A- A+

1 Million Cups Des Moines

Des Moines Startups 1 Million Cups

July 28, 2015

The Iowa entrepreneurial ecosystem is special. We're an innovative community of builders that also genuinely wants to help each other. One community-driven event that truly showcases Iowa entrepreneurs is 1 Million Cups Des Moines.

1 Million Cups ("1MC") is a 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. If you've never heard of 1 Million Cups, here's a short history lesson on how this weekly event has evolved in Greater Des Moines (DSM).

The Evolution of 1 Million Cups in Des Moines

After Kauffman Labs originated the 1MC concept in 2012, Des Moines was chosen as the first remote location. The network of communities hosting 1MC events has ballooned to over 75 cities nationwide, including our in-state allies at 1MC Cedar Rapids/Iowa City and 1MC Cedar Valley, who provide an aligned 1MC experience throughout the country every Wednesday morning.

After almost three years of our Des Moines chapter meeting at a wonderful coffee shop in West Des Moines, we recently unleashed this interactive experience (learn more about the 1MC format here) by transitioning our 1MC event to the Science Center of Iowa in downtown Des Moines. With the support of our community, 1 Million Cups Des Moines has evolved from not only being one of the first 1MC events nationwide, but also one of the best!

After less than a month at this new venue, 1 Million Cups Des Moines has doubled its average attendance, filled the calendar with more outstanding startups and is expanding our family of community sponsors, including an exciting connection with Square One DSM. Even with a larger and more centralized venue, we've successfully maintained the interactive networking and intimate environment that truly energizes attendees while accelerating our presenting entrepreneurs on an even brighter stage each week.

Along with fueling community growth, my favorite element of 1 Million Cups Des Moines is how the entire experience is so much less about "here's what I do" and so much more about "how can I help accelerate you!” Without getting philosophical, I've experienced what can happen when you release yourself from having objectives as you meet new people. The world opens up and can become a sandbox for new ideas, a chance to ask more meaningful questions and an opportunity to learn things you simply can't find on Google. Being a part of the 1MC organizing team has fueled my personal obsession with accelerating others through the art of connection.

1 Million Cups Des Moines Event Info

I'm not sure if it's more like AA for serial entrepreneurs or church for the entrepreneurial soul, but plugging into 1 Million Cups has allowed me to fuel my passion of bringing great people together and I want to invite you to join us at 1 Million Cups Des Moines this Wednesday morning!

Details for this week's 1MC event and the application to present can all be found on 1MillionCupsDSM.com. We're also very active on Twitter and Facebook.

Whether you're an investor, an experienced entrepreneur, a dedicated intreprenuer inside a larger company, or simply someone intrigued by an opportunity to be inspired as you learn from fellow innovators in our state, we hope you'll come enjoy the deliciously free coffee and innovative energy of 1 Million Cups Des Moines.

Ben McDougal is a community builder. With the announced partnership between Square One DSM and 1 Million Cups Des Moines, we are excited to have him share a collection of guest blogs that highlight community-oriented topics.