A look back to earlier days of 1 Million Cups in Kansas City, when the program was finding its footing at the Kauffman Foundation.
1 Million Cups Kansas City (1MCKC) is headed to the heart of the hustle.
After six years at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where the program was founded and piloted, 1MCKC will move to Plexpod Westport Commons, a local coworking space, on Aug. 1.
"I’ve got a teenager right now, so I assume this is what it's like when they go to college," Victor Hwang, vice president of entrepreneurship at the Foundation, said during a fireside chat with 1MCKC organizer Kyle Smith at the last Foundation-hosted meeting. "It’s this sense of accomplishment and thrill, yet sadness they’re going away, and I think that’s the same here. We’re so proud of 1 Million Cups."
Hwang reflected on how much 1MC has grown from Kansas City’s pilot community to more than 180 communities nationwide, and how the Foundation will continue to support 1MCKC through this natural evolution.
1MCKC is changing spaces to position itself directly within Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community. With more than 230 companies working out of Plexpod, there’s a larger opportunity to directly serve and connect members of the community.
Gerald Smith, founder and CEO of Plexpod, said Plexpod Westport Commons is the perfect location to host and facilitate learning and collaboration opportunities.
"I don’t think there’s anything better than 1 Million Cups for entrepreneurs," Smith said. "This is kind of the gold crown for entrepreneurism because you go and you hear about entrepreneurs; learn and hear what’s working, what people are trying to do, and networking. It’s the epitome of what entrepreneurs need."
Housed in Ewing Kauffman’s former alma mater, Westport Junior High School, Plexpod brings 1MCKC closer to makers, doers and dreamers from all over Kansas City. "We want to continue to be the front porch to our entrepreneurial community in Kansas City," 1MCKC Organizer Courtney Windholtz said.
Windholtz said moving to Plexpod also provides a way to continue conversations fostered at 1MC meetings. Entrepreneurs and 1MC attendees often show up early and stay late in order to engage with the larger entrepreneurial community. After all, the 1MC program was conceived with the idea that solutions and engagements within the community can be discovered over a simple cup of coffee.
In an atmosphere that will continue to foster inclusivity and access to more entrepreneurs, Plexpod is a more organic place for the community to grow. In fact, Plexpod will be offering free coworking space on Wednesdays before and after 1MC in order to keep conversations going.
The Kauffman Foundation will continue to sponsor 1MC, as will KCSourceLink and Startland News. Coffee will be provided by The Sundry. Join 1MCKC from 9 to 10 a.m. every Wednesday at Plexpod, 300 E. 39th St., and stay connected with 1MCKC on Twitter and Facebook.
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Based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and engage with their communities over a million cups of coffee, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation developed 1 Million Cups in 2012 – a free program designed to educate, engage, and inspire entrepreneurs around the country. Through the power of volunteers, 1 Million Cups has grown to more than 180 communities.
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