Here’s what happens when 60+ Phoenix entrepreneurs head to Mexico

Phoenix, Arizona has many claims to fame.

At the top of that list, of course, is the heat. We average over 100 days of 100°F weather every year, more than any other major city in the country. We have saguaros and snowbirds and sprawl. And it’s quite possible that the chimichanga was invented here. (You’re welcome, world.)

But there’s a new story that’s emerging that has even more to do with generosity, collaboration, and goodwill – and it’s happening among our city’s innovative entrepreneurs under the banner of the #yesphx movement.

This January, for the second year in a row, a group of entrepreneurs connected to the movement traveled to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico to build houses with 1MISSION as part of a commitment to giving back.

Jonathan Cottrell, a serial entrepreneur who seems to know everybody in this city’s startup ecosystem, is fond of saying that “Phoenix is building the most generous community for entrepreneurs.” And he points to these 1MISSION build trips as proof.

After organizing the first #yesphx trip to Puerto Peñasco last year, when members of the Phoenix startup community built a house in three days, he wrote:

“Founders and mentors left their posts to roll up their sleeves and dig in. Spouses spent time with a community they didn’t know well before this weekend and flexed their muscles in all aspects. Politicians took time out of their busy schedules to walk the walk. Kids joined in and did whatever they could to help one another, with smiles plastered across their faces all weekend. Despite our differences in age, gender, race, roles, backgrounds, and perspectives, we united to build something that truly matters.”

Images: The three families #yesphx entrepreneurs built for this past weekend.

Following this year’s trip, during which 60+ #yesphx members built three houses, Jonathan asked several of the participants to share their thoughts on what the experience meant to them. Here are just a few of our favorites.

“Three days per year my beautiful wife Amy and I work with 1MISSION to build a house for someone in Mexico, El Salvador, or Nicaragua and give it to someone who earns the house via hundreds of hours of community service — 600 square foot house goes up in 3 days — and you help build a community. How cool is THAT?” – Dan Tyre, Hubspot

“I’m reminded of how fortunate we are to have the little luxury of always having food. And plenty of options… I wonder how I would have done it here without money, food, or a roof over my head. Then I realized, they do it together. They band together and saw wood to make frames for walls. They hand mix concrete for foundation. And together they lay and level it. Together they hold up the walls. No fancy tools, no power saws or electric mixers. Just muscle, hands and the company of others.” – Jenny Poon, CO+HOOTS

“After finishing the house we went inside to say our prayer, bless the house, and hand it off to Guadalupe, the new homeowner. She came inside and tried to thank us but was overcome by tears of joy. Her emotions spread almost immediately to everyone in the room. At that moment we were reminded why we were there.” – Jeremy Whittaker, J2 Technology Solutions and Mesa City Council

It’s not too soon to register for next year’s #yesphx build trip. (Or, check out upcoming trips here.)


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