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1 Million Cups helps grow entrepreneurship

Via The Times : What does it take to get your business headed down the right path? To make the connections you need to be successful? To be asked the hard questions, so you can find the answers while they still lead to opportunities instead of problems?

At Cohab, we believe in the right setting, the answer can be as simple as a cup of coffee.

The second Wednesday of each month at 9 a.m., Cohab offers a program called 1 Million Cups to the Shreveport-Bossier community. 1 Million Cups is a national program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the world-renown Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.

At each 1 Million Cups, an early-stage startup or business owner presents their company to a diverse audience of their peers, mentors, educators, advisors and community supporters.

Then the magic happens. After a six to 10 minute presentation, the floor is opened to the audience. Community members are welcomed and invited to ask questions, even tough ones, give feedback and brainstorm ideas with presenters.

Presenters get invaluable feedback in a safe, neutral environment, as well as benefits which extend well beyond the Wednesday they present.

Preparing for 1 Million Cups helps business owners look at aspects of their companies and how they communicate about them to others in a way many have never had to before by offering hands-on instruction in giving “Powerful Presentations” from Kauffman’s Founders School.

They also get the benefit of networking before, after, and sometimes even during the event with members of the community, making the connections that can help them build their businesses. Those connections are invaluable not only to the companies presenting, but also to the audience.

As the result of 1 Million Cups presentations, we have seen businesses overcome major hurdles in their operations, startups pivot into entirely new directions, we’ve even seen brand new companies grow out of people meeting in the audience.

1 Million Cups is an important program because it brings people together who believe in the power of growing entrepreneurship and want to help be a part of that process. Any time you can do that, great things happen.

So, since you’ve made it this far, we hope you’re asking how you can get involved. The great news is that it couldn’t be easier.

If you’re a business owner, apply to present. Visit www.1millioncups.com/shreveport and click the “Apply to Present” button to get started.

If you don’t have a business to present, but you want to participate in Shreveport-Bossier’s entrepreneurial scene, join us in the audience, and, once you’ve seen the power of this program first-hand, invite someone else to come along. Help business grow and flourish in Shreveport-Bossier by being one of 1 million cups.

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