One Million Cups: Coffee and Entrepreneurship, A Match Made in Heaven

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM


Any good student or professional knows that coffee is an essential part of one’s day, whether sitting at a desk, out meeting a client, or tinkering in a lab. Coffee is, whether we like to admit or not, the fuel that keeps most of us going and, in the city of Kansas City, a means for that town’s startup community to come together and share their ideas and build relationships and partnerships together.

Known as One Million Cups, this weekly meeting is built around a long coffee bar, extended dialogue between those who share a passion for innovation, and the desire to grow their ideas with like minded people.

According to this article from Missuori’s KCUR, participants of the get together call it..

“...a platform where people can come, connect, engage, and collaborate...really it’s a good chance to see what else is out there, see what’s moving and shakin’, and connect.”

While presenters at the meeting have to apply to have the opportunity to showcase their ideas, which organizers say should have the “potential to have an impact on the community- to create jobs, solve problems, or “pain points,” as the entrepreneurs call them,” even with the application process, the whole event remains informal and encouraging in nature.

Nate Olsen, co-founder of One Million Cups, describes their mission thusly...

"We put a hypothesis there...that there is a culture that surrounds entrepreneurship. A culture of togetherness, that you give before you get, and if we could get Kansas City’s entrepreneurs to drink a million cups of coffee together we could fundamentally change the culture of entrepreneurship in KC.”

This vision has proved so powerful that the idea has spread across the country, with One Million Cups meetings starting in at least 23 other cities, with more cities lining up to do the same.

And it all begins with a simple cup of java.

Would you be interested in attending a get together like this? Why or why not?