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Collider Brings CO.STARTERS Program to Rochester

Collider is bringing a new avenue for founder education to Rochester.

Collider is expanding on its mission to connect and empower early-stage founders with the introduction of the CO.STARTERS program.

"We saw a major gap in the Rochester community where a lot of people have ideas that could be businesses," Collider Executive Director Amanda Leightner said. "However, there's no easily accessible program in place for them to build a skill set that will give them the best chance to make that idea a reality. Plus, we wanted a program where starters, people who are looking to go from ideas to action, learn best from other starters, people who are just a few steps ahead on their own business journey. We've built our own programs over the years but were still looking for something that was just right for this community."

CO.STARTERS began in Chattanooga, Tenn., and has grown into a program with thousands of participating each year. Looking to give early-stage founders the tools they need to take an idea to execution, Collider will introduce CO.STARTERS Core, a 10-week, cohort-based program. Requisites for participants are pretty simple:

  • You need an idea
  • You need "an openness to question, shape, and fine-tune that idea
  • You need a willingness to talk about your idea with others

During the in-person experience (the program will take place at Collider in Rochester), a group of 10-15 participants will work through 10 weeks of programming that includes education on brand building, financial issues, team building challenges, and a more (check out the full details below). Focusing on realtime peer feedback, Collider says the concept allows for rapid progress toward a viable concept. 

The first CO.STARTERS Core program will kick off on July 5, 2022. If you're interested in participating, registration is open ($150 per person). Collider Foundation is also offering a limited number of scholarships available for those who qualify. You can contact Collider for more information. 

If you're not quite ready to commit to a 10-week program, Collider is offering another option — Get Started: A CO.STARTERS Workshop (coming in June). The three-hour program "helps starters work together to explore their ideas through the CO.STARTERS Canvas, learn how to refine their models through meaningful customer feedback, and define next steps." 

"I've seen the amazing work that CO.STARTERS can do in my hometown of New Kensington, Pa., in re-vitalizing downtowns and turning ideas into sustainable businesses in a community," Leightner said. "CO.STARTERS makes the concept of starting a business extremely accessible. The program never uses business jargon, and even rarely uses the phrase 'entrepreneur.' CO.STARTERS simplifies the process of starting a business and brings the community into the process as well."

CO.STARTERS Core Schedule:

Week 1: Knowing Yourself: Introduction, Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles

Week 2: Knowing your Customer: Customer, Problem, Alternatives, Idea Testing

Week 3: Finding the Right Solution: Solution, Benefit, Advantage, Starting Small, Brand Identity

Week 4: Getting the Relationship Right: Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping, & Growing Customers

Week 5: Building Blocks: Distribution, Revenue, Typical Offering, Price

Week 6: Structures & Systems: Legal & Accounting Considerations

Week 7: Discovering the Bottom Line: Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point

Week 8: Financial Modeling: Break-Even Points, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Raising Capital

Week 9: Planning for Growth: Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Celebration Prep

Week 10: Celebration!

Alex Skjong
Alex oversees the content produced for BETA, Twin Cities Startup Week, and When he’s not writing or editing, there’s a good chance he’s enjoying a refreshing brew and explaining the merits of heavy metal (of which there are many).