Looking for a chance to meet, network or just hang out with locally minded people? Here are three great options happening regularly around Colorado Springs: 1 Million Cups, #cstweetup and Vegan Drinks for a Cause.
1 Million Cups
Every Wednesday at 9 a.m. you can find about 50 entrepreneurs, community supporters, students, educators and mentors drinking a cup of coffee at Episouthcentral at Ivywild, learning how a local business or organization is changing our community. It’s speed-dating, of sorts. Every week two presenters each have six minutes—yep, six—to dazzle attendees with his or her entrepreneurial journey. Then come 20 minutes of questions, some tough but all designed to help them do better, which ultimately helps the business and the community at large.
1 Million Cups COS is part of a national movement founded by the Kaufman Foundation in 2012. Now there are 77 communities in 35 states who are supporting their entrepreneurial community one cup of coffee at a time. “There is a great energy growing in the entrepreneurial community here in the Springs,” says 1MC COS organizer Amy Lester. “And it is great to be able to connect and support other entrepreneurs on their journey.”
For networking of the more social variety, follow the hashtag #cstweetup on Twitter or Facebook, so you don’t miss the next gathering of some of the Springs most prolific tweeters. You don’t even really have to be into social media yourself. The once-a-month gathering is designed to bring locals together to meet new folks, strengthen the Springs community and support local businesses.
With no formal agenda, the #cstweetup is usually held at a different location each month. “The #cstweetup is a fun and fantastic way to comfortably meet and get to know the diverse members of the Colorado Springs community while supporting local businesses, creating lasting friendships and enjoying great food and drinks,” says Kevin Westendorf who tweets as @tonedeafvoice (and has over 14,000 followers). The next #cstweetup, most likely over a local brew, is in May. And there are only two ways to get the details:
Follow the #cstweetup hashtag on Twitter
Like the #cstweetup page on Facebook, facebook.com/cstweetup.
Vegan Drinks for a Cause
Speaking of brew, thirsty animal-lovers gather at The Burrowing Owl the third Thursday of each month for Vegan Drinks for a Cause. The Colorado Springs Vegan & Vegetarian Group spotlights a city or state organization working on behalf of companion and farmed animals, as well as wildlife. Disclosure: I’m one of the organizers. This no-pressure event is simple: Entry is free. Order plant-based food and drinks (if you want). And hear from the animal rights or welfare organization for about two minutes. You might hear about the dog adopted to a new home after her human companion passed away or the two local celebrity pigs—Felix and Franklin—who were spared slaughter and now live on an animal sanctuary. Just be warned, after stories like those, you’ll be pulling out your checkbook.