Earlier this year, the Douglas County Chamber, in partnership with the Douglas County Economic Development Authority, Douglas UnitE3 , BB&T, and Mercer University launched CO.STARTERS, a new program for entrepreneurs and start-up companies. Nine locals participated in the inaugural program and were recognized at a community celebration held on December 5th.
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. 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 were encouraged to build and test small models first. In the process, participants received real-time customer feedback, updated 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.
CO.STARTERS is offered as part of the Build Business Success Pillar of the new community strategic plan for Douglas County that was unveiled earlier this year. 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.
“This inaugural CO.STARTERS opportunity was timed perfectly. I have learned relevant business strategies and met new and inspiring members of my community. My biggest takeaway is the importance of using proven processes and resources to analyze my business idea and the ordered steps to take in reaching the starting line!” commented Gail Moore, class participant.
Chamber President and CEO, Sara Ray, commented, “The first CO.STARTERS cohort was a wonderful partnership not only for the participants, but for our community as well. I look forward to the impact that the graduates will make in Douglas as we strive to cultivate knowledgeable, resourceful and respected entrepreneurs that will be in our community for many years!”
2018 CO.STARTERS Participants:
Joe Bedsole, Sabrina Callaway, Carol Chateau, Kevin Cummings, Gail Moore, Deyanna Respress, LeVern Sanford, Michael Shepherd, and Eric Wynn.
For more information on CO.STARTERS, visit costarters.co. To learn about CO.STARTERS in Douglas County or to apply, visit www.douglascountygeorgia.com.