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CO.STARTERS at WorkHub on Union

WHAT IS CO-STARTERS?

The CO.STARTERS program prepares aspiring entrepreneurs with insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn their business ideas into action. CO.STARTERS is designed to shorten the time it takes to develop great ideas into thriving businesses by applying lean business model methods popular with high-growth startups.

Participants will learn how to identify key assumptions about why and how their businesses will work in real-world scenarios. This approach enables participants to rapidly uncover flaws in their concepts and quickly adjust their business models.

WHO IS IT FOR?

If you are exploring a new idea, you're someone close to starting up, or even just launched a business that is "stuck," CO.STARTERS is right for YOU.

All you need is an idea that you are ready to test, willing to study, shape and fine-tune in an environment that’s supportive and collaborative. If you’re serious about turning your passion into a sustainable business, CO.STARTERS is a smart next-step.

Click here to hear what entrepreneurs have had to say about the program in Memphis, TN.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

Up to 15 entrepreneurs will meet together for nine weeks, one evening a week for three hours, led by a facilitator. CO.STARTERS facilitators are experienced business owners from the community who guide participants through the program by asking the right questions, drawing on the knowledge in the room, and using available resources and connections in the community to point participants in the right direction.

In addition to exploring different topics each week, guest speakers are also brought in weekly to enrich the conversation and help participants learn from the experience of others in the community.

CO.STARTERS will help you identify why and how your business will work, and will then talk with customers to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly.

On week 10, we will celebrate your participation and you will 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.

WHAT DOES IT COVER?

Week 1: Knowing Yourself

This week covers testing assumptions, working styles, team building, and common business obstacles.

Topic 2: Knowing Your Customer

This session focuses on the most important person for your business—your customer. We’ll discuss who your customer is, the problem they have, how to talk to potential customers, and determine how many customers exist for your business.

Topic 3: Finding the Right Solution

This session covers your solution to your customer’s problem, the benefit you offer, the advantage you bring to the table, and the importance of starting small.

Topic 4: Getting the Relationship Right

This session focuses on marketing, crafting and getting your message out, creating an elevator pitch, and keeping and growing customers over time.

Topic 5: Building Blocks

This session focuses on methods of getting your product or service to your customer, as well as some foundational building blocks for your financials.

Topic 6: Structures & Systems

This session covers legal and accounting, including business structures, licenses, IP and hiring.

Topic 7: Discovering the Bottom Line

This session is all about costs: startup, ongoing, fixed, and variable. We’ll also discuss how to determine your gross profit and break-even point.

Topic 8: Financial Marketing

In this session, we review your break-even point, discuss how to project sales, and predict when you will break even from those projections. We’ll also discuss cash flow and different ways of raising capital to cover the gap.

Topic 9: Planning for Growth

This session continues to work on your numbers: costs, break-even point, and sales projections. Also, we will look into the sources of capital that make the most sense for your venture.

Week 10: Celebration

In this final session, we will celebrate your hard work and success!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost of CO.STARTERS is $150 (value of over $3500) thanks to a generous grant from the City of Easthampton ARPA Fund. The program costs include:

  • All program materials
  • 1 on 1 support from a seasoned entrepreneur
  • 9 weeks of classroom instruction
  • Graduation Celebration
  • Mentorship and class speakers
  • Resource kit
  • Access to global connections
  • Opportunity to bring your idea to action

WHEN DOES IT START?

The first cohort will begin on March 5, 2024 with sessions held every Tuesday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. through the Celebration date of May 7, 2024. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis through February 20, 2024. Payment is required upon acceptance into the cohort.