Entrepreneurs across the country have taken to 1 Million Cups - a free program designed to 'educate, engage and connect' entrepreneurs with their communities, and Waco is no exception. Kevin Renois of City Center Waco spearheads the local effort, and we sat down with him to talk shop.
1. How did you get started with 1 Million Cups?
I graduated in Baylor in 2016 and decided that – well, I had job options in different places, but I wanted to stay here. I went away for a Kansas City internship focused on how do we make cities better for startups, and learned a lot.
One million cups started in Kansas City, MO and followed in cities all over the country. I said “I’m gonna be honest with you guys; I’m going to take this back to Waco.” And we were chartered as the 100th.
2. How Does 1 Million Cups work?
We provide a platform for telling stories. I like to describe it as a mix between Shark Tank and TED talks.
3. These talks sound like an adventure.
Presenters talk for about six minutes, and then the audience asks questions and gives tips for about thirty minutes. That’s where it really happens.
Then we ask how we can help the entrepreneur, and what resources the city can provide to make things successful. It happens every Wednesday morning at nine. The ideal speaker is a founder with a company that is under nine years old, that has made its first sales.
4. How are you guys continuing to develop the program?
There’s a broader initiative we’re trying to begin called Startup Waco. One of the things we’re going to do is similar to The Capital Factory in Austin. We have a building under contract and there’s been a recent vote by the county on a large renovation budget. If it passes, it'll have co-working space, entrepreneurship programs, and more.
5. What do entrepreneurs struggle with the most?
I coach a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s awesome to see their passion. But when you ask, “Who is this for?” entrepreneurs often say, "Everyone."
That’s not realistic.
Entrepreneurs need to target who this product is really for in real life, and then connect with those people and sell to them.
Wacoans, meet up details below!