CO.STARTERS is a nine-week, cohort-based program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavor.
Who’s It For?
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service, CO.STARTERS is for you. The only real prerequisites are:
- having an idea you’re ready, willing, and excited to share and pursue.
- a willingness to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment. If you’re creative and community-minded, and you’re serious about turning your passion into a sustainable business, we want you.
How Does it Work?
Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and startup veterans from around the globe, CO.STARTERS at StartUP Columbus walks creative small business owners through effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, and with the help of a supportive community. Rather than treating a startup like a large corporation and writing a detailed business plan, CO.STARTERS participants are encouraged to build and test small models first. In the process, participants receive real-time customer feedback, update their models to meet customer needs and avoid creating businesses based on incorrect assumptions.
What to Expect
During CO.STARTERS at StartUP Columbus, you are not being lectured. This is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded people. Led by a facilitator who is an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll identify your assumptions about why and how your businesses will work and then talk to customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly. You’ll leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate your model, and repeat the process with your next great idea.
During CO.STARTERS at StartUP Columbus, you’ll develop and fine-tune your idea, critically examining every part of it and tweaking your next steps through real-time feedback from people in the community. Over the nine weeks, we’ll cover the following topics.
- Week 1: Knowing Yourself (Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles)
- Week 2: Knowing Your Customer (Problem, Solution, Benefit, Competition, Advantage, Customer)
- Week 3: Getting the Relationship Right (Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers)
- Week 4: Building the Model to Scale (Starting Small, Distribution, Revenue, Typical Sale, Price)
- Week 5: Strengthening Your Structure (Business Structures, Licenses, IP, Hiring)
- Week 6: Discovering the Bottom Line (Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Event Point)
- Week 7: Accounting for Growth (Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Accounting)
- Week 8: Planning for the Future (Raising Capital, Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Pitch Prep)
- Week 9: Graduation Night/Sharing Your Story
Meet some of our CO.STARTERS graduates
CO.STARTERS at StartUP Columbus lasts nine weeks, meeting one evening a week for three hours. Facilitators include mentors and active entrepreneurs, and guest speakers include specialists and professionals from Columbus’ leading marketing, branding, legal and finance firms and agencies, as well as local entrepreneurs.
The total course fee for our CO.STARTERS General Session is $200, which includes course materials, office hours with StartUp Columbus and mentors to address your business development needs, and access to community events, networking opportunities and small business resources. All class participants will be added to StartUp Columbus’ network of startups for up-to-date access to new resources.
- January 14, 2020 – 6:00pm-9:00pm
- March 28, 2020 – 9:00am-12:00pm
- July 21, 2020 – 6:00pm-9:00pm
- August 31 – 6:00pm-9:00pm
The cohort will be held at StartUP Columbus Incubator. 1127 Broadway, Suite B, Columbus, Georgia 31901. Entrance on Front Avenue.
Whether you’re an owner of an existing business, or you are simply exploring a start-up concept, we encourage you to apply. You will need a well-articulated description of the product or service you offer (or plan on offering) and a description of your consumer, client, or target audience. We’re looking for entrepreneurs that represent a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds, in order to establish a cohort that incorporates both established businesses and startup concepts. We screen our applicants, and space is limited.
Deposit and Registration
There is no application fee. Payment is due upon being selected into the program. If payment has not been received seven (7) days prior to the start of the course, your position in the program could be given to other applicants.
StartUp Columbus is now offering 3-hour CO.STARTERS Get Started Workshops designed to equip you with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn your idea into a business.
Whether you’re just getting started, stuck on a particular issue, or are in need of a refresher, this workshop will provide the jumpstart needed to get you moving. This workshop is a low-commitment opportunity to understand what’s driving you, explore your idea through the CO.STARTERS canvas, and refine your model by learning ways to get meaningful customer feedback and start pursuing your idea today. You’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the community and make valuable connections to help you along the way.
The total course fee for our CO.STARTERS Get Started Workshop is $20, which includes curriculum and course materials.