Billings is now the newest home of a national program to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. Founded by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee. The free, weekly gathering helps build startup communities on a grassroots level.

Beginning October 9, entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and other interested community members are invited to attend each Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Last Chance Cider Mill located at 2203 Montana Ave.  These events are open to the public and your first cup of coffee is free.  

 The program’s model is consistent in each city across the country.  Every Wednesday morning, two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisers and other entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.  

The inaugural 1 Million Cups in Billings will feature presentations by Swanky Roots, an aquaponic greenhouse, and FlowForms, a tech startup which automates processes to save time and money. In each 1 Million Cups city, local entrepreneurs drive the program with the support of community organizers.  Billings organizers, led by Kevin Scharfe, Program Manager of Rock31 at Big Sky Economic Development, have been working together for the past year visiting other chapters, providing Kauffman with data on our community and securing local entrepreneurs for the successful launch on October 9th.  

“We are excited to bring 1 Million Cups to Billings. This a great opportunity for local entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas and an even better opportunity for our community to show their support and provide resources for these startups,” Scharfe said.  “Building a strong entrepreneur eco system has been a goal of ours and being a 1 Million Cups chapter will put us on the map as an entrepreneur friendly city.”

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