A Guide to the Magic City’s Startup & Revitalization Organizations – (Part 1 of 5)

We can attribute Birmingham’s growth to many different factors in today’s economy, but the two leading forces are the immense amount of startups and revitalization of our communities/districts within city limits.


Part 1 -1MillionCupsBHM

BhamNow talked with Scott Phillips, Organizer of 1MC


The Mission:

“We provide a simple way to engage entrepreneurs in communities around the world. Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs.”

The Services Provided:

“Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real-time feedback, connect with a community that cares about their progress, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business.

The application process, which includes watching 1MC/Kauffman Founders School Powerful Presentations for 1 Million Cups and coaching from one or more organizers, helps entrepreneurs focus on their presentation and question-and-answer skills.

The process of preparing to present, presenting and receiving feedback is a meaningful learning experience that contributes to the progress of entrepreneurs.”

Domestique Coffee Getting Ready for its First Presentation
Domestique Coffee Getting Ready for its First Presentation
The Kind of Companies they Cater to and the Criteria for Entry:
  • 1MC seeks entrepreneurs who:
    • Bring an innovative idea to the market.
    • Have a startup less than five years old or are launching a disruptive new product or service if older than five years.
    • Want to practice their pitch in front of an audience
    • Open to feedback and willing to engage in a dialog with the audience.
    • Seeking guidance on how to overcome obstacles, or take their business to the next level.
    • Have a story that can teach important lessons about buisness, entrepreneurship, overcoming obstacles, or the entrepreneurial life.
    • Even if you do not fit this criteria to a tee – you must have a certain something that will help educate and build the entrepreneurial community.
How to apply:

“They can apply to present on the 1millioncups.com/birmingham website. After answering some questions about their business or non-profit, the organizers will contact them to schedule a presentation.”

Most Recent Successes:

1MC in Birmingham just started August 24th of this year. We have had 13 entrepreneurs present including finalists for REV Birmingham’s THE BIG PITCH (Tropicaleo, Domestique Coffee and Party Boutique Kids) and the Alabama Launchpad (Book-it Legal).”

Key Events this Year:

“Meetings every Wednesday in the UAB iLab space at the Innovation Depot from 9:00-10:00 am.”


Where the Funding comes from:

“The Kaufman Foundation program founded to engage, educate, and connect entrepreneurs in their local communities.”

The revenue impact on Birmingham/Alabama:

“Too early to say, but 1MC directly supports and develops start-up businesses that will contribute significant revenue in the Birmingham area.”

Unique aspects compared to other organizations supporting startups/revitalization:


  • “1MC is organized by engaged community members interested in establishing and enhancing a culture of entrepreneurship in their communities. The events are learning environments where budding businesses from all industries can be discussed in a neutral and supportive atmosphere.”

Audience Engagement

  • “The 20 minutes of Q&A with audience members helps to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem and engage community members in supporting that ecosystem.”


Sales Free

  • “The presentations are not intended to raise capital or pitch products. They are intended to be shared learning experiences that assist both the presenters and audience members.”

Informal Value

  • “The informal connections that happen in hallway conversations are key to expanding the entrepreneurial support system in each community.”

Next Event – November 30!

Wade Cline
Wade Cline

Marketing Producer at Bham Now, Tech Junkie, Foodie, Bham Lover, Movie Snob, Wannabe Quantum Physicist. You can likely find me either at Trim Tab Brewing or O'henry's Coffee in Homewood.

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