Archive for News

WECREATE | ZAMBIA Women’s Entrepreneurship Center Launches!

IMG_6296In partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) and the Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) project, these women’s entrepreneurship centers will advance gender equality and address entrepreneurship skill barriers faced by women and girls. This investment in the centers marks the first ever private-public partnership between the U.S. State Department, Caterpillar and StartUp Cup, an organization that provides global end-to-end solutions for accelerating entrepreneurial ventures, creating jobs and building local and regional entrepreneurship ecosystems. StartUp Cup will be the implementing partner managing the centers. Read the entire Press Release.

Brenda Rios Joins StartUp Cup Team as New Operations Director

Brenda_RiosWe are delighted that our long-time friend and collaborator, Brenda Rios, has joined the StartUp Cup team as our new Director of Operations and enthusiastically look forward to working with her in this new role.  Please join us in congratulating Brenda and for her ongoing commitment to expanding entrepreneurship and women empowerment.

2014 World StartUp Cup Winner, Partners with UN to Save Schools Around the World

Speaking from the United Nations Headquarters in New York, Mr Gordon Brown said:

“It has been one month since the kidnapping of 89 South Sudanese boys from their classrooms to train then as child soldiers,  “It has been three months since the Peshawar school attack where 140 were killed,  “It is one year on from Boko Haram’s mass abduction of more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria,  “It is exactly four years since the Syria conflict began, which has exiled one million children and displaced two million more, most of whom are no longer at school.

“It is time for us to end the shameful breaches of international law that violate the rights of millions of children by calling a halt to the militarization of schools, stopping the now-growing abduction of school pupils as weapons of war and insisting – even in conflict zones – that properly resourced ‘safe schools’ enable children to enjoy their education in peace. – Read the full article here.

World’s First WECREATE Women’s Entrepreneurship Center Launches in Pakistan


The WECREATE | PAKISTAN team with Ambassador Olsen and Special Representative Scott Nathan during the official launch ceremony.

The first Women’s Entrepreneurial Centers of Resources, Education, Access, and Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) Center opened in Islamabad, Pakistan. U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson, Department of State Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Scott Nathan, and U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Catherine Russell gave remarks, along with Pakistan’s Additional Secretary for the Ministry of Commerce Robina Ather to commemorate this milestone at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Read the full press release here.

Putting Together a Winning Team For Your Startup


Ghana StartUp Cup Organizer, Emmanuel Nyame Shares Insights Into Building a Startup Team.

Kairos Global Fellow and multi-award winning Ghanaian entrepreneur Emmanuel Nyame is involved in shaping the startup scene in Ghana through the Startup Cup accelerator programme, while also running DPI Ghana, his management consultancy based in Accra. In this exclusive guest post for Disrupt Africa, he takes us through the ways of putting together a top team for your startup while meeting your organisational goals. Read the full article here: Disrupt Africa

Lower Mekong WECREATE Center Announced


Woman’s Clothing Shop in Vietnam

When the U.S. Department of State announced the up-coming launch of a WECREATE Center in the Lower Mekong sub-region this past weekend, it underscored the State Department’s enduring commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs everywhere, particularly in developing countries.  The development of WECREATE Centers is one of the many ways the Department is supporting the goals of the Lower Mekong Initiative (LMI), a regional forum committed to addressing cross-border development and policy challenges facing the five Lower Mekong partner countries, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. – Read the full story here.

Three New WECreate Centers Announced in Sub-Saharan Africa


Fonta Gilliam, Senior Program Director & Gender Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Specialist and Tanya Hiple, Senior Advisor to Women Entrepreneurship promoting AWEP WECREATE at the Spousal Marketplace.

On Wednesday night, August 6, 2014 we celebrated the announcement of three new self-sustaining women’s business centers in sub-Saharan Africa where women entrepreneurs will gain access to the portfolio of StartUp Cup tools and resources in support of growing new and sustainable businesses.

