Launched in Columbia on March 23 of this year, 1 Million Cups ™ .is a program designed to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups is a weekly gathering that functions as a way to build startup communities over cups of coffee and conversation. The idea began in April 2012 in Kansas City by Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Columbia is one of the newest locations to host 1 Million Cups making it the 32nd nationwide.
The program’s model is consistent in each location across the country: Each Wednesday morning, two startups, who are still in their beginning stages, present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisors and fellow entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes followed by a Q & A of 20 minutes. These entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and other interested community members meet at 9 a.m. every Wednesday at Cromer’s P-nuts at 1700 Huger St.
In each of the 32 cities involved, local entrepreneurs drive the program as community organizers. In Columbia, Greg Hilton, Karl McCollester, Debi Schadel, Reb Thomas and John Wilkinson help drive the program forward. Since the launch of the program in late March, many innovative entrepreneurs have spoken at the weekly meeting including Krit, Alumnify, HuddleHR, Koala Bottle, Dead Aim Putters and Deals-A-Go-Go just to name a few.
“We are excited to support Columbia’s growing and thriving entrepreneurial community,” says Nathan Kurtz, a Kauffman Foundation associate and leader of 1 Million Cups. “1 Million Cups adds an experiential and curriculum education platform, and the Kauffman Foundation is pleased to bring another great city into this national movement supporting startups.”
For more information on the program and how to get involved visit http://columbiasc.sites.1millioncups.com, connect with them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/1millioncupscolumbiasc or follow them on Twitter at @1MillionCupsCOL.