1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups

by Dewey Evans

A million cups of coffee – that’s what, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, connects entrepreneurs in over 180 communities in the United States to the resources and solutions needed to help start or grow their business ventures.

1 Million Cups (1MC) is a program of the Kauffman Foundation, which seeks to “fulfill its mission to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs with their communities.” Three communities, of the aforementioned 180+, are here in Upstate SC. Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg counties regularly host local gatherings of entrepreneurs and their support networks.

The format is simple: Each month, entrepreneurs present their ideas and startup companies to their local ecosystem partners in hopes of gaining valuable feedback on how to best grow their business.

“The essence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” as defined by the Kauffman Foundation, “is its people and the culture of trust and collaboration that allows them to interact successfully. The ecosystem allows for the fast flow of talent, information, and resources so that entrepreneurs can quickly find what they need at each stage of growth. As a result, the whole is greater than the sum of its separate parts.”

Typically, each 1MC gathering sees one to two entrepreneurial presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. The benefit here is two-fold. First, entrepreneurs are able to gain genuine feedback regarding their ideas at no cost. Secondly, the community is made aware of new business activity and how they are able to best support their local entrepreneurs.

Erin Ouzts, director of VentureSouth and community organizer for 1MC Spartanburg, had this to say regarding the program:

“1 Million Cups is like a workout for startups: entrepreneurs talk about the challenges of the heaving lifting and their goals. The audience is the spotters and coaches, challenging the founders to approach problems differently and cheering them on with connections and leads.

“In the 1.5 years we have been meeting, the audience has grown in their ability to ask questions that get to the heart of the founders’ problems and expanded their ecosystem of connections and support for our startups.”

As the Upstate continues to develop its reputation and capacity for entrepreneurial success, it is crucial that we have programs such as 1 Million Cups to champion this cause. The onramps (access points) for entrepreneurs to enter the ecosystem must become smoother and be available to all Upstate citizens, regardless of their background.

To get involved with a 1 Million Cups event in the Upstate, attend one of the next gatherings:

1MC – Anderson

Meets weekly on Wednesdays in the Anderson Community.

1MC – Greenville

Meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 4:00 p.m. at the Clemson MBA Program in Greenville.

1MC – Spartanburg

Meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at Ciclops Cyderi and Brewery in Spartanburg.


Please visit the Upstate Business Ecosystem Resource Map to find ecosystem partners in your area.

Do you or your organization provide support to entrepreneurs or small businesses in the Upstate? Consider joining TATT’s Entrepreneur Support Providers Network on March 20th, 2019 for our first workshop of the year. The network will be reviewing lessons learned in 2018 and looking ahead to building the regional awareness and capacity during 2019. Register here for the March 20th workshop.

Senior Issues Group Hosts First Workshop About Lifelong Learning in the Upstate

Senior Issues Group Hosts First Workshop About Lifelong Learning in the Upstate

On February 7th, Ten at the Top’s Upstate Senior Issues group reconvened for their first session of the new 2019 Senior Issues Workshop Series.

In September of 2018, the Ten at the Top Senior Issues group convened to discuss goals for 2019. It was determined that moving forward, that this group must be more intentional with their approach to address senior needs collectively. After much conversation, the group decided to move forward with topic-focused meetings that address the top senior needs in our region.

The Appalachian Council of Governments proposed that the group utilize data from their 2018 Senior Needs Assessment, which was conducted in early fall. It was agreed that these topic-focused workshops seek to address the most pressing senior needs that were identified in this assessment. The workshop series will address topics such as food access, transportation, and senior household needs.

The first session was surrounding lifelong learning opportunities in the Upstate. Lifelong learning is an important topic of discussion because studies show that those who are well connected to family, friends, and community are happier and physically healthier, and they live longer than those who are less connected.

Nancy Kennedy from OLLI at Furman led a panel discussion, which included panelists:

  • Jack Hansen, Author, Speaker, OLLI member
  • Andrea Smith, Executive Director & CEO, Senior Action
  • Morgan Jordan, Director, Lifelong Learning at Wofford College

The group engaged in a thoughtful dialogue about lifelong learning and other social engagement opportunities available in the Upstate. They also talked about the challenges of reaching parts of the senior population with these opportunities.

Some of the many opportunities available in these ten counties of the Upstate are:

  • OLLI@Clemson
  • OLLI@Furman
  • Senior Action
  • Lifelong Learning at Wofford
  • Lifelong Learning Institute at Anderson University
  • Lakelands Lifelong Learning Network in Greenwood
  • Community Centers/Senior Centers in many communities
  • Those 60 and older can audit courses at no charge at state colleges, universities, and technical schools.

