In early 2018, the city of Peoria signed a partnership with ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation to help build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem in the West Valley called Peoria Forward. When considering what tools and programs would work well to create connectivity in the West Valley, the decision was made that 1 Million cups was the ideal approach.
The West Valley is diverse in age, industry and experience brimming with eager high school students passionate about innovation and highly seasoned business professionals looking to give back. ASU E+I put out a call for leaders interested in being part of the committee. Shortly there after an inclusive group of small business leaders, entrepreneurs, experienced 1MCuppers and resources stepped forward and decided a beta test would be a significant next step to introduce the West Valley to 1MC.
From the location to the ventures that pitched, the beta test was reflective of the unique strengths of the West Valley. The event was held in the historic Peoria High school auditorium, also part of the Peoria MET program. The room was full of over 60 entrepreneurs, community members, students, city economic developers, local chamber members, statewide resources and more. The City of Peoria brought their local camera crew to capture the event and help spread the word. The Peoria Chamber reached out to the Arizona Commerce Authority and other statewide programs for sent representation. ASU E+I brought representatives from their E+I team who travel the country building curriculum designed to help high school and middle school students utilizing innovation and entrepreneurship. Regardless of the crowd size, the presenters received support and the community was eager to further discussion sparked by the ventures pitching.
The first presenter was Motion Warriors, a west valley inventor looking to revolutionize the caliber of video independent content creators can produce through patented technology. The second presenter was a student group from Peoria MET, working to create safe schools using robotics. Kristin David, a local entrepreneur said, “We have received incredible support through the 1MC community. Referrals to others in our industry, connections to additional resources and opportunities and valuable mentorship to help us hone our pitch, it’s really amped up our momentum. We’re so glad we found 1MC!”
It is a powerful event, which showed that the West Valley is eager and excited for this type of exercise in ecosystem development.
Weekly meetings of the West Valley 1 Million Cups launched in January at the Peoria Chamber of Commerce training room, easily accessible off Loop 101 and Bell road. Already the community has found traction, reaching new people and highlighting the unique talent in the West Valley. Everyone is invited to join as we build this ecosystem. If you are interested in pitching applications are open online.
The E+I team is also supporting the launch of 1 Million cups in the East Valley. Ventures in Phoenix can now pitch at multiple locations gaining feedback and practice for a variety of audiences.
1 Million Cups is just one portion of our Peoria Forward program, but it belongs to the community. It is reflective of ASU’s approach to all community entrepreneurship, work side by side with partners to identify innovative tools to build inclusive communities through the power of entrepreneurship and innovation. Leveraging our position as a national leader in innovation and our ability to convene through leaders locally, to create measurable impact in the community. We are excited to see where the community takes the program from here. So we encourage everyone, come out, join the conversation and as a community let’s turn one cup, into 1 Million.
Learn more about 1 Million Cups West Valley here.