Quick question ━ are you entrepreneurial? Scratch that. Have you ever had a lemonade stand? Have you ever tried to sell something that you made? Do you have an excellent process, product, service, or recipe that you think others could benefit from and would pay for?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could answer “yes” to the first question. You are entrepreneurial!
The trouble is, entrepreneurs have great ideas and often don’t have the means or the support to see them through. That’s why CO.STARTERS at Innovate Springfield is an excellent opportunity for anyone ready to invest in their big idea and turn it into a reality.
What is CO.STARTERS @iSPI?
CO.STARTERS is a ten-week cohort-based program that equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn their business idea into action. The only real prerequisites to joining the program are:
- having an idea;
- being willing to question, shape and fine-tune that idea;
- and be ready to talk about the idea with others.
CO.STARTERS walks creative small-business owners through lean, effective business modeling methods simply and intuitively and with a supportive community. Rather than treating a start-up as a large corporation and writing a detailed business plan, CO.STARTERS participants are encouraged to build and test small models first. Through the process, participants receive real-time customer feedback, update their models to meet their customer needs, and avoid creating businesses based on incorrect assumptions. This approach enables entrepreneurs [remember, if you answered “yes” to any of those original questions, that means you!] to rapidly uncover flaws in their concepts and find viable models more quickly.
When participants join CO.STARTERS, they’re entering into a collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded peers. Working together, participants develop and fine-tune their ideas, critically examining every part and determining the next steps through real-time feedback from people in the community, using the Business Model Canvas.
In addition to exploring different topics each week, we bring in weekly guest speakers to enrich the conversation, deepen learning, strengthen networks, and foster the development of organic mentor relationships. Participants leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate their models, and repeat the process with the next great idea.
What Makes CO.STARTERS @iSPI Unique?
Since launching CO.STARTERS at Innovate Springfield in the Spring of 2019, iSPI has graduated 27 starters from the program. Two of those graduates have established brick-and-mortar storefronts in downtown Springfield, Reverie Apparel and Whimsy Tea Company.
We aren’t at all surprised to see results like these this so quickly because we believe in the value the CO.STARTERS program creates and see CO.STARTERS as a critical part of our program schedule @(at) iSPI. It should also come as no surprise, given how significant we feel CO.STARTERS is, that the iSPI team puts tremendous effort into each cohort that we run.
You can take our word for it, but the starters we have served in the program give us rave reviews. Like this one:
The Innovate Springfield team does an amazing job keeping the class focused and on time. They come prepared for each session and present the information in a fun but informative way. It has been great to connect with other entrepreneurs in the class, celebrate our achievements together, and work together through our lows.
When is the next cohort?
The Spring 2021 CO.STARTERS @iSPI Cohort will meet virtually from 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM beginning Wednesday, March 24, 2021, through Wednesday, May 26, 2021.
If you or someone you know is ready to turn their business idea into action, don’t wait to apply because the Spring 2021 cohort application closes March 5, 2021, at 5:00 PM. Participants will be notified of their acceptance to the program the week of March 8.
You can learn more about the program and meet the graduates on our website.