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Forbes Six Lessons For Building Startup Communities From 1 Million Cups Founders

Nate Olson

Post created by Nate Olson and Cameron Cushman

Cities across the country are eager to build or strengthen their startup communities. They recognize that entrepreneurs thrive when they live in a supportive environment. And when entrepreneurs thrive, so do their local economies. It's a win-win.

About 18 months ago, Kansas City had opportunities waiting to be seized. The nation’s first rollout of Google Fiber was recently announced; the Kauffman Foundation was entrenched as the international thought leader on entrepreneurship, and excitement around creating a vibrant entrepreneurial community was palpable. But, we had a challenge – Kansas City’s startup community was fragmented, disconnected and generally lacked the “collision density” that experts like Brad Feld consider essential to building a vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

True to entrepreneurial form, we came up with an idea to try to solve this connection issue: If we could bring together local entrepreneurs to learn from one another over a cup of coffee, we postulated that such conversations would positively impact their businesses, increase chances of success and build our entrepreneurial community. Not ones to aim low, we created a program to accomplish that end: 1 Million Cups set out to shape startup communities one cup of coffee at a time – with a multiplier of a million.

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