Business owners and entrepreneurs mingle during the first Million Cups of Coffee event at Studio One Eleven in downtown Long Beach. Photos by Medina Kabir. 

A free nationwide event that aims to educate and connect investors with entrepreneurs and small business owners, known as One Million Cups of Coffee, will meet every first Wednesday of the month in downtown Long Beach where local businesses will be able to present their companies to potential investors.

Today was the first meeting out of 11 scheduled for this year only. The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) selected this national program, founded by the Kauffman Foundation, to connect local entrepreneurs over “one million cups of coffee”.

DLBA is currently seeking startup businesses for future meetings to share their background and goals and even seek advice from other entrepreneurs in attendance through this series.

“One Million Cups is an opportunity to bring together entrepreneurs, small business owners and people who are interested in investing and have conversations over one million cups of coffee,” said Economic Development Manager of DLBA Adam Carrillo.

Case Worx, a startup business that launched back in fall 2017, was the first to present at the One Million Cups of Coffee event.

Case Worx delivers living case studies that grow and evolve with a student’s lesson plan.

“We use high media production and storycraft, interactive decision points… so you can provide a powerful and relevant training ground for all types of students, regardless of their learning pathway,” said founder of Case Worx Justin Wolske.

Case Worx founder Justin Wolske speaks Wednesday during the One Million Cups of Coffee event. 

The next business owner to present was Megan Papageorge, founder of Sweet Peach Planning.

Creating a wedding planning subscription box, projected to launch this year on Black Friday, Papageorge aims to give her brides useful materials to help plan and enjoy their wedding process.

Brides receive a 12-month planning box that comes with necessary materials to plan a wedding and accomplish goals one at a time.

During the event, Papageorge asked entrepreneurs for advice, like choosing the right startup team to work in her company.

Entrepreneurs attending the event suggested ideas based on their own experience for Papageorge during the Q&A session, such as hiring interns to work for her, which will allow them to develop their skills in the company. As the company grows, Papageorge can eventually hire them as part-time workers with firsthand experience working at her company.

“I want this to be the leading entrepreneurship forum and networking event in the greater city of downtown long beach,” said Carrillo.

Carrillo’s goal is to make Studio One Eleven the home base for any existing or credential downtown business in the city of Long Beach.

Local startup businesses that are interested in becoming a part of the community can use this series as an opportunity to present their companies to entrepreneurs.

This event will be held every first Wednesday of the month at Studio One Eleven, located on 245 East Third Street.

Businesses can apply here to attend.