Monthly event aims to assist entrepreneurs News

LEWISBURG — The Susquehanna Valley is one of three places in the state hosting 1 Million Cups (1MC) events promoting the cultivation of local entrepreneurship and the first region of the state to bring this to fruition.

“This is one of my favorite events,” said Steven Stumbris, director of Bucknell University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), of the event held Wednesday at Startup Lewisburg at 416 Market St.

1MC Susquehanna Valley was founded in 2016 by local entrepreneur Mark Burke who is a member of SBDC’s startup incubator, Startup Danville.

Each month, two presenters are given six minutes to tell their story followed by 20 minutes of engagement with the community. Advice is given on a variety of issues.

Stumbris said half a dozen people volunteered to organize 1MC.

SBDC is one of many community sponsors of 1MC and periodically locations for the events change from one sponsor’s venue to another. Stumbris said much support comes from local Chambers of Commerce and various coffee sponsors.

“That’s the hook, what this conversation is about. Having a cup of coffee and talking,” Stumbris said.

Both presenters at the event on Wednesday were women. Stumbris said there is a real strong presence of women in business being represented through 1MC.

Katie Caputo, founder of Roambler, spoke about getting people outdoors and connected to natural amenities in Pennsylvania through her company.

“Roambler is the Airbnb to connect with a local guide to get you out into nature especially in Pennsylvania’s waterways,” according to Stumbris.

At Roambler you browse what experiences you are looking for and in what areas of the state to connect with local guides and experiences.

“The business side of it made perfect sense to me. I loved the business model,” Stumbris said.

Stumbris said he loved Roambler’s personal touch and its relevance during the pandemic.

“Getting outdoors was a big, big trend, and she wants that to continue,” Stumbris said.

Discovering opportunities to put Roambler in front of more people through other platforms and organizations is the goal as well as finding recruiting guides.

Stumbris said Caputo has big goals for Roambler.

The other presenter, Olympic bronze medalist Joey Lye (www.joey-lye.com), was head softball coach at Bucknell University from 2018-2020 before stepping down to pursue her dream of being in the Olympics.

In June 2021, Lye was named to Canada’s 2020 Olympic team.

“One thing she brings that’s relatable is she has this idea: Does my medal count any less because it’s not gold?” Stumbris said.

He said Lye spoke about working towards goals and improving yourself as a person. Stumbris said she brings a very empowering message.

Lye said she contacted SBDC about her business then was directed to the Central PA Chamber of Commerce. After joining the chamber, 1MC was brought up to her.

“We talked online, I filled out the application and here we are,” Lye said. “I just shared what I’ve been up to in 2022 and what my business is about and what I’m going to do going forward and how individuals in the room can help me.”

One reason she wanted to be involved with 1MC was to gain feedback and insights from attendees.

“Things like marketing, messaging, pricing, how to navigate those things as a new business owner,” said Lye, a speaker and high-performance consultant. “Essentially I use all the experiences and expertise I’ve gained over the years and being a national team athlete who recently retired after an Olympic experience.”

Lye works with teams and organizations as well as schools on leadership, team culture, mindset and confidence. She registered her Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) status in January.

“Thankfully I have amazing friendships and people in my network so I leveraged those relationships,” she said. “Our team over the years has done so much work on team culture. We perform at the highest potential as a team.

Lye said her next steps are to continue building the brand of her business and work to impact and empower as many people as she can.

Lewisburg Mayor Kendy Alvarez, lead organizer of the event, got involved with 1MC in 2019.

“I’ve been part of the SBDC community for a while,” said Alvarez. “I was immediately just drawn into the possibilities of this and what it could do for entrepreneurship in this region.”

Alvarez said 1MC is a team effort with a volunteer base of 10 individuals.

“We work to make sure we have speakers and we assign a speaker coach to guide them through the million cups model,” Alvarez said.

She said the event is not a pitch to invest or get behind a company.

“Instead it’s really about moments of vulnerability and coming together as a community to help solve problems and address issues these businesses might be facing,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said most entrepreneurs are “solo-preneures.” She said this community offers a variety of different backgrounds and entrepreneurs to offer solutions.

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