Local 1 Million Cups Chapter Supports Entrepreneurs and Business Owners with Networking and Learning Opportunities

1 Million Cups Logo in orange

Are you starting a business and/or looking to expand your community of local entrepreneurs and business owners? 

You are invited to attend or present at a weekly, educational program designed to engage, connect, and support local entrepreneurs and start-ups as part of a national network of business leaders. Each week, the 1 Million Cups program offers local business owners, entrepreneurs, and business educators an opportunity to present their companies to a group of mentors, entrepreneurs, and community members. Join us Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to 10am at the Eastside Library, MLK Jr. room.

Every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m., one entrepreneur or business owner presents their company, project, or product to the audience. They present for ten minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience. This is an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with resources to solve problems or refine an idea. Library staff work with local organizers to identify speakers. 


Meet one of Santa Barbara’s 1 Million Cups community organizers, Terra! Tell us about yourself and your connection to 1 Million Cups Santa Barbara.

I began participating with 1 Million Cups in 2014 when I was a co-owner of a small tourism transportation business in Richmond, VA. I was new to business ownership and had NO funds to pay for networking in the community. I found 1MC Richmond via Meetup.com. The weekly routine of meeting with a group of entrepreneur-minded people helped me with so many aspects of running our small business. Each week, I learned something new from the presentations and conversation. Unfortunately, my business venture was not a success and I returned to the corporate world. I accepted a position here in Santa Barbara in 2017. When I realized the city didn´t have a 1MC chapter, I began hunting for a venue that would donate space for the weekly meetings. SBPL came through in 2018. It took us quite a while to work through the extensive approval process with the 1 Million Cups headquarters team, but we were determined to bring the program to Santa Barbara! The chapter hosted its first meeting in January, 2019.

How can I get involved?

Join us Wednesday mornings at 9am, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and take a seat in the audience! You don't have to be a business owner to participate; we invite everyone to the table. It takes a village to help new businesses survive the early years of getting established in a community. The goal of attendees is to listen to the entrepreneur's story and brainstorm ways to help the new business succeed.

For those who own a business less than 5 years old, we would love to have you present your story to the community. The process to request a presentation slot on our calendar is simple. Visit www.1millioncups.com for details.

There is never any cost to anyone for this program! All of the chapter needs are covered by the Kauffman Foundation, SBPL, and our volunteer organizing team: Paul, Steve, Paige, & me. Volunteering as an organizer is a terrific resume building activity and a rewarding investment of time. We´re actively seeking a few more volunteers for our chapter.

What have you learned about entrepreneurship as an attendee and organizer of 1 Million Cups?

I've learned over the years that there are countless ways we can serve our communities by starting new businesses. Non-profits and mutual aid organizations are also important and welcome to participate in 1 Million Cups.
Terra Taylor

I've learned too much to put into words here. So many of us today associate the word ´entrepreneur´ with the technology industry, but it applies to ALL industries. I've learned over the years that there are countless ways we can serve our communities by starting new businesses. Non-profits and mutual aid organizations are also important and welcome to participate in 1 Million Cups.

The best, and most successful, entrepreneurs begin their creative process by considering the needs of their community. How can their efforts benefit others in a way that will provide income to the entrepreneur? This is where creating a new business begins. Over the years, I've listened to the stories of so many. From housekeeping businesses to fashion influencers, app developers, and even pharmaceutical companies! There is a shocking level of common growth and pain applicable to small businesses in the early years of their formation and beyond.

What can potential presenters expect when they sign up to be a 1 Million Cups presenter?

The process begins with their online application submission. It's a brief bit of data entry that can be completed in less than 20 minutes. Once the application is received by the 1MCSB team, we review the information provided to be sure the request fits the program guidelines (most do). Then, we schedule the speaker for a Wednesday morning that fits their schedule. We provide guidelines and examples of past presentations to help the entrepreneur prepare their 6-10 minute presentation. We’re happy to review and proof the presentation as needed. After the speaker finishes their presentation, we hold a Q&A period. I find this portion of the program to be the most informative and educational. We provide a copy of the recorded presentation to the speaker to give them opportunity to review their performance for improvement. Speakers are invited to present again at 6 month intervals so they can track their growth and style evolution.

Why is it called 1 Million Cups?

1 Million Cups is based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee.

In each 1 Million Cups city, local entrepreneurs drive the program as community organizers. 1MC Santa Barbara community organizers include: Terra Taylor, Paul Saldana, Steve Chafe, and Paige Sundstrom.

Remind me again - where and when do you meet?

We meet in person at the Eastside Library  at 1102 E. Montecito St. with the option to join virtually via Zoom on Wednesday mornings. Register on our Santa Barbara microsite to see upcoming presenters and receive the Zoom links for the weekly meetings.