1 Million Cups is a free, weekly national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.
1 Million Cups meets in Columbia at the REDI Innovation Hub every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Columbia was one of the first 12 cities that launched 1 Million Cups programs. Now, more than 60 communities around the world gather for 1 Million Cups each week.
As an experiential learning opportunity, the 1 Million Cups format is consistent in each location. Every Wednesday morning, one or two early-stage startups present their companies to a diverse audience of their peers, mentors, educators, and advisors. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience. Afterward, each startup receives feedback via an audience survey and from the local organizers in their city.
The culture surrounding 1 Million Cups is that of a supportive, neutral space welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face.