A group of entrepreneurs, lawyers and business people are bringing a national entrepreneurship program to Albany, New York to help start ups improve their business plans.
One Million Cups is a weekly meet-up for early-stage with free coffee and food meant to “caffeinate your entrepreneurial community.”
“This start-up community from when I was 18 to now is night and day,” said Brian Selchick, an entrepreneur and lawyer who’s helping bring the program to Albany. “So many more organizations and infrastructure and people are dedicated to the industry. I wanted to bring them together.”
One Million Cups started in Kansas City, Missouri and now has chapters in more than 66 cities. Each city runs the program semi-autonomously, gathering in coffee shops, co-working spaces and other third places. The only other chapter in New York is based in Syracuse.
Albany’s first weekly meet-up will be at The Albany Barn, an arts incubator in Arbor Hill, on Wednesday, June 3 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Selchick said that one start up will present that week.
When Selchick was at Union College in Schenectady, he founded an auction agency that specializes in fundraising for charities. With the help from mentors like Harry Apkarian, an influential entrepreneur who died in 2009, Selchick expanded and improved his business plan. He believes 1 Million Cups will have a similar impact on early state companies.
Other organizers include Matthew Wagoner, a business partner, and Dave Borland, founder of Burst Marketing. Tyler Russell, founder of StoriedBoards, and Dale Mattison, owner of 32 Mile Media, are also involved.
Selchick said this is not an event where startups looking for funding pitch to investors. One or two early-stage companies present each week to a group of peers, mentors, educators and advisers.
“It’s who they are, what the business is and what issues they’re facing in the business,” Selchick said. “The group is made up of other entrepreneurs, service providers, and ultimately seek to crowd source the answer to this issue.”