1 Million Cups: Disrupting Wichita’s Business Community

Apr 25, 2016 · Stef Flores - YPW Program Coordinator

1 Million Cups has been rocking the Wichita community since its start date in early February. What is it? What’s its purpose? What can we, as a community, do to support 1 Million Cups? We sat down with YPW member Jacob Wayman, one of the community organizers responsible for bringing the program here, to answer some of these questions.

What is 1MC?

It started in 2012 in our neighbor city, Kansas City, and now it’s present in 77 communities across 35 states. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, the purpose is to bring entrepreneurs together with their communities, igniting the kind of entrepreneurial spirit necessary for a community to innovate and thrive.

The format is consistent in all of its communities: one or two businesses (typically in early stages) will present their company in a six-minute presentation. Then, a community organizer, like Jacob, will facilitate a question-and-answer session (typically 15-20 minutes) where the audience can probe a little-maybe into the business model, the marketing plan, profit margins, or other logistical elements of the presenting company. As the question-and-answer session wraps up, a community organizer will ask the presenting business “What can we, as a community, do for you?” This is a powerful question for these up-and-coming businesses; sometimes they need funding, sometimes they need increased awareness, sometimes they need to get connected to someone in the community. The audience holds an important role in the future of the presenting companies.

What’s its purpose?

“It’s all about the creative collisions,” Jacob explains. It’s about what happens before, during, and after the presentations that is truly powerful for the entrepreneurs and the community members. This gathering and sharing of information cultivates the environment to rally around high-potential ideas and bring back the entrepreneurship that was so present and strong in our community. The idea is that these connections and creative collisions occur over a million cups of coffee.

What can the smart, driven young professionals of Wichita do for 1MC?

1 Million Cups has consistently received positive feedback and support week after week. February 10, the hard launch, drew over 250 attendees, a record number for the Wichita-based program, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. So, what can you do to support this community? Attend a session. Ask meaningful questions. Connect with speakers and other audience members to build a stronger, more connected community. Then, start a conversation in your personal or professional networks or through social media. As Jacob states, “Economic development happens from within [a community].” Let’s make it happen within Wichita.

Find the group on Facebook to locate the next event.

Community Community Development Economic Development Entrepreneurship Networking