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Kait Lance: Creative Coast celebrates 2nd year of 1 Million Cups

It seems like just the other day I was writing an article for this column on the launch of 1 Million Cups Savannah, a weekly meetup featuring one to two entrepreneurs who present their ideas and endeavors to an audience of mentors, service providers and other entrepreneurs in the Savannah area.

On Feb. 8, 1 Million Cups Savannah will celebrate two years of weekly gatherings, totaling more than 180 hours of presentations, spotlighting almost 200 aspiring entrepreneurs and supported by hundreds of local attendees. 1 Million Cups Savannah has definitely become the meeting ground for our area’s innovators.

Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., I have the honor of gathering with five organizers and at least 30 community members who care about helping Savannah’s entrepreneurs and innovators succeed. Retired CEOs, marketing specialists, designers, students and entrepreneurs from every field meet up at this weekly event to help build the local startup ecosystem, provide business advice and form lasting relationships with intentional and knowledgeable people.

One presenter’s experience paints the perfect picture of how 1 Million Cups Savannah can make a difference. In 2015, Jordan Ogden, CEO and founder of J. Enterprises, LLC, decided to launch an etiquette school for Savannah youth. When asked about the value of the 1 Million Cups community to her endeavor, Jordan said “The audience feedback was phenomenal and, although it challenged me, the advice and questions also motivated me to strive harder toward my ultimate business goals.” Jordan launched her etiquette school in 2016 and was offered a space for her etiquette school to meet by a community member who heard her presentation at the Wednesday meetup.

Jordan is just one of many entrepreneurs who made lasting connections and gained vital insight for their startups. The entrepreneurs, projects and innovators featured on the 1 Million Cups stage are as diverse as they are passionate about their endeavors.

Corstrata, a digital and medical technology startup, allows board-certified wound care clinicians to manage the care of patients with complex wounds and to improve clinical and financial outcomes.

Green Revolution Lawn Maintenance is Savannah’s first large-scale lawn maintenance company using all battery-powered lawn equipment offering 100 percent zero emissions and 50 percent reduced noise levels.

Watson Works.Co is a startup that equips people and companies with insights and tools to better communicate and collaborate with others.

Teach The Future Fellowship is an innovative school-community program hosted by St. Andrew’s School that connects like-minded educators to innovators and entrepreneurs in the local community to engage in new understandings of the possibilities in teaching and learning.

Every week brings new and exciting opportunities for 1 Million Cups Savannah attendees to either refine their business ideas or help an aspiring entrepreneur. No matter whether you are on the stage presenting or in the audience analyzing, 1 Millions Cups is a great way to move Savannah’s economy forward.

We hope you can join us from 9 a.m. - 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Creators’ Foundry at 415 W. Boundary St. to celebrate with food, coffee and good fellowship. This is your opportunity to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, do-ers, makers and community leaders in the local startup and innovative ecosystem.

1 Million Cups would not be possible without the drive and passion of organizers Cari Phelps of Clark Creative; Casey Herrington of the Technology Association of Georgia; Jennifer Atkinson of Progressive Abilities Support Services, Inc.; Ernestine Murray of Kangen Water; and Gordon Matthews, entrepreneur and business consultant.

A special thanks to the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City for providing Savannah and 90-plus cities across the nation with the platform for 1 Million Cups. Most importantly 1 Million Cups Savannah is made possible by local sponsors who strive to promote entrepreneurialism and innovation in our city: the City of Savannah, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Perc Coffee Roasters, AT&T, Carriage Trade PR, Kangen Water, Nosoco, and Clark Creative.

Kait Lance is an entrepreneurship evangelist and community manager at The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Kait can be reached at 912-447-8457 or kait@thecreativecoast.org.

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