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1 Million Cups promotes a community of success for black entrepreneurs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's a lineup of African American presenters and experts at February’s 1 Million Cups events for Black History Month.

The goal is to give exposure and raise awareness about Kansas City's thriving community of black entrepreneurs.

“It means they support us, it means that they care,” said Patricia McCreary, the owner of Margaret’s Place Senior Recreation and Wellness Center.

“The fact that they're highlighting it and bringing it to light is super exciting,” President of T-Shirt King Chris Evans said.

February is Black History Month, and 1 Million Cups is showcasing Kansas City's thriving community of black entrepreneurs.

“1 Million Cups is a weekly entrepreneurial showcase and networking event hosted every Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Kauffman Foundation,” said Kyle J. Smith, the Community Organizer at 1 Million Cups. “We are celebrating black history at 1 Million Cups by featuring all black founders all month long.”

Two local black entrepreneurs present about their business at each showcase. It's an opportunity to celebrate all the of black entrepreneurs working hard around KC.

“Diversity and inclusion is important to us year-round at 1 Million Cups, but we were excited to take the opportunity of Black History Month in February to celebrate all of those awesome black entrepreneurs around KC,” Smith added.

One presenter was Patricia McCreary with Margaret’s Place, a senior recreation and wellness center located at 72nd and Troost.

“I think what 1 Million Cups does is amazing anyway, whether it's Black History Month or not. It's awesome to highlight entrepreneurs, especially small businesses, because we do need that extra push,” McCreary explained.

Evans was also invited to speak this month.

“What we do is promote businesses through apparel and promotional products,” Evans explained.

His parents started the business in 1985.

“If you're small, you can't afford advertising like they do on the Super Bowl, so doing a great job is imperative to returning customers,” Chris’s dad, Carl, added.

1 Million Cups is giving them an opportunity to expand and connect with others.

“Being able to include family businesses, black-owned businesses is super exciting,” Evans said.

In addition to the program's weekly pitch presentations, a special evening event is planned for Feb. 28 as the culmination of the Black History Month series.

The nighttime 1 Million Cups event will feature a presentation from a black founder; a 'Where are they now?' panel discussion of 1 Million Cups alumni; and a black-owned small business fair.