The goal of these discussions is to raise more awareness than ever before of our seniors in the Upstate and the issues they face on a daily basis. The workshop series is sponsored by Upstate Home Care Solutions and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

To get involved or attend a workshop please contact Adelyn Nottingham at: anottingham@tenatthetop.org

Preserving South Carolina’s African American History and Heritage

Preserving South Carolina’s African American History and Heritage

by Sherry Jackson

Throughout its over-300-year-history, South Carolina has been impacted by the contributions of African Americans. With around 50 Upstate properties associated with that history listed in the National Register of Historic Places or recognized with South Carolina Historical Markers, one does not have to go far to experience firsthand a wealth of buildings, structures, and sites that document the state’s African American heritage. Although there are too many to note all of them, several stand out, allowing area residents to begin to more fully understand and appreciate the contributions of African Americans to the rich history of our state. From slavery to freedom and from segregation to equal rights and beyond, these historic places remind us of the courage, endurance, and achievements of black South Carolinians.

Cleveland Sellers, Civil Rights Activist and “Outside Agitator”

Spartanburg-based Hub City Press published Outside Agitator last year, a biography of Cleveland Sellers. Sellers, who was scapegoated and did prison time in the aftermath of a horrific event called the “Orangeburg Massacre,” was later exonerated and went on to be and outstanding educator in addition to continuing his activism. He served as the director of African American studies at the University of South Carolina before going on to be the president of Voorhees College, one of ten HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) in South Carolina.

The Lynching of Willie Earle

On the night of February 15, 1947, white cab driver Thomas W. Brown was found mortally wounded beside his cab in Pickens County. Earle, a young black man, was thought to be Brown’s last passenger, and he was arrested near Liberty on February 16, accused of assault and robbery, and held in the Pickens County Jail.

Early on February 17, 1947 things turned violent as a white mob forced the jailer to surrender Earle. The group drove Earle back to Greenville, lynched him, and left his body on Bramlett Rd. Tragically, Earle died later that day. The lynching was the last recorded in South Carolina and one of the last in the South.

A trial that included 31 men took place in the Greenville County Courthouse from May 12-21, 1947. Although 26 of the men admitted being part of the mob, an all-white jury acquitted all defendants. The national outrage that followed led to new federal civil rights policies. (A historical marker is located at Old Easley Road and Bramlett Road in Greenville County.)

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays: The “Spiritual Mentor” of Martin Luther King, Jr.

In Greenwood, the Benjamin E. Mays Birthplace historical marker at the Mays House Museum honors the person oftentimes referred to as the city’s most famous and distinguished son. A monumental figure in American history, Mays was an advisor to Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter. Mays’ close friendship with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. started when King was a student at Morehouse College, Mays even influenced King to enter the ministry. Mays had wanted King to deliver the eulogy at his funeral, but fate intervened. On April 9, 1968, Dr. Mays gave the eulogy at Dr. King’s funeral, electrifying the nation and the world by his passionate and thought-provoking speech. (Note: Tours of the Mays House Museum are by appointment only.)

Clemson University: Integration with Dignity

On January 28, 1963, Clemson University became the first white college in South Carolina to integrate. Harvey B. Gantt, a Charleston native wanting to study architecture, had applied for admission in 1961. But when Clemson delayed admitting him, he sued in federal court in the summer of 1962.

President Robert C. Edwards, meanwhile, worked behind the scenes to make plans for Gantt’s eventual enrollment. Edwards and several leading businessmen, politicians, and others drew up an elaborate plan. Described as “a conspiracy for peace,” the move was designed to ensure that Gantt would enter Clemson without the protests that marked the integration of other Southern universities.

After a federal court ruled that Clemson should admit him, Gantt enrolled without without riots, violence, the presence of federal marshals, protests, or acts of defiance by students, government leaders, or anyone else. For the era, this was an amazing feat—one that was called “integration with dignity” by the Saturday Evening Post and one that has often been called Clemson’s finest hour. Gantt graduated with honors in 1965. (A historical marker is located near Tillman Hill on the Clemson University campus.)

African American Historical Places and Markers in the Upstate

A complete list of African American Historical Places and Markers in the Upstate can be found on the South Carolina Department of History and Archives website. The guides are located in the right column, organized by county. Please note that most of these historic places are on private property and not open to the public.

Downtown Anderson Offers Small-Town Charm

Downtown Anderson Offers Small-Town Charm

by Sherry Jackson

Anderson grew up as a textile town. Several mills in the area provided the groundwork for a rich and vibrant city while still maintaining its rural roots. When Lake Hartwell was created in the 1950s, it brought those seeking boating and fishing along its 962-mile long shoreline.

Anderson is also commonly referred to as the “electric city” as it was the first city in the United States to have a continuous supply of electricity, powered by a water mill on the Rocky River. A statue of William Church Whitner, who devised a method to transport electricity from the river into the city, sits prominently in the downtown city square.

Today, Anderson’s downtown offers great dining, eclectic boutiques, museums, and cultural activities that are definitely worth exploring.

