Entrepreneur program for immigrants and women comes to DC   

Former Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sean Griffin has a plan to help to entrepreneurs around the world start and grow their businesses.

His organization Griffinworx has created $744 million in economic income, mostly in developing countries.

Now he’s bringing Griffinworx back to the United States, partnering with eBay to operate StartUp Cups in Washington, DC and Brooklyn to help women, immigrants and other groups facing obstacles in getting their businesses off the ground.

Griffinworx offers a portfolio of entrepreneurial programs that help train, develop and provide tools to entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries. The StartUp Cup is one of those tools.

StartUp Cups are open to anyone with a business idea or an existing business under three years old.

Participants who submit a business plan will join Extreme Build-A-Business Weekend June 3-4 for intensive training and the chance to meet mentors in their fields.

After that, the top 25 participants from each city — in this case New York, Washington, DC, Mumbai, and Berlin — will move into an acceleration program to receive more coaching and compete for cash prizes.

Griffinworx’s program is unique among entrepreneurial training systems for being so human-centric. “That’s our secret sauce: empathy, authenticity, and caring,” Griffin told What’s Working in Washington.

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People everywhere want more or less the same thing: independence, the freedom to make their own decision and make difference. That’s what building a business allows them to do, Griffin said.

“We and our partners at the eBay Foundation have a shared vision, and it’s inclusive entrepreneurship,” Griffin explained. “The word ‘entrepreneurship’ has lost its relevance to many people. They can’t relate to it anymore. But something like 86 percent of businesses in our communities are small businesses, and they’re the real entrepreneurs, they’re the people we should focus on rather than glamorizing billionaires.”

Igniting human potential. “It’s not just a tagline, it’s a mission,” Griffin said. “My passion is really in supporting anyone, any idea, any background, any education level to design, test, and build a business. It is the core of what we do.”

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