Read Assistant Secretary Rivkin’s remarks to learn more about the amazing partnerships that are making these AWEP – African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program-WECREATE Centers a reality:


Pakistan WECreate Project Announced by U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson

StartUp Cup is thrilled to be the WECreate Project co-creation and implementation partner with U.S. State Department’s Global Entrepreneurship Program and look forward to beginning development of the Islamabad WECreate Center with the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues Full Partnership Fund, TiE Islamabad and Change Mechanics.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson with participants of the “Women in the Workplace” seminar at the Islamabad Club

Islamabad, June 17, 2014 – During his opening remarks at the “Women in the Workplace Seminar,” U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson called for more female-friendly employment practices on a global scale. “Our shared economic potential is bright, but in order to achieve it, we need to encourage, cultivate, and harness the untapped talent and productivity of women across the globe. It must happen in every country on every continent. Achieving shared global prosperity is only possible if we reduce gender gaps in the workforce.”

Ambassador Olson also announced the United States Government’s support of the “WECREATE” project, a women’s entrepreneurship community center that will be based in Islamabad. The Center will provide new and emerging women entrepreneurs access to the mentorship and expert assistance they need to grow their businesses which has a multiplier effect on economies. The program is funded by the U.S. Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues Full Partnership Fund, which has a mandate to support gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives. Read the full Press Release here.

TCC StartUp Cup Generates $85,100,000 Economic Impact


CleanNG accepting the 2013 Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup $30,000 Grand Prize Sponsored by Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation.

June 25, 2014 update: During the launch of the 8th Annual TCC StartUp Cup, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation announced revised economic impact numbers for the TCC StartUp Cup and they come in at a staggering $85,100,000. This represents a greater economic impact than all the other entrepreneurial programs in Tulsa, Oklahoma combined. We look forward to integrating the entire StartUp Cup global network economic impact numbers and sharing with in our 2014 impact report. Read more about TCC StartUp Cup’s impact on Tulsa’s economy in this Tulsa World article.

May 15, 2014 post: We are thrilled to learn that the economic impact of the Tulsa Community College StartUp Cup is an impressive $57,729,297 since launching in 2007 according to a new Tulsa’s Entrepreneurial Landscape Report released on May 14th by the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation. The Lobeck  Taylor Family Foundation are also the sponsors of the TCC StartUp Cup. Additional highlights include the creation of 2,300 jobs and over $11,067.000 of follow-on investment as a direct results of the StartUp Cup acceleration program.


Putting a Dent in Palestine’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Initial Results From Palestine StartUp Cup Entrepreneur Tour Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, USAID and Silatech.

A small team of StartUp Cup mentors, entrepreneurial ecosystem architects, and graphic facilitators traveled to Palestine January 7 – January 12, 2014 to support launching the inaugural Palestine StartUp Cup accelerator program and business model competition, organized by ConnectME. Along with conducting an extreme business model and startup building workshop we had one goal in mind, to put a meaningful dent in Palestine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Extreme Build-A-Business Workshops
Palestine_SCup_Post_3The first goal of our visit was to support increasing the quality and quantity of local coaches and mentors in the Palestine entrepreneurial community. We began our task by training a total of 26 local seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders on the entrepreneurial mindset, techniques for coaching entrepreneurs, business model design, bootstrapping, and accelerated go-to-market strategies. Immediately following the mentor training session we launched into a two-day Extreme Build-A-Business Weekend program where the freshly certified mentors applied their new coaching skills with the local entrepreneurs competing in the Palestine StartUp Cup. The result was an increased focus on team development, bootstrapping techniques, business model design, customer development, assumption testing, and revenue generation.

Startup Mentoring Goals
1) To support each startup team in understanding that they needed to learn and take a long view beyond the business idea in order to advance their startup. It was important to introduce each team to the entrepreneurial mindset and visual thinking as a foundation for startup success.


2) To share the key elements of business model design (Using the Business Model Scorecard) including: customer development strategies, revenue model development, team building, bootstrapping techniques, and accelerated go-to-market strategies.

3) To inspire startup teams to take action and start testing their customer and business model assumptions by going out and acquiring customers, securing key licenses and certificates required to start their company, self-funding, and start selling their product(s) or service(s) right away.

