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Since 2012, the Kauffman Foundation's 1 Million Cups program has been helping entrepreneurs find support from fellow business owners and leaders in their communities. The organization, which added Little Rock as one of its active communities, now hopes to expand its efforts to Hot Springs.

According to the program's website, 1 Million Cups is "based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee. But the program is designed for so much more.

"1 Million Cups is a community based program that brings together entrepreneurs with the community at large," said Jordan Marsillo, program coordinator in entrepreneurship for the Kauffman Foundation. "Some communities host meetings once a month, while some meet every week, but it's always on Wednesday mornings."

In these meetings, one or two entrepreneurs present their business to a group of community leaders, who then offer feedback. The question that always comes up from the community is "how can we help?"

Currently 163 communities meet for 1 Million Cups presentations, and Little Rock joined in April of 2014.

"Little Rock has been wonderful and has phenomenal engagement," Marsillo said. "Based off the success in Little Rock, combined with data on growth ... entrepreneurship is happening in Arkansas, and we want to keep that energy and excitement going."

Marsillo said while no one from Hot Springs has reached out to the Kauffman Foundation, the organization would like the community to know this resource is available.

For those interested in bringing 1 Million Cups to their community, it is suggested on the program's website that people attend a nearby event or livestream one of the many communities' events.

Building a team of up to 10 community members who are connected and engaged in the community with a few hours available each week is the next step, followed by finding a venue. Organizers will need equipment to record events, and brew plenty of coffee that is preferred to be "locally owned and operated."

"One of the beautiful things about 1 Million Cups is that it is truly community-led by passionate people," she said. "We just want to raise awareness and let the community know 1 Million Cups can benefit entrepreneurs in the community."

Local on 01/20/2018

Print Headline: Networking program hopes to serve up ideas, coffee in community

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