Winona launches ‘1 Million Cups’ to educate, connect local entrepreneurs

Winona soon will be the newest home of a national program to engage, educate, and connect local entrepreneurs.

Founded by the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee. The free, monthly gatherings help build startup communities on a grassroots level.

Beginning November 8, 2017, entrepreneurs, innovators, funders, and other interested community members are invited to the Outpost in downtown Winona on the second Wednesday of each month to meet up from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

The program’s model is consistent: at each meeting, two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisors, and other entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

The inaugural 1 Million Cups in Winona will feature two presentations. Carew Halleck, owner and founder of Mugby Junction will share his insights on entrepreneurship. Treedome Productions is the second presenter. It is a one-stop multimedia production service that works with local artists to help them follow their passions and materialize their creative vision.

In each 1 Million Cups city, local entrepreneurs drive the program as community organizers. Volunteering for the leadership roles in Winona are:

  • Brian Voerding, Engage Winona
  • Christine Beech, Director, Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, Saint Mary’s University
  • Eric Mullen, President, Entrepreneur Club, Winona State University
  • Olivia Osterbauer, President, Entrepreneur Club, Saint Mary’s University
  • Hamid Akbari, Dean, College of Business, Winona State University
  • Lucy McMartin, Community Development Director, City of Winona
  • Della Schmidt, President, Winona Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Emily Kurash, Coordinator, Winona Main Street Program
  • Myron White, Development Coordinator, City of Winona

“Million Cups provides communities like Winona with a proven format designed to provide entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development an opportunity to discuss their ideas and collaborate with like-minded people from the community,” volunteer leader White said. “Entrepreneurs are encouraged to be open and honest about their business and the challenges they face – everyone in attendance will be there in support.”

The Outpost is located at 119 East Third Street in downtown Winona, MN.

For more information about the program, view the national website at and the Winona microsite at


Olivia Osterbauer

Senior Staff Writer, Multimedia Specialist

Author: macoll14

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