ICYMI: Joplin, Missouri Has Joined the 1 Million Cups Family!
It’s time to raise our coffee mugs in celebration: Joplin has become the seventh Missouri community to embrace the popular 1 Million Cups initiative designed to help local entrepreneurs push through barriers preventing them from growing their businesses. Joplin’s inaugural meeting is set to take place at 9 a.m. on either Wednesday, March 4, or Wednesday, March 11, at the Joplin Public Library, 1901 E. 20th St..
For context, 1 Million Cups, or 1MC, was started by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2012. It’s a free weekly (sometimes monthly) educational program where two startup entrepreneurs present their businesses or plans to the entrepreneurial community then answer questions on-the-spot and receive live feedback. After each presentation, the entrepreneur is asked, “What can we do as a community to help you?”
“1MC is a place where entrepreneurs can be around others like them; people who “get” them. We learn from each other, support one another, mentor and advise through struggles and celebrate successes. In a nutshell, 1MC is like startup church,” says David Frahm, organizer of 1 Million Cups Jefferson City.
Entrepreneurs who present at 1 Million Cups not only receive direct feedback from the community, they have the opportunity to network and meet professionals, potential business partners and even investors. During the feedback session, business owners get insight directly from people who are either impartial to their business or are potential customers.
“Unlike other events, 1MC is a place where you can let your guard down, and engage with other entrepreneurs about what’s going on behind the scenes in your business. You can make some solid connections with people who really care about your success—not just a transaction or business card exchange,” says David.
Thinking about presenting at 1 Million Cups? Here’s a Few Tips:
Attend 1 Million Cups a couple of times as an attendee so you understand the format of the program and the types of questions the community may ask.
While 1MC is not a place to pitch for funding, you do want to understand your business financials and growth plans inside and out. These are usually the toughest questions you may receive.
When presenting, talk to the audience as you would a friend, rather than an infomercial about your business. “Instead of trying too hard to look like everything is great, talk about what’s really going on, digging deeper and taking advantage of the learning experience,” says David.
Remember why 1 Million Cups exists: to solve challenges with the help from your community. “The presenters that get the most help from 1MC are the ones that present challenges or opportunities and ask for help,” says Jessie.
What if you’re not an entrepreneur? You should still go to 1 Million Cups. It’s a great place to meet the movers and shakers who are starting and growing businesses in your community. David urges people to go, even if they don’t consider themselves an entrepreneur.
“Maybe you’ve got ideas and just don’t know where or how to start. 1MC is where many people take their first steps,” he says.
Who knows? You may get inspired and start your own business (and we’ll be there to help!).
Find a 1 Million Cups near you. There are currently seven 1 Million Cups organizations in the state of Missouri. Connect with your local 1 Million Cups and get your ideas caffeinating!