Entrepreneurs and startup founders in Tampa will soon have a new platform for sharing their visions with the local community.
1 Million Cups, a Kauffman Foundation program that operates in cities across the country, is set to launch at the Hillsborough County Mark Sharpe Entrepreneur Collaborative Center in Ybor City. Tampa’s inaugural 1MC Cups will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 8-10 a.m. at the ECC.
Those 1 million cups? That’s the amount of coffee 1 Million Cups hopes to serve during weekly meetups. Each week, two startup founders present their companies to local leaders, entrepreneurs and students. Presentations are followed by Q&A sessions with audience members.
While a coffee sponsor for Tampa’s location has not yet been announced, Kahwa Coffee
has served 1 Million Cups
at its St. Petersburg location The Greenhouse
since that program launched in Oct 2013.
Some of the many startup companies that have presented at the 1MC St. Petersburg location include SavvyCard
, a web-based business card; Florida Funders
, a crowd-funding portal for entrepreneurs; WazInIt
, a mobile application that won Startup Weekend Tampa Bay
in Nov 2013; and Venture House
, an effort to turn vacant houses into housing and job sites for local entrepreneurs and artists.
, located at 2101 E. Palm Ave. in Ybor City, celebrated their grand opening in Dec 2014.
The ECC serves as a small business services center, as well as a meeting place for community partners and local businesses. Entrepreneurs and “wannapreneurs” alike can use the center’s resources, all of which are at little or no cost, says the county’s Economic Development Manager Lindsey Kimball. Those resources include conference space, free classes, business training, and workshops aimed at helping startup founders build their businesses.
Headquartering 1 Million Cups in Tampa at Hillsborough County’s new entrepreneurial space is the latest in a series of efforts to bring a focus on local business to the community, from the upcoming Startup Week Tampa Bay
to Venture Club, a meetup for entrepreneurial children
that lauched in Jan 2015 at the county’s flagship library.
Meanwhile, north of Ybor City, near the University of South Florida, Busch Gardens and Moffitt Cancer Center, steps are being taken to revitalize the area into an “innovation district,” led by former Hillsborough County Commissioner Sharpe, for whom the ECC is named. Sharpe stepped into the role of executive director for the Tampa Innovation Alliance
in late 2014.