By Lauren McDonald May 5, 2022

There was plenty of news to share during the celebration Wednesday of the sixth anniversary of One Million Cups in Brunswick.

Much of the news was connected to work that’s happened locally thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit that the One Million Cup’s program helps foster.

One Million Cups, which hosts a meeting on the first Wednesday of each month in cities across the United States, brings entrepreneurs and other inspired minds together to network and share ideas.

The local meetings have been held at Tipsy McSway’s in downtown Brunswick. The next meeting will take place at the newly opened Tipsy McFly’s, located at the Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport.

“Six years ago, when we came here, it was kind of lonely,” said Skip Mounts, dean and professor of economics for College of Coastal Georgia’s School of Business and Public Management and who brought the One Million Cups initiative to Glynn County. “The names of our current wonderful entrepreneurs of Kaufman, Prince, Piazza, and on and on weren’t really known, weren’t really being discussed.”

The anniversary celebration included presentations from two area entrepreneurs. Ande Noktes, executive director of the Art and Lindee Lucas Center for Entrepreneurship at CCGA, shared her entrepreneurial story with the crowd that gathered inside Tipsy’s.

“I have to be honest with you,” she said. “I have a problem with problems because I love them. I love problems, and the reason I love problems is because I think that there is a solution baked into every problem.”

Noktes became an entrepreneur before taking any business school classes. She’s opened three schools and recently moved to Glynn County to work at the college.

The Lucas Center’s goal will be to create an ecosystem and serve as a hub for entrepreneurship. The center will empower entrepreneurs who strive to solve problems, Noktes said.

The center will achieve its mission through robust on-campus programming, a commitment to the community and the region and the creation of a pipeline for entrepreneurship through K-12 partnerships.

“When I look out into the world I see that there’s so much potential to solve problems that our world needs solved,” Noktes said. “And when I look into this community I see that potential.”

Kate Foster, co-owner of South of Heaven BBQ, which opened recently in Brunswick across from the college campus, shared the story of her family’s move to the Golden Isles and the challenges they’ve faced as restaurant owners during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restaurant first opened in Carrollton, and in 2020 Foster and her husband Judd had to lay off 28 of their 32 employees.

“I had to lay them all off on the same day, not in person because we couldn’t do that,” she recalled. “It was very devastating, and anybody who had to deal with that, I feel for you. I’m with you. I’m one of you.”

The move to Glynn County was meant to save the business, she said. Foster thanked the community for welcoming the restaurant with open arms.

“We just knew we wanted to be here, and we wanted to grow with this community,” she said.


Photography by Terry Dickson

Republished with the permission of The Brunswick News. Originally published in The Brunswick News