Virginia Beach has just been accepted into 1 Million Cups (1MC), a program developed by Kauffman Labs to engage entrepreneurs in communities around the world.
Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors and entrepreneurs. In Virginia Beach, nine business leaders have been identified as co-organizers who will launch the program and oversee its success.
Presenters prepare a six-minute educational presentation and engage in 20 minutes of feedback and questioning after they present. Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real-time feedback, connect with a community that truly cares about their progress and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business. The audience also learns a great deal from the presentations. Whether this is through passively listening or deeply engaging with the entrepreneurs, there is much to learn every week from these dynamic and diverse communities.
The Virginia Beach 1MC program will be held every Wednesday morning from 9 to 10 a.m. atStratford University, 555 S. Independence Blvd. The program will start on April 29 with presentations from Monique Adams of 757 Angels, Inc. and Scott Hunter, president of Comparity, Inc. 1MC is free and open to the public. View the national website at 1MillionCups.com, and access the Virginia Beach microsite here.
“We have about 50 companies on the roster to speak to this group,” said Kevin Curry, co-organizer. “Our city needs something like this to connect the entrepreneur community. It ends up being a pitch practice to help people hone their skills. The programs are educational, and they provide an environment to observe, learn and expand. All the organizers are from Virginia Beach, but our goal is to have a regional reach. Curry is an entrepreneur with two startups, 3Scape and Comparity.
“We are very pleased that our entrepreneurs will have the opportunities to learn and grow through this program,” said Warren D. Harris, director of Virginia Beach Economic Development. “This program in addition to our Small Business Contracting Institute, SWAM Business Forum and SCORE provide a robust toolbox of opportunities and educational programs for entrepreneurs and small business owners.”
In each 1 Million Cups city, local entrepreneurs drive the program as community organizers. Volunteering for the leadership roles in Virginia Beach are:
• Kevin Curry, Creator of 3Scape
• Drew Webb, Strategic Director of Affaiproject.com
• Gregor Goodman, Business Development Manager of Techark Solutions
• Magda Khalifia, President, Asymmetric Solutions Group
• Mike Klett, Director of Business Development, Klett Consulting Group
• Elizabeth M. Dietzmann, Associate Corporate Counsel, Harbor Group International
• Nancy Norman, Assistant Vice President, Rutherfoord
• Raymond White, Business Development Manager, Virginia Beach Economic Development
• Steve Goad, Owner, Media Goal Solutions
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. Visit www.kauffman.org for more information.
The mission of the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development is to attract and retain national and international businesses to stimulate capital investment and create jobs. Virginia Beach is the most populous city in Virginia with a population of 440,000, and it is the 37th largest in the United States. It is recognized as one of the Best Run Cities in America by 24/7 Wall St. The Department of Economic Development received re-accreditation through the International Economic Development Council in 2012 and is one of only 29 economic development organizations in the world to have this recognition. It is listed among the Top Five Overall Mid-sized American Cities of the Future, Top 10 for Economic Potential and Top Five for Infrastructure by fDi magazine. CNNMoney.com ranked Virginia Beach as the Easiest Place to Start a Business and the 2nd Most Business-Friendly City in the country. For more information, visit www.yesvirginiabeach.com.