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:
March 21st, 2024
March 17th, 2024 - 11:59p
$150 (Due First Session)
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
Business building resources
Virtually via Zoom
In-person final session 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
Introduction, Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles
Knowing Your Customer
Customer, Problem, Alternatives, Idea Testing
Finding the Right Solution
Solution, Benefit, Advantage, Starting Small, Brand Identity
Getting the Relationship Right
Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers
Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price
Structures & Systems
Legal & Accounting Considerations
Discovering the Bottom Line
Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point
Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Raising Capital
Planning for Growth
Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Celebration Prep
You made it. It's Party Time
"All the brainstorming and encouragement and info about stuff that I didn't know I needed to know was such a bid 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:
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.