Lessons from Programmatic Research – A 1 Million Cups Anthology

Over the past couple of years, Kauffman Foundation researchers have written several research papers and blog posts about entrepreneurship ecosystems and the role of educational, community-building programs like 1 Million Cups (1MC).

The previous research papers explore the attendance, connections, and importance of entrepreneurship organizations within an ecosystem, as well as the demographics and challenges of early-stage companies.

The blog posts explore best practices of operating and sustaining high-quality entrepreneurship support programs in ever-changing ecosystems and discusses future research on 1 Million Cups.

Here is our anthology of material related to entrepreneurship ecosystems and the 1 Million Cups program. 

We will be updating the post as more material becomes available.


Research Papers

Energizing an Ecosystem: Brewing 1 Million Cups

In what some might consider an ironic twist, technology seems to play a lesser role in building a local entrepreneurial community for startups than good old-fashioned face time and word of mouth. That's one of the key findings of an initial survey among 1MC participants to identify:

  • Attendance patterns at 1MC
  • Demographic characteristics
  • Role within a startup (founder or co-founder)
  • Entrepreneurs follow local entrepreneurs on twitter

Think Locally, Act Locally: Building a Robust Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The report reveals insights into entrepreneurs' behavior patterns, their connections to community programs, and how they gather and disseminate information. In addition to entrepreneurship being a local phenomenon, other key findings include:

  • Local networks thicken over time
  • Entrepreneurial demand is high for peer-based learning and networking, and
  • Different programs reach different entrepreneurs

Growthology Blog Posts

1 Million Cups 2.0: Where It’s Been and Where It’s Headed

How does a community educational program spread across the country into more than 70 cities in less than three years? This post explores the evolution of 1 Million Cups, the role of the entrepreneurial community organizers and the value of 1 Million Cups to the community.

1 Million Cups City Spotlight: Des Moines

In the second-oldest 1MC chapter, local organizers share insights into how the program has stayed relevant among local entrepreneurs and the program’s role in the larger Des Moines ecosystem.

How to Organize 1 Million Cups in Smaller Cities: Lessons Learned from Georgetown, Delaware

How does a community college help spur entrepreneurship? In Georgetown, Delaware, the 1 Million Cups event is a focal point for the entrepreneurship community throughout the county and is hosted at the Delaware Technical Community College.

The Importance of Collaboration: Lessons Learned from 1MC San Diego, California

In large cities such as San Diego, 1 Million Cups plays a role in establishing a national presence for the startup community, connecting with cities that have the 1MC program and developing more connection with the Kauffman Foundation. Local organizers explain the importance of collaborating with other entrepreneurship organizations in large cities.

Anatomy of the 1 Million Cups Entrepreneur

What kind of entrepreneurs and startups take part in 1 Million Cups? This blog post presents the anatomy of the 1MC entrepreneur and startup, including the:

  • Demographics and skill sets of 1MC Entrepreneurs
  • Business stage of 1MC Startups
  • Financial state of 1MC Startups.

College Town Cups: A Peek Inside 1 Million Cups in Columbia, Missouri

The 1 Million Cups program brings together entrepreneurs, students, investors and institutions in this college town. Local organizers explain how the collaboration of local universities and economic development agencies can increase the vibrancy of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Future Research:

The continuing blog series of research on entrepreneurship ecosystems and 1 Million Cups will incorporate two unique datasets and insights from local organizers. Future blog posts will include the following:

  • 2015 Kauffman Startup Index data on startups from the Metropolitan Statistical Area and State level
  • Surveys from more than 600 1 Million Cups presenters across the country
  • Interviews with the local 1 Million Cups organizers

The goals of the in-depth blog series on 1 Million Cups will be to:

  • Explore the quantitative data on startups within a Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • Compare the Kauffman Startup Index data to the 1MC Survey data
  • Discuss what role 1MC plays in ecosystems throughout the country
  • Understand the perspective of local entrepreneurs and program leaders (1MC organizer) within the MSA

In a final summary piece of all six blog posts, explore the lessons learned across an in-depth study of different MSAs and what characteristics of large MSAs work best with the 1 Million Cups program.

To learn more about startup ecosystems and programmatic research on 1 Million Cups, follow @1millioncups and @ColinT_B for all upcoming posts.

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colin tomkins-bergh

Colin Tomkins-Bergh is a research analyst in Research and Policy for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, working to evaluate the effectiveness of entrepreneurial ecosystems following the Great Recession and performing research around the Ag Tech sector.