Use Coffee to Fuel Entrepreneurial Success in Your Community

Starting a Community

We are excited that you are interested in bringing 1 Million Cups to your community!

As you prepare to embark on this journey, keep in mind that 1 Million Cups is about building communities that support entrepreneurs as they start and grow their businesses. While every 1 Million Cups community is different, they all share our key pillars and program design.

The Key Pillars

  • Presenters are invited to give presentations, not pitches.
  • This is an environment for authentic connections, not networking.
  • 1MC is run for the community, by the community.

The Core Program

  • Meetings are held weekly on Wednesday mornings.
  • Each event features two presenters.
  • Presenting businesses must be less than five years old, and desire to learn.
  • Each presentation last 20 minutes followed by a 20-minutes question and answer session.
  • After the Q&A, ask “What can we, as a community, do to help you?”
  • Events are free always and open to the public, with free coffee

Before You Start

Take a moment to acknowledge that the 1 Million Cups program is centered around creating a connection between entrepreneurs and their community. It’s an opportunity for entrepreneurs to authentically share their business ideas - and needs - in an environment that can provide answers so the entrepreneur can take the next step in starting or growing their business.

1 Million Cups is a valuable tool in helping to educate entrepreneurs and build community, but we acknowledge that there are many great tools that can help your community. Through the application process, we want to help ensure that this is the right fit for your needs. We encourage you to critically evaluate what is best for your community’s needs and goals.

How to Start

  1. Complete a 1MC application.
  2. You will receive an email regarding your application receipt.
  3. Each person on the team will then be sent a link to watch the ‘About 1MC’ video.
  4. Next, you will send an email to schedule a call with the 1MC team.
  5. After the call, you will be invited to go on a site visit.
  6. A second call with the 1MC team will follow.
  7. An email will be sent with more information and a regional contact.
  8. Launch preparation will begin with the regional representative.
  9. New 1MC Community approval is complete.

How Long Does it Take to Start?

The 1 Million Cups launch process varies on the team and community. Time, commitment, and follow-through on action items during the various steps of the process are important. Starting a 1 Million Cups Community takes an average of three months.

Please be advised that due to other program commitments, we do not accept applications or approve community launches during the following months: July, October, November, December.

What You Need to Get Started

No Money Needed
Starting and maintaining a 1 Million Cups is free. 1 Million Cups is run by volunteers, no one is paid to run or organize 1 Million Cups. Venue space and coffee must be in-kind donations.

Team of Community Volunteer Organizers
Successfully launching a community requires a team of seven to 10 volunteer community leaders who are committed to helping entrepreneurs. Look for candidates outside of the normal circles of the current organizing team and seek out people who are enthusiastic about and engaged with local entrepreneurs. Additionally, you want to build a diverse and inclusive team that represents the makeup of your community, including people with a variety of backgrounds, skills, and expertise. Seek out organizers who can contribute in unique ways and can broaden the depth and diversity of the team.

Venue to Donate Space to Host Weekly Events
Find a free or donated neutral location where all will feel welcome.

Coffee Sponsor to Provide Coffee
Find a coffee supplier or vendor who will donate the coffee and cups. Or find a company who will sponsor the coffee for the events.

Serving as a 1MC organizer requires a significant time commitment of at least five hours each week. Recommended tenure of an organizer is 12 -18 months.

What is Provided

Operational Support
You will have access to the 1 Million Cups website, presenter application management and presentation scheduling system, community logo, community email, resource center access, marketing, and more.

Community organizers are required to follow the 1 Million Cups policies outlined in the license agreement.

Regional Representative Support
You will be assigned to a regional representative (RR) who is available by email, videoconference, and Slack. Your RR will answer questions, troubleshoot issues, and help with programming and events.