CometBuzz Coffee House Moving Toward Launchpad

Grand Rapids, MI – CometBuzz Coffee House Founder, JD Sullivan recently tried to get 5x5night funding to get our project off the ground. While he didn’t get enough votes to be a 5x5night contender in this round, his initiative has us one step closer!

The folks at 5x5night offer advice and networking opportunities to anyone who has applied for the funding. Sullivan is already signed up and logged into a website 5x5night suggested for networking with businesses, organizations, angel investors and entrepreneurs and future 5x5nights to learn and discover opportunities.

“I felt like I was sticking my neck out with applying for the 5x5night grant, but I am encouraged by the initial support,” said Sullivan. “It is amazing how opportunities present themselves when you’re willing to take a step toward your dreams.”

Why CometBuzz?
Sullivan has had a dream of providing a community-building coffee house for ages, with plans for the menu items, vendor ideas, employee retention, etc. The name CometBuzz comes from the mascot for Olivet College, where JD earned a Journalism/Mass Communication B.A.

Olivet College had a huge impact on my life,” said Sullivan. “I transferred in as a non-traditional student and was challenged in ways that helped me to realize my strengths and finally graduate. Red & Black has become my theme.”

Olivet College has in its mission to offer an education for individual and social responsibility. Sullivan tries to integrate this mission into all that he does, including how CometBuzz is dedicated to serving the community in general as a space for community building and celebrating creativity, as well as our specific focus on supporting people with cognitive disabilities.

CometBuzz Coffee House is getting ready to launch a crowdfund that will go beyond any start-up funding toward getting a location and other start-up costs. The crowdfund will take place during April 2018, which seems like a long time from now, but we want to make sure everything is in place for a successful campaign.

Why April 2018?
April is Autism Awareness Month. JD Sullivan has worked for years with local agencies helping people with cognitive disabilities with a focus on autism. He has seen the needs of people with these challenges first hand and has decided that part of CometBuzz’s social responsibility is to help overcome some of the challenges.

One barrier people with cognitive disabilities face is that of finding gainful employment. CometBuzz will be intentional about offering supportive employment opportunities to individuals with cognitive disabilities as a part of a diverse team of baristas. In addition, CometBuzz will host fundraisers to address some of the common needs that are going unmet, such as partnering with local agencies to help with transportation needs.

“The Rapid, Hope Network and others do offer transportation and they do a tremendous help. But there are some areas where the bus does not reach or other transportation modes are cost-prohibitive for these folks,” said Sullivan. “I also hope that we can find ways to partner with local agencies to provide perks to agency workers who make people’s lives empowered and meaningful, as a way to show appreciation for the hard work that they do.”

What’s Next?
Sullivan applied for the 5x5night grant with less than 60 hours to get enough votes, and yet the project rose to 17th place out of 33 applicants, and it got 161 views which is an excellent showing in so little time. But one of the most important components to a successful crowdfund, whether it be a startup catalyst like 5x5night or an online crowdfund site, is to have a bunch of backers who vote/contribute early. Advice offered on crowdfund sites such as Indiegogo or Kickstarter suggest that a campaign should get 20% – 30% backing in the first quarter of a campaign in order to convince a wider audience to also participate in backing the project.

So, we’re encouraging people who support this project to sign up for our mailing list so that we have a bunch of people ready to make our next funding efforts a success.

Sullivan may continue to apply for future 5x5night events and we’re also getting ready to launch a general crowdfund in April 2018. Our general crowdfund will include perks ranging from generous amounts of coffee and lattes to T-shirts and bumper stickers to drink naming rights to backer-only events.

Mailing list subscribers will get monthly updates on our progress toward making CometBuzz Coffee House a reality and announcements when we are ready to launch the crowdfund so that we can get that early showing of supportive contributions.

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