“CO.STARTER” program to assist new and future business entrepreneurs in the UC

COOKEVILLE – The Biz Foundry has partnered with the Cumberland Incubator, Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) and regional chambers of commerce to offer CO.STARTERS, a national business model development program to assist local entrepreneurs in the Upper Cumberland. This program will assist individuals with starting a business or help new businesses expand.

CO.STARTERS was launched out of The Company Lab, a Chattanooga-based organization that offers programs, mentorship and resources to entrepreneurs. This program takes lessons learned from working with thousands of local creative entrepreneurs and combines that knowledge with industry-changing startup methods drawn from the research and experience of forward-thinking entrepreneurs and startup thought leaders across the country.

The CO.STARTERS curriculum incorporates this strategy in a way that’s accessible and relevant to small-business owners. The CO.STARTERS model has been tested for years in Chattanooga, Cincinnati and Detroit, and it’s now rolling out in other emerging startup communities across the nation.

Small businesses remain one of the fundamental economic drivers for local economies and job creation, Biz Foundry officials said in a release, but these smaller-scale startups have not received the same level of support as their high-growth counterparts. CO.STARTERS aims to narrow that gap.

The program lasts nine weeks, convening one evening a week for three hours. Facilitators are experienced entrepreneurs who are well connected in the business community. Throughout this business model discovery process, participants identify and test business assumptions through customer interactions, develop a functioning business model, learn valuable management and marketing skills, and receive constructive feedback from advisor, peers, and former grads. At the end, each participant will have the tools, framework and momentum needed to make a vision into a reality.

CO.STARTERS will be implemented and facilitated in three locations in the Upper Cumberland. The nine-week CO.STARTERS course will kick off in February. The various locations and launch dates are:

Monday, Feb. 3, 5:30–8:30 p.m.

McMinnville-Warren County Chamber of Commerce, 110 S. Court Square, McMinnville

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6-9 p.m.

Cumberland Business Incubator, 2569 Cook Road, Crossville

Thursday, Feb. 5, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The Biz Foundry, 140 W. Seventh St., Cookeville

The Biz Foundry is an accelerator for small business start-ups in the UC. For more information on CO.STARTERS and registration, call Jeff Brown at (931) 372-1039 or Cherry Daugherty at (931) 210-5105 or go to www.thebizfoundry.org/costarters.

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