Café Commerce Expanding in New Year

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Work space inside Café Commerce, located in the Central Library. Courtesy photo.

Courtesy / Café Commerce

Work space inside Café Commerce, located in the Central Library.

Café Commerce only opened nine months ago, but the numbers suggest success as the non-profit helps build and nurture San Antonio’s entrepreneurial community. Café Commerce has had 467 walk-ins, which translated into 449 member sign-ups and led to another 445 referrals. The space inside the Central Library has hosted 178 events, and 1 Million Cups, the most regular of those events, has attracted 1,015 attendees.

We have been doing a lot.

One of our points of pride has been Break Fast and Launch, the first culinary business accelerator in the nation. Essentially, Break Fast and Launch is a program, modeled after Techstars, that provides chefs and other culinary creators the mentorship, training and experiential opportunities to successfully launch or grow a culinary business. Currently we are a little over halfway through our first cohort, focusing on restaurants and food trucks with two additional cohorts (beverage, tech/shelf product/other) planned for 2015.

1 Million Cups hosted every Wednesday from 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. in Café Commerce at the Central Library. Courtesy photo.

1 Million Cups is hosted every Wednesday, 9-10 a.m. in Café Commerce at the Central Library. Courtesy photo.

As part of our outreach, Café Commerce also has done a great deal to meet the needs of the community at an approachable level. During the month of December, Café Commerce participated in the OPEN pop-up program as primary space coordinator for the location at 231 E Houston. Also in December we launched our newest program, 1 Million Pints. 1MP was developed to accommodate people who were unable to attend the 1 Million Cups format due to jobs or other daytime commitments.

For those still on the fence about entrepreneurship, Café Commerce hosts a program developed by the Kauffman Foundation called Who Owns the Ice House. Rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts operations, where applicants are shown that entrepreneurship is not reserved for the Harvard dropout tech billionaires but instead is found in everyday walks of life.

1 Million Pints showcases entrepreneurs every Tuesday at various locations including Alamo Street Eat Bar. Courtesy photo.

1 Million Pints showcases entrepreneurs every Tuesday at various locations, including Alamo Street Eat Bar. Courtesy photo.

Our first year is still not finished. There are multiple opportunities to get involved whether your path is one of entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship.

On March 16, Café Commerce will be at SXSW for two separate discussions. “When New Businesses Hatch at the Public Library,” will be a fireside chat between Alan Weinkrantz and Peter French hosted in the Startup Village. “Creating a New Accelerator for Culinary Business,” will be a panel discussion between Celina Peña of LiftFund, Ryan Salts of Café Commerce/Break Fast & Launch, Blake Yeager of Techstars and Jody Newman of The Friendly Spot, hosted at Southbites.

April 1 will be our first Partner Pitch event. Every two weeks, two of our 85 resource partners will present the services they offer to the Café Commerce community and field questions related to their areas of expertise.

Launching on May 3, Café Commerce will be leading the National Lemonade Day charge in San Antonio to offer children entrepreneurial experience through the development and operation of their own lemonade stand.

While this is not the expansive list of events that Café Commerce has planned, there is always an opportunity to get involved. As the cliché goes, “There is no better time than now.” Whether we can assist your business to accelerate growth or support the jump to full-blown entrepreneurship.

*Featured/top image: Work space inside Café Commerce, located in the Central Library. Courtesy photo.

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