It all starts with a good night’s sleep

The Bleckley Inn, a 14-room boutique hotel, is top-notch and worthy of at least an overnight stay. Owners Steve and Lynn Kay, who moved to downtown Anderson in 2006, have been, and continue to be, instrumental in the downtown’s redevelopment. After housing the Budweiser Clydesdales in their historic Carriage House stable, the Kays realized that there was a barn for the horses but nowhere in town for their caregivers to stay. In 2011, the Kays opened the Bleckley Inn, and the Carriage House now serves as the Inn’s event space where weddings and other events are hosted frequently.

Spa robes, luxurious linens, and clean and well-decorated rooms are all part of the luxury experience. Nightly milk and homemade cookies top it off, and the complimentary buffet breakfast shouldn’t be missed, with breakfast casseroles, candied bacon, and fresh fruit and pastries.

The inn also has an additional eight rooms with their own unique charm located on the downtown square and two fully furnished apartments available for short- and long-term rental.


Explore art in Anderson

As you stroll along the streets of downtown Anderson, be on the lookout for fish and wrens. Both are part of the city’s art in public spaces initiative. In fact, the city was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, the governor’s award for public art and the highest award for art in the state.  

“Fish Out of Water features 35 large-mouth bass sculptures scattered throughout downtown as an ode to the indigenous species in nearby Lake Hartwell. The Wren Project is a special installation of 20 bronze wren sculptures hidden in the eaves of downtown buildings to provide “a bird’s eye view of downtown.

A 2013 vibrancy grant from Ten at the Top provided funds to wrap electrical boxes and paint crosswalks with images from the book, Little Wren Lost and the Teakettle Call, a children’s book featuring original watercolors of icons across the state and in Anderson.

In the fall of 2013, Carolina Wren Park opened in the heart of downtown. The park provides an amphitheater with a stage, fountain, splash pad, and dancing lights. The venue is also home to “The Block Party” presented by Piedmont Natural Gas on Thursday nights from April to October, where thousands gather to hear local bands and enjoy time outside. On Friday and Saturday nights through December 20, children can delight in falling “snow” at the park.


Southern history lessons

Several historic buildings still stand in downtown Anderson, and a self-guided walking tour guide can be obtained from Visit Anderson. Learn about the Chiquola Hotel, constructed in 1888, now home to luxury condos. The circa-1891 Sullivan Hardware Store now serves as an upscale restaurant, aptly called Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill.

For a deeper dive into Anderson’s history, stop by the Anderson County Museum. Displays include the history of the surrounding mill villages and what life was like in the rural county. See the impact that Duke Energy and Lake Hartwell had on the area. Admission to the museum is free.

Wet your whistle and grab some grub 

A stop by Palmetto Moonshine will provide an opportunity to taste South Carolina’s first legal distillery and see how “white lightning” is made. A large gift shop allows for plenty of souvenir shopping and to purchase a jar of your favorite flavor of “shine.”

Anderson also has many great dining choices. At Figs Beanery and Creamery you can get your daily java fix, a sweat treat, a scoop of ice cream, or even a sandwich. Located in an old bank building, Doolittle’s Restaurant, where the motto is “Eat. Drink. Do Little,” serves up fresh-made sandwiches, salads, and other specialties.

For dinner, Summa Joe’s is a farm-to-table restaurant offering fresh ingredients for dishes from pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and other specialty dishes. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Sullivan’s Metropolitan Restaurant serves up steaks, duck, and fresh seafood.

Several boutique and antique shops line Main Street, and the city hosts special events throughout the year. So next time you’re trying to decide on what to do, go explore the Upstate’s own Electric City.


Upstate, SC [October 23, 2018] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the finalists for the 2018 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The five finalists were chosen from a total of 26 applications submitted for the two grants available in 2018. Hughes Investments is contributing at least $10,000 per year to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top. Since the inception of the grants program, Hughes Investments has contributed a total of $67,000 to community vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate.

During the Ten at the Top Celebrating Successes Brunch on November 14th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the 2018 recipients are selected and announced. The cost to attend the brunch is $35, prior registration is required. The event will be held from 11:30 am -1:30 pm at the Greenville Marriott. To register go to www.tenatthetop.org

Below are the five finalists (project name, applying organization, and brief summary):

1st Annual Charles Townes Arts & Technology Experiment – Spontaneous Productions
The 1st Annual Charles Townes Art & Technology Experiment intends to generate awareness and gratitude for Charles Townes, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, who was a Greenville native and graduate of Furman University. The project also aims to be a catalyst for the acceptance and encouragement of experimentation and curiosity—in technology as well as the arts—reflecting some of Townes’ ethics.

