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CO.STARTERS Core is a three-month, 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.

Next Cohort Begins:

September, 2024

Application Deadline:

Aug 18th, 2024 - 11:59p

Program Cost

$150 (Due First Session)

  • Application is free

  • Scholarship opportunities available

  • See application for details

Who should apply?

This program is for anyone in Southwest Virginia with an idea and the passion to turn that idea into a thriving business, or someone with an existing business with a desire to take it to the next level.

What to expect?

Starters across SWVA can expect to embark on a virtual 9 week journey together with others who will work together to turn their ideas into action.


  • One evening a week commitment for sessions

  • Weekly fieldwork

  • Cash Prize

  • Additional incentives

  • Business building resources


  • Virtually via Zoom (sessions 2-9)

  • In-person launch session and final Celebration + Pitch Night


  • Having the support of other new starters cheering you on while deepening those relationships and building your network

  • Utilizing a program where 97% of businesses launched survive the 1-Year mark

  • Sessions facilitated by entrepreneurs who have started just like you

  • Leaving the cohort with immediate leads for funding opportunities and location incentives. 



A peek into each session and what will be covered


  • Sessions 1 and 9 will be held in-person at the Oxbow Center in St. Paul, Virginia

  • Sessions 2-8 will be held virtually via zoom


Session 1

Knowing Yourself

Introduction, Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles

Session 2

Knowing Your Customer

Customer, Problem, Alternatives, Idea Testing

Session 3

Finding the Right Solution

Solution, Benefit, Advantage, Starting Small, Brand Identity

Session 4

Getting the Relationship Right

Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers

Session 5

Building Blocks

Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price

Session 6

Structures & Systems

Legal & Accounting Considerations

Session 7

Discovering the Bottom Line

Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point

Session 8

Financial Modeling

Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Raising Capital

Session 9

Planning for Growth

Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Celebration Prep

Session 10


You made it. It's Party Time

Starter Story


"All the brainstorming and encouragement and info about stuff that I didn't know I needed to know was such a big part of making my business into a reality!"

- Caitie Cox // Maple Tree Book Shop

What once was a hometown staple, a family bakery, has transformed into a space that brings books, brews, & bites all together. Caitie Cox opened up Maple Tree Book Shop & Coffee House after working through the 10 week cohort in CO.STARTERS. 

Caitie used her love of community & books to develop the used & new book shop in downtown Gate City, Virginia.
"For busy families who want to shop local but aren't sure where to start, we are happy to help kids find their next favorite read. We're passionate about childhood literacy and recently gave away 175 books to local children at our community Back-to-School event. "

Caitie along with her parents, wanted to keep the hometown family bakery vibes well alive but with their own twist. They now offer assortments of tea, coffee, bakery good, and a used bookshop. 

Caitie began working pop up events in June of 2022 selling books, but eventually realized that they needed a storefront, a place the community could hook onto a support. 

You can find more about Caitie & her bookshop by visiting:



Business Launch Rate


Business 1-Year Survival Rate


Business Launch Rate

Interested in becoming a facilitator or mentor?

The most important resource anyone can have is meaningful connections and mentorships with individuals who want to help them succeed. Do you have experience and knowledge to share? If you're an experienced entrepreneur or business owner, comfortable speaking in front of a group, and interested in investing in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Southwest Virginia, let's connect! We are always looking to partner with new program facilitators. Facilitator trainees will participate in virtual training sessions to become well versed in CO.STARTERS. Trainees will be provided a stipend for time + travel.

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