The Douglas County Chamber, in partnership with the Douglas County Economic Development Authority, Douglas UnitE3 BB&T, and Mercer University will soon offer a new program for entrepreneurs and start-up companies. CO.STARTERS is a nine-week, cohort-based program that equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. The Chamber is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2018 program.
Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and start-up veterans from around the globe, CO.STARTERS walks creative small-business owners through lean, effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, and with the help of a supportive community. Rather than treating a start-up like a large corporation and writing a detailed business plan, CO.STARTERS participants are encouraged to build and test small models first. In the process, participants receive real-time customer feedback, update their models to meet customer needs and avoid creating businesses based on incorrect assumptions. The CO.STARTERS program has a global reach, serving numerous communities across the United States, New Zealand, and Australia.
In Douglas County, CO.STARTERS will be implemented and facilitated by the Mercer University’s Douglas Campus. The nine-week CO.STARTERS program will kick off in October and finish with a celebration open to the community in December. The program is sponsored by the Douglas County Chamber, Douglas UnitE3, and BB&T. Cohort participants will receive high level training weekly on Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. at Mercer’s Douglas County Campus located at 975 Blairs Bridge Road in Lithia Springs.
CO.STARTERS is offered as part of the Build Business Success Pillar of the new community strategic plan for Douglas County that was recently unveiled. The program aligns with the strategy to enhance support systems for entrepreneurs and startups. Small business remains one of the fundamental economic drivers for local economies and job creation, 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 key to creating a thriving environment with an excellent quality of life, a strong talent pipeline, and community pride starts with building business success,” commented Chris Pumphrey, DC Economic Development Authority Executive Director and Douglas County Community Strategic Plan Pillar Leader. “Strong, sustainable businesses are the driver for a successful community and we are excited to offer a program that will help entrepreneurs and Douglas County for many years to come.”
“If you look beyond Silicon Valley and New York, there are countless communities that are full of talented entrepreneurs, but they lack the organized community support they need to thrive,” said Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Founder. “CO.STARTERS provides a structure for these communities to achieve their economic growth goals and gives them an easy way build the connections they are already trying to grow.”
Applications are available on the Chamber website and are due by September 14th. For more information on CO.STARTERS, visit costarters.co. To learn about CO.STARTERS in Douglas County or to apply, visit www.douglascountygeorgia.com.
About Douglas UnitE3
Douglas UnitE3 was formed as a part of the Douglas County Community Strategic Plan. The plan came to fruition through a group of community leaders, citizens, and members of the business community. The process began over two years ago when this group visited Franklin, Tennessee seeking inspiration and observing best practices of the thriving community. The group came together to form Douglas UnitE3 whose purpose is to help citizens envision, engage and energize growth in Douglas County. Douglas UnitE3 is led by Co-Chairs, Gary Miller, CEO of GreyStone Power Corporation, and Ana-Elis Perry, Douglas County resident and community volunteer.
Other organizations involved with Douglas UnitE3 include: City of Douglasville, Douglas County Government, Douglas County Chamber, Douglas County Economic Development Authority, Douglas County School System, Douglasville-Douglas County Water & Sewer Authority, Foxhall Resort, Georgia Power Company, HRC Engineers, Surveyors & Landscape Architects, Hartley Rowe & Fowler, Servis1st Bank and WellStar Douglas Hospital.
CO.STARTERS equips local leaders, problem solvers, and unconventional starters with the best tools and resources needed to accelerate culture and empower communities. They help communities build vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystems in three ways. First, they connect community leaders with one another to collaboratively solve problems and identify solutions, thus exponentially increasing their effectiveness. Second, they connect communities with proven models and tools. By partnering with the most innovative leaders in the nation, CO.STARTERS curates the best tools for startup communities and connects leaders to them to better serve the specific needs of their communities. Third, they develop their own programs and tools to address gaps in entrepreneurial ecosystems and help communities better support their entrepreneurs, such as the flagship nine-week offering.