Local volunteers launching monthly event series to support entrepreneurship
A group of volunteers are working together to make Rochester the newest home of 1 Million Cups, a national program designed to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs.
Starting Feb. 1, entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and other interested community members will be invited to attend free monthly programs, which aim to help build startup communities on a grassroots level.
Events will be held the first Wednesday of each month from 9 to 10 a.m. at Bleu Duck Kitchen in downtown Rochester. All are open to the public.
“Our team is excited to bring the 1 Million Cups events to our region,” said volunteer Jamie Sundsbak, who is also the head of Collider Coworking. “1 Million Cups Rochester will present an unprecedented opportunity for relationship building and community collaboration.”
The program — which already operates in dozens of cities across the U.S. — is based on the idea that entrepreneurs can network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee.
Here's how it works: At every event, two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisers and other entrepreneurs, according to a news release. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.
Rochester's inaugural event will feature presentations by Tinua, a social venture start-up company that is building a mobile app to allow you to donate your unused and unwanted gift cards towards charitable causes, and Twisted Barrel Wood Fired Pizza, a family-owned business focused on providing high quality, made-to-order pizza from their mobile kitchen.
The initiative is sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.
Each local program depends on a group of dedicated community volunteers. The following individuals were recognized in the release for helping bring 1 Million Cups to Rochester:
- Jamie Sundsbak, Community Manager of Collider Coworking
- Amanda Leightner, Cofounder of Rochester Rising
- Chris Lukenbill, Director of Software at Able.ag
- AJ Montpetit, Experience Designer at Area 10 Labs
- Erin Cole, Business Development Manager at Mayo Clinic
- Isaic Young, Infrastructure Lead in DevOps at IBM
- Nick Moucha, Real Estate Agent and CEO of Go2wed.com
- Xavier Frigola, Director of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator
- Joya Stetson, Director of Marketing at Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA)
You can following the local program's Facebook page for updates.
(Cover graphic: 1 Million Cups)