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1MC remote

No entrepreneur has to be alone

As 1 Million Cups communities across the country become virtual, rather than in-person events, communities remain in-tact and entrepreneurs can stay connected.


A desire for independence creates the entrepreneur.

A need for interdependence creates the entrepreneur community.

A common threat – like COVID-19 – can be an opportunity to make that entrepreneur community stronger.

Entrepreneurs all start with wanting to go out on their own.

But, in order for them to get all of the resources and support they need, many soon realize they have to rely on the people around them.

That’s where interdependence – everyone helping one-another – comes into play. And it’s one of reasons I love 1 Million Cups. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation in 2012, this free program, through the power of its volunteer organizers, has grown to nearly 200 communities, which aim to educate, engage, and inspire entrepreneurs around the country.

And while communities are inherently interdependent, sometimes, when we face a common existential threat, we feel the need to be around others and help one another to a much higher degree.

It’s in these times we realize that we’re fighting the same fight.

We realize we have a common desire to see our lives, and businesses, return to some kind of normal. But, most importantly, we also realize that we are more alike than we are different.

One of the ways I believe we’re all alike is that none of us want to feel alone.

A few months ago, pre-COVID-19, we had a 1 Million Cups presenter who was a young, first-time business owner – and very shy.

I was nervous to do this today [present at 1 Million Cups] – I almost didn’t – but I’m glad I did. Because I realized today I’m not alone. I have people here who care about me and can help me.

She delivered one of the best presentations I’ve ever heard.

Following Q&A, just before we moved onto our next presenter, she said something I’ll never forget. “I was nervous to do this today – I almost didn’t – but I’m glad I did. Because I realized today I’m not alone. I have people here who care about me and can help me.”

Her words really hit my heart.

When the coronavirus outbreak changed life in America, and we saw in-person events like 1 Million Cups disrupted, my greatest fear was that entrepreneurs like her would feel alone again without an event like 1MC to come to every week.

1MC remote
1 Million Cups organizers meet online via Zoom Pro.

Yet, much like our entrepreneurial community, we adapted. Our meetings became virtual with a Zoom Pro account provided by the Kauffman Foundation to all community organizers. We’re grateful and relieved that we can stay connected to our community. What’s better is that we’re attracting a whole new audience on this platform – people who had not yet attended meetings in person before.

Virtual 1MC means more to us than just a new technology or tool to leverage. It means we can keep connecting people.

We can keep asking them that foundational question, “How can we, as an entrepreneurial community, help you?”

But most importantly, it means that no entrepreneur ever has to be alone.

And for that, I’m grateful.

This piece is part of the Foundation’s “Uncommon Voices” series, which features viewpoints from those working hard on issues that reduce racial inequity and support economic stability, mobility, and prosperity.

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