Cleveland to Launch 1 Million Cups, Uniting and Coaching Local Entrepreneurs

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The Kauffman Foundation’s nationwide weekly program finds its newest home in Cleveland.

Cleveland soon will be the newest home of a national program to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups — based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee — is a free, weekly gathering that helps to build startup communities on a grassroots level.

Beginning June 25, Cleveland-area entrepreneurs, innovators, funders and other interested community members are invited to attend each Wednesday from 9 to 10 a.m. at JumpStart Inc., located at 6701 Carnegie Ave. downtown.

In the midst of an entrepreneurial renaissance in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland becomes the 43rd location for 1 Million Cups, which began in 2012 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. The program’s model is consistent in each city: 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.

In each 1 Million Cups city, local entrepreneurs drive the program as community organizers. JumpStart Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping startup entrepreneurs succeed, and LaunchHouse, a startup accelerator, were major advocates in bringing 1 Million Cups to Cleveland. Volunteering for the individual leadership roles in Cleveland are:

  •     Jose Vasquez, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Quez Media Marketing;
  •     Colleen Beyer, an entrepreneur of Borrow Vintage and Eclectic Rentals;
  •     Cole Worley, a co-conductor of StartupBus and GiveCamp volunteer; and
  •     Carl Shotwell, a developer and entrepreneur at leandog.

“The startup culture in northeast Ohio has grown dramatically over the past few years, and I think this program is going to have a major impact on improving that momentum for new entrepreneurs,” Vasquez said. “We’re thrilled to be a part of such a unique opportunity for the innovative minds in and around Cleveland.”

Nathan Kurtz, a manager in entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, is pleased to welcome Cleveland to the 1 Million Cups family. “Innovations and ideas are found everywhere, and we’re excited to see the startups and community coming together in Cleveland and the surrounding region,” Kurtz added.

Leading up to the inaugural session, 1 Million Cups Cleveland is hosting a pre-launch happy hour, designed to kick off the program and help spread the word about the opportunity. The pre-launch happy hour will be held Tuesday, June 17th, at 5:30 pm at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. Registration for the event can be found at

View the national website at and access the Cleveland microsite at

About the Kauffman Foundation:
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. Visit for more information.

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Jose Vasquez
since: 04/2014
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