Many months of work will soon pay off for Skip Mounts. The professor of economics at College of Coastal Georgia has organized and chartered a chapter of 1 Million Cups, a national initiative to promote entrepreneurship by drinking coffee.
The first event will take place at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Tipsy McSway's in downtown Brunswick.
"As far as I can tell from the comments I'm hearing, everyone is excited. Everyone thinks that this is going to be a wonderful event," he said. "It's exciting because 90 other cities are also having a 1 Million Cups event, with respect to their own time zones, of course, at the same time — their 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning ... so that's kinda cool."
The format and flow of the program is simple enough and is uniform throughout it. Participants — both the presenters and audience members — should arrive a bit early to grab their coffee, provided by Wake Up Coffee, and take time to chat. From there, promptly at 9 a.m., two speakers representing either a for-profit or nonprofit entity will take to the podium. Each will have six minutes to describe their business, outlining their successes or challenges. Afterward, the audience can ask questions or offer possible solutions.
Mounts says the group has its speakers lined up. The Brunswick Stewdio, a mixed-use artistic space downtown, and Tails of the Low Country, a pet publication from Hilton Head, S.C., will present at the inaugural event. Mounts says others are also getting onboard.
"We have Richland Rum presenting for July. We just need to make sure that we can keep the momentum going," he said. "We need to develop a group of people that will continually come on the first Wednesday of every month. We also need to make sure we can access those wonderful mentors which are untapped resources. We have many of them across the causeway, we just have to figure out how to get them engaged."
The goal of the initiative, which is part of a national project by the nonprofit firm the Kaufman Foundation, is to create a culture of entrepreneurship. That, Mounts says, will hopefully translate into real change for Brunswick.
"We want an ecosystem of entrepreneurship that is supported by this regular gathering of creative people," he said. "This is one of the many things that a community can do to promote economic development and, given our recent experience with the recession and inability as a community to get out of it ... we need to do more things and do more diverse things that contribute to a positive environment for economic development."
And Mounts is counting on a snowball effect taking place.
"This is one thing the economic development groups can use when they go to recruit business. It shows that the community is pro-business and interested in advancing economic development," he said.