Turn your passion into a thriving business. 

What is CO.STARTERS?

CO.STARTERS is a nine-week program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving business.

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Who is 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 (1) having an idea you're ready, willing, and excited to share and pursue and (2) 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. Submit your application by filling out the electronic application below.

What to expect:

CO.STARTERS is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded people. CO.STARTERS is led by a facilitator who is an experienced, local entrepreneur who will help you 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.

How much does it cost?

The cost of CO.STARTERS is $195 for City of Lynchburg residents and $245 for non-residents. Participants can pay the first night of class or flexible payment plans can be arranged (no cash or check accepted). The program costs include:
  • 1 on 1 support from a seasoned entrepreneur
  • 9 weeks of classroom instruction
  • Mentorship and class speakers
  • Opportunity to hone your business pitch
  • Service hours from local providers
A $100 non-refundable fee towards the full program cost is charged when you are accepted into the program. 

Curriculum:

During CO.STARTERS, 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: Pitch Night/Sharing Your Story

Monday_cohort.jpgLogistics:

  • Classes take place once a week for nine weeks. 
  • The cost of CO.STARTERS is $195 for City of Lynchburg residents and $245 for non-residents.
  • A non-refundable $100 fee is due when you are accepted into the program to hold your space in the program. Flexible payment plans may be negotiated. 
  • Only credit or debit cards are accepted, no cash or check. 
  • Must be 18 years or older to register for the course. 
  • The deadline to apply for the spring cohort is January 31, 2017.
  • Classes will take place on Mondays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. beginning March 13, 2017. 

 

Interested? Fill out the application below! The deadline for applications is January 31, 2017. 

 

CO.STARTERS is supported by the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority,

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If you have any trouble with the form, please email Anna Bentson anna.bentson@lynchburgva.gov

Apply here: