Pocahontas: Starting 1 Million Cups in Northwest Iowa

Entrepreneurs in Northwest Iowa are about to get caffeinated.

Starting Wednesday, Pocahontas will join Iowa’s network of 1 Million Cups and host its first presentation at 9 a.m. at Flex Fitness on Main Street in Pocahontas. Colin Hurd—founder of the Ames-based AgTech company Smart Ag—will be the inaugural presenter.

Pocahontas joins Des Moines, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City and Cedar Valley as communities with 1 Million Cups chapters.

Brian Dewey is one of the organizers of 1 Million Cups Pocahontas and said there weren’t many community members in Pocahontas who knew about 1 Million Cups.

“We want to foster the ideas that are here and get people to think outside the box,” Dewey says. “Then bring in new businesses to see the value of a small town. We knew that to gain interest early, our strategy was to find cool innovative AgTech companies. We thought since we are agriculturally based community, that would spur some interest.”

Dewey said late last year he pitched his company Koloni at 1 Million Cups at Mill Race in Cedar Falls and said he’s still in contact with people he met that day.

That process made him think, why not do this in Pocahontas and Northwest Iowa?

“We definitely saw a need locally and hopefully trying to inspire new people to jump into entrepreneurship,” Dewey said. “We just want to stir the pot here locally. A group of us got together and we thought why not.”

Dewey said during his pitch in Cedar Falls, the Mayor of Cedar Falls along with several city officials attended.

“We kind of laid the groundwork for a potential bike share launch in Cedar Falls later this summer,” Dewey said. “They saw the value of what we created.

“You start from just one presentation and connect with so many different types of people.”

Going regional

For entrepreneurs in Northwest Iowa, resources are limited Dewey said. So he’s hopeful that by hosting 1 Million Cups in Pocahontas, it will attract community members from different industries.

Dewey says he’s been marketing in neighboring cities Storm Lake, Humboldt and Emmetsburg.

“We are just hoping to create some more resources, relationships and connections,” Dewey said. “Trying to get it to be a regional hub for 1 Million Cups.”