Innovation Connector Brings 1 Million Cups To Muncie

A 1 Million Cups presenter is pictured. Photo provided.A 1 Million Cups presenter is pictured. Photo provided.

By: Mike Rhodes—

Muncie, IN—Do you, or your company or organization have an idea, program or business you’d really like to try, but you just aren’t certain whether your idea will be successful?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a chance to pitch an idea or concept to business leaders who can help advise you and help you ascertain whether or not your idea will be successful? In the spirit of ”getting connected”, the Innovation Connector is bringing a new initiative to Muncie to do just that. It’s called “1 Million Cups.”  1 Million Cups is a nationwide program created and funded by The Kauffman Foundation, designed to educate, engage and accelerate the growth and implementation of entrepreneurial ideas. At this time, there are over 150 1 Million Cups groups around the nation. Muncie will become Indiana’s 4th.

The culture of 1 Million Cups is supportive and neutral, welcoming participants to be “open and honest” about their businesses and the challenges they face. The program is not a traditional “pitch” environment. Participants make educational presentations to a live audience, who provide constructive criticism, share experiences, advice and support.

1 Million Cups in Muncie will begin on Wednesday, November 15th at the Innovation Connector.  Entrepreneurs, business owners, non-profit organizations and the community-at- large, will have a new way to pitch and beta-test ideas during 1 Million Cups sessions and get immediate feedback.

Ted Baker, Executive Director of the Innovation Connector attended an Entrepreneurial Summit sponsored by The Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City last summer and learned about the 1 Million Cups program. Personally committing himself to be an “entrepreneurial ecosystem builder,” Ted called The Kaufman Foundation, applied for the 1 Million Cups program and was accepted.

“What makes the 1 Million Cups program really different is that 1 Million Cups focuses on innovation and entrepreneurial/intrepreneurial activity. Innovation happens in every part of business, education and even government. Innovation happens everywhere. It is not uncommon for someone from the non-profit sector to come and pitch an idea at 1 Million Cups.  For example, perhaps a non-profit is thinking about introducing a new program, or a fundraising effort. 1 Million Cups, and the thought leadership of the group, can help steer them through the process with immediate feedback.”—Ted Baker

The 1 Million Cups initiative in Muncie has a very strong organizing committee, consisting of: Jay Julian from the Muncie-Delaware Chamber of Commerce; Krystal Geyer, Assistant Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Ball State; Gary Thomas, Owner of Leap Managed IT; Peggy Cenova, Regional Director of the ISBDC; Delaina Boyd, Interim VP of Community Outreach at Ball State University; in addition to Ted Baker, Lori Albert, and Alexis Dishman at the Innovation Connector.

1 Million Cups will accept presentations from ANY industry. Presentations are “sales free.” No selling is allowed.  Pitches at 1 Million Cups are “idea pitches” only.

How 1 Million Cups Works

  • After the inaugural launch on November 15th, 1 Million Cups will meet on the second Wednesday of each month.  Two previously-vetted businesses will present their idea. These events are FREE and open to the public.
  •  Prior to presenting, the participant prepares by incorporating mandatory lessons from the Kauffman Founders School “Powerful Presentations” series, featuring Nathan Gold.
  •  Each participant will be assigned a “coach” and will present to “the coach” prior to presenting at a 1 Million Cups Wednesday morning session.
  • Each participant will present for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

To date, 20 individuals have been identified to present pitches. Rhett Barker, a Ball State University Senior and Marketing Major from St. John, IN is one of them.

“I am thrilled to be part of the launch of 1 Million Cups in Muncie,” said Rhett.  “I can’t wait to present Flipside Mobile Car Wash and to receive feedback from the audience. 1 Million Cups will be great for the Muncie Community.”



For more information on 1 Million Cups,  email Ted Baker at: