.

The format for a 1MC event is always the same. Each week, two local entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to present their startups to a friendly audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs. Presenters prepare a six minute educational presentation and engage in 20 minutes of feedback and questioning after they present.

Local entrepreneurs Cahlan Sharp and Trygve Jensen presented at Provo’s inaugural 1MC event Wednesday morning.

Sharp is the founder of DevMountain, a 12-week code bootcamp for web developers. Camp 4 is home to DevMountain’s headquarters and classroom. We recently published a lengthy piece on Sharp and his startup after the first students to go through his initial program graduated.

Jensen is the founder of Engodo, a social media ad platform that allows social media influencers to monetize their social pages. Jensen’s startup also enables content creators, brands, and agencies to generate large earned media results. We haven’t published a piece on Jensen and Engodo yet, but we’re hoping to do something about that in the near future.

The Deputy Mayor of Provo, Dixon Holmes, was at Wednesday morning’s event. Holmes oversees the city’s Economic Development department, which played a valuable role in getting 1MC to come to Provo.

“In May of 2013, our Chief Administrative Officer, Wayne Parker and myself were in Kansas City for a Fiber to Home conference and checking out Google Fiber and what it meant to the local entrepreneurial community,” said Holmes. “We kept hearing about the Kauffman Foundation and the One Million Cups initiative. Fortunately the timing worked out to attend, so we did and were very impressed. That really started our interest and efforts to get a 1 Millions Cups in Provo. We engaged our own entrepreneurial community and they jumped on it. So, it has been a group effort.”

In an email to Beehive Startups, Holmes encouraged entrepreneurs and startups throughout Utah to go to Provo’s 1 Million Cups website and sign up to present at a future meeting.

“This is going to be a regular Wednesday morning event,” said Holmes. “We want people to come and participate, either as presenters or to learn more about these businesses in our community. This is not just a Provo thing. Yes, it’s in Provo, but everyone benefits.”

Holmes believes the 1MC event will bring value to Provo by continuing to strengthen the existing entrepreneurial community.

“There are a ton of startups in Provo and Utah Valley,” said Holmes. “Many of them are connected. However, many are not and this is another opportunity, that is free and requires no membership. It is all about strengthening the local community. Its run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.”

More local entrepreneurs attended Wednesday’s event than organizers anticipated.

“I thought the launch event was awesome. Two great presenters. Sixty people in attendance. Great questions and participation,” said Holmes. “People stayed after the event, just talking. It was all good. The organizers felt that if they had 20 to 25 people it would be great. So having twice that number, makes us three times as happy. Yes, that is not a typo, we are three times as happy for double the attendance than expected.”

Holmes downplayed the city government’s role in getting 1MC to come to Provo.

“The City played a support role. The local organizers did all the heavy lifting. If anything, we exposed them to the idea, and they ran with it,” said Holmes. “Chris Padilla with Convert-a-Book, Christian Faulconer with Wrist Rocket, Tom and Anders Taylor with Camp 4 and the Startup Building — they all made this happen. But there is more to it than that. We have tried to engage other players in our community. Everyone has a role, the city gives encouragement, some times we just get out of the way. “

1 Million Cups Provo will take place every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Camp 4 Building. We’ll see you there!

Published 1/30/2014