Wichita will gets its first taste of the 1 Million Cups event next week, but organizers hope it leads to a flood of entrepreneurial companies in years to come.
The first event will be 9 to 10 a.m. Feb. 10 at Wichita State University’s Old Town location, 238 N. Mead. It will meet weekly after that. The event is free.
1 Million Cups is designed as a low-stress, caffeine-assisted gathering for entrepreneurs and their supporters. At the event, one or two entrepreneurs will present themselves and their businesses, answer questions and seek advice from the crowd for a business or technical problem.
Each Q&A sessions ends with: “What can we as a community do to support you as a startup?”
The idea is for entrepreneurs to get high-quality help from other entrepreneurs, or bankers, accountants, investors or economic development staff. It’s a way for entrepreneurs to crowd-source business solutions, find or offer help and build relationships with others in what can be a lonely endeavor. One organizer described it as a support group for entrepreneurs.
Created by Kansas City’s Kauffman Foundation in 2012, 1 Million Cups has now spread to 83 communities around the country.
Kenton Hansen, who helped bring the event to Wichita, said some have been skeptical that Wichita has enough entrepreneurs to keep up the pace of between 52 and 104 presentations a year. Time will tell, he said, but already the publicity surrounding it has brought lots of new faces.
It’s one of those kinds of events in which success feeds on success, bringing more people out, he said. And they expect to reach out to entrepreneurs well beyond Wichita, to the rest of Kansas.
At this point, Hansen said, he feels optimistic.
“I was the most skeptical out of the organizers whether that was possible, but right now we are scheduled through April,” Hansen said.
Those scheduled for the first three weeks include:
Fliphound: Fliphound manages an online independent digital billboard network and is an online marketplace for digital billboard advertising.
Atlas.MD: One of the nation’s fastest-growing concierge, or direct primary care, practices. Instead of charging insurance for each event, it charges a monthly membership of $10 to $100 based on age for unlimited visits, with no co-pays, plus free procedures, access to wholesale medicine and lab visits at discounted prices.
Filimin: Filimin is a network of lamps spread anywhere in the world and connected by Wi-Fi so that a change in one can be seen in all, enabling people to connect emotionally.
Postalocity.com: An online self-service mailing portal that lets users mail any printable document with drag-and-drop simplicity.
iKnow: A company that is developing a “Semantic Search Engine” using an automated knowledge extraction tool.
Notes to Self: A company that sell socks bearing fun and positive sayings.