Practice Your Pitch: 1 Million Cups

It began over a cup of coffee at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri; how can our community further help our entrepreneurs? What began with a question led to the first 1 Million Cups event in 2012. To date, there are 160 1 Million Cups communities.  St. Petersburg became the organization’s 19th city in the United States to implement the 1 Million Cups program in 2013, bringing the community and entrepreneurs together hosted through The Greenhouse.

1 Million Cups offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch their idea to a room full of seasoned entrepreneurs, professionals, networking gurus, and well-wishers. The environment is risk-free. The feedback is welcoming.  Participants are asked to prepare a 6-minute pitch presentation followed by a 20 -minute Q&A session. 

Why should you pitch your idea at 1 Million Cups?

Clarify Your Thinking

The 1 Million Cups pitch is 6 minutes. That’s it. 360 seconds to explain your business idea. Refining your idea down to a 6-minute pitch helps you clarify your thoughts. It exposes weaknesses. It forces you to find your holes in your thinking. The format of 1MC with a 6-minute pitch forces you to refine your business concept into a concise and clear presentation. 

Open and Welcoming Environment

1 Million Cups is a room full of engaged people who want to help you succeed. They may ask thought- invoking questions, but all in the spirit of making you even better prepared. 1 Million Cups is a low-stakes opportunity to present your ideas to a friendly group before you pitch the idea to investors or customers.

Diverse Feedback

Not only do you get to learn more about your business from crafting a concise presentation and get to practice presenting your ideas in a low-stake environment, but you also get the benefit of great feedback. The audience at 1 Million Cups is diverse and powerful. Serial entrepreneurs. Local investors. Business coaches and consultants. Mentors. Professionals. People with real skills and great ideas.  Invaluable advice and insights you will get for free! 

Important Connections

In a room full of motivators and cheerleaders, there is likely someone who has what you need or knows where to find it. The practice helps to have a clear presentation. The more specific you are about what you need, the more likely someone in the audience can help you.  If you deliver a compelling presentation that tells your story and ask for specific help, you are likely to find the support you seek.

Useful Exposure

Not only is the room full of great people, but many of those people also have great platforms, and are excited to talk about their 1 Million Cups experiences on social media and elsewhere. For any start-up, exposure is excellent! 

Is 1 Million Cups for You?

1 Million Cups is designed for companies with a minimal viable product and a need to advance their growth. Any product-based, scalable company, from any industry is welcome to apply.

If you are considering presenting to St. Petersburg’s or another 1 Million Cups city, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Attend a few live presentations and network to get a feel for the program
  • Be prepared to answer the capstone question: what can the community do for you?
  • Be open to receiving feedback.
  • Prepare to network

For those in attendance, the excitement comes from being introduced to up-and-coming companies. For the presenters, hearing new opinions and broadening their network make the experience worth it.

Learn more about the 1MC St. Pete Community

Ready to pitch? Apply to present today. “The hardest thing to do is to decide to present. Just show up!”