SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Three years and counting for one of the nation’s largest 1 Million Cup chapters. This Wednesday 1 Million Cups Springfield will celebrate its third anniversary. The group offers assistance to entrepreneurs guiding them to success with their businesses.
“We’ve seen nothing but growth from our audience to two new presenters a week. That’s 100 a year,” said Chad Carleton, 1 Million Cups Formal Organizer.
Carleton said it started three years ago when a group of men went to Kansas City to bring the networking group to Springfield.
“Defragment the entrepreneur community and turn on a beacon and allow everyone to gather in one place and allow the community to develop,” said Carleton.
1 Million Cups connects entrepreneurs allowing them to engage with one another while learning about resources. Springfield is now one of the largest chapters in the United States.
“There’s well over 100 that we rival even the attendance of Kansas City which is the mother ship and a very well developed ecosystem,” Carleton said.
Carleton said one of the biggest changes he’s seen is the perception of Springfield.
“As a community for entrepreneurs and a place that’s very pro-business there’s a lot of resources that I think were overlooked until people were able to get in the same room and share the availability of all the things that are here,” said Carleton.
Brian Mansker’s company Advantage Pro Sports had been up and running two years before 1 Million Cups Springfield began but he said it was struggling with funding.
“Once we were able to get involved with 1 Million Cups and get that financing we went from outsourcing and using manufacturing to starting our own manufacturing and making sure we can have everything exactly the way we want it,” said Mansker.
Mansker said his company wouldn’t have the success it’s had without the guidance of 1 Million Cups and all the other resources the group has provided him with.
“I think Springfield is not only a great place but I think it’s one of the best places in the country to start a new business,” Mansker said.
1 Million Cups meets every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 10 a.m. at the Springfield Art Museum. Everyone is welcome to attend and share their ideas.