Centuries of Gaffney: A Walking Tour – City of Gaffney
The City of Gaffney, in an effort to create walkability and interaction downtown, proposes to place Revolutionary War shields along sidewalks that will celebrate local champions from 1780 and 1781, much like the “Hollywood Stars.” The unveiling of each shield will be done by descendants of each Revolutionary War hero. 

Environmental Arts Festival – Piedmont Physic Garden
The Piedmont Physic Garden (PPG), a botanical garden in the historic center of Union, South Carolina, seeks funding to start an Environmental Art Festival (EAF) along with the Union County Arts Council (UCAC), the University of South Carolina–Union (USC–U), and the Union County Tourism Commission (UCTC). All four entities are located within three blocks of each other, which will allow convenient access to various exhibits and vendors. The first EAF will take place in April of 2020. Over the two-day weekend, people from across the Piedmont and beyond will be drawn to downtown Union to enjoy the arts as well as the outdoors. The $5,000 grant will be used for logo/branding design, artist prospectus development, banners, billboard rentals, and advanced media promotion.

IDEAS Festival – The Arts Center of Clemson, City of Clemson Arts & Culture Commission, Neighborhood Associations
The City of Clemson Arts & Culture Commission, in partnership with the Arts Center of Clemson and Clemson neighborhood associations, seeks to create and deliver a high-impact arts and culture festival in spring 2019 that will increase engagement and participation of Clemson citizenry in city-wide arts and culture initiatives, while also creating a new social justice opportunity. The IDEAS Festival will bring residents from the City and Clemson together to celebrate local artists as well as to gather citizen input for long-term planning for art in public places. 

Movie Night at the Park – Ninety Six Mill Village Association
The Ninety Six Mill Village Association (MVNA), in collaboration with the Town of Ninety Six and local residents, is seeking to build a sense of pride in the community by offering a series of free outdoor events to showcase the community park. MVNA is requesting assistance to help fund the purchase of equipment and supplies to host a regular Movie Night at the Park, which stands on the site of a former textile mill.

The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Ingo Angermeier (SmartPulse), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).

Outdoor Resources Asset Map

Outdoor Resources Asset Map

By Daniel Higgins, Intern, Ten at the Top

Have you ever wondered where you can find one source where you can search for fun outdoor activities without having to open a new page every time you search for something? Ten at the Top and Duke Energy bring you a quick and easy way to find outdoor resources in the ten counties of the Upstate using a virtual map with icons that you can easily sort by county or resource type. Each icon provides a description and address of the corresponding outdoor resource as well as multiple pictures so you can see what it looks like and get a feel for it before you go.

Five to Try

  1. The Nantahala Outdoor Center Chattooga Outpost is located in Oconee County and is a great outdoor activity for families. The Nantahala Outdoor Center has amazing whitewater rafting deals and hiking in great scenery on the western edge of the Upstate, near Walhalla. Southern Living called rafting the Chattooga River “the #1 thing every southerner ought to do.” Click here for scenic pictures captured from previous whitewater rafting events at the Chattooga River.
  2. The Walker Course is a prestigious golf course on the campus of Clemson University and is located on the borders of Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson Counties, but mostly in Oconee County. The Walker Course the home of the Clemson University 2003 NCAA national champion golf team and is a great way for friends and family to play golf in Clemson, South Carolina. The scenery is some of the best in South Carolina, whether you are teeing it up through the woods or on the water on the back nine. Click here to book your next tee time and tee it up where the former NCAA and PGA Tour Champions have before.
  3. The Spartanburg Science Center is a great center for school programs, children’s camps, birthday parties, and support sciences located in the center of the Spartanburg County. The Spartanburg Science Center offers hands-on learning for guests of all ages with live animal rooms, a museum room, and more than twenty-three exhibits. The live animal rooms feature all different kinds of reptiles, amphibians, and fish, while the museum room features fossils, bones, skulls, and rocks and minerals. The center is not technically an outdoor resource, but on a rainy day, you can head here to learn about nature in an indoor setting.
  4. The Diamond Hill Mine is a local mine located in Abbeville, South Carolina. The Diamond Hill Mine features many different kinds of crystals and minerals such as iron, amethyst, garnets, and several kinds of quartz, among others. This mine is very accommodating and is pet friendly—everyone loves a place where they can bring their pets! An added perk is that the mine allows guests to camp there for free. Click here to learn more about the crystals and minerals or to arrange for free camping with your pets.
  5. The Cherokee County Family YMCA Waterpark is a fun outdoor experience for the family located in Gaffney, South Carolina. Like most YMCAs, this YMCA offers many fun activities to get your body in shape for the summer: basketball courts, dance floors, T-Ball, summer camp, swimming, and many more fun activities for young children and adults. One thing this YMCA has that most YMCA’s don’t have is a waterpark. They also offer a summer volleyball camp at the end of July each year, which is taught by the head volleyball coach at Blacksburg High School. You can click here to see the membership offers, hours, and rates for the waterpark and entire YMCA.