4) To train a collection of Palestine mentors and StartUp Cup judges on business model design, accelerated customer development, and go-to-market strategies that support entrepreneurs to launch their startups quickly and, in the process, acquire customers, generate revenue, and/or secure funding.


The Results

  • 48 startup teams;
  • 520 coaching sessions;
  • 26 coaches and mentors;
  • 92% of all startup teams invited to participate in the extreme startup coaching workshop participated in the Extreme Build-A-Business Weekend;
  • 96% Startup teams will utilize the training learned in their personal lives whether they start a company or not;
  • 91% of startup teams improved their chances to launch their business
  • 84% of startup teams went out and engaged customers working to validate their business model;
  • 95% of startup teams readjusted their business models, including target customer, revenue model, and go-to-market strategy;
  • 89% of entrepreneurs are more willing to take risks to start and build their business
  • 91% of entrepreneurs are more willing to encourage family and friends to start a business
  • StartUp Cup-trained mentors coached 520 fifteen minute high impact Business Model Scorecard sessions with 48 startup teams using accelerated go-to-market and bootstrapping techniques;
  • Announced the Palestine StartUp Cup Top 25 that advanced into the first round of live business model pitching sessions;

Lessons Learned

  • Palestine entrepreneurs have original ideas that are designed to maximize the unique strengths of the territory;
  • Female founders represented 32% of all startups;
  • Strong desire to create a viable business. Natural “team” developmenPalsetine_SCup_Post_2t approach;
  • Quality of entrepreneurs participating was a priority over quantity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem and specifically for the Palestine StartUp Cup Organizers;
  • The StartUp Cup Bootstrap StartUp process is extremely effective (Entrepreneurial Mindset, Business Model Design, Team Development, Customer Engagement, Revenue Generation, and Tailored One-On-One Mentoring);
  • The Business Model Scorecard accelerates learning, designing and the building of a viable business;
  • The StartUp Cup process has the potential to change lives and empower people around the world to create their own career path;

Next Steps
Palestine StartUp Cup Sponsors and Organizers, the U.S. State Department,  DAI/USAID, Siletech and ConnectME understand that to be successful, the measurement of short and long-term startup success and ensuring the sustainability of the Palestine StartUp Cup program to grow jobs and viable businesses, is of paramount importance. To this effort the U.S. State Department, USAID, Silatech and MEConnect are committed to support the long-term success of Palestine StartUp Cup. Working with Palestine StartUp Cup Organizers and the U.S. State Department, USAID and Silatech we will measure the impact of startup teams to create viable businesses and grow jobs. We will also monitor the impact of mentors trained to actively coach business model design and accelerated go-to-market strategies. Meaningful entrepreneurial ecosystem growth takes years, not months. StartUp Cup remains committed to being actively involved in the process of advancing Palestine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, including ongoing research and future Extreme Build-A-Business events and the creation of a WECreate Center in planning stages for 2014.

Thank you to the U.S. State Department, USAID, Silatech, Global Entrepreneurship Program, and ConnectME, for sponsoring the StartUp Cup mentoring team’s visit and for supporting the launch of Palestine StartUp Cup accelerator program and business model competition in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Thank you to the amazing Palestine StartUp Cup organizing team of Randa Masri, Ayman Awartani, and Lamees Abdeljalil for their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate such an amazing collection of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial champions. You have set a new bar for StartUp Cups around the world to emulate.

Thank you to the great entrepreneurs of Palestine. You inspire us! You are the reason we work so hard to support the growth of entrepreneurialism around the globe. We look forward to our next Palestine Entrepreneur Tour.

Thank you to Tanya Hiple, Caron DeMars and Lorraine Harrington at the U.S. State Department for your confidence in our ability to put a dent in Palestine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. A special thanks to Shelly Porges, former Senior Advisor of Global Entrepreneurship with the U.S. State Department for being the catalyst of the Palestine Entrepreneur Tour.

And last but certainly not least, thank you to the StartUp Cup Global mentoring team that lead the Palestine Entrepreneur Tour, Sean Griffin and Tanya Hiple. Your impact on Palestine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem will be felt for years to come.