NDSU’s entrepreneurship hub, The Nice Center, invites aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their idea
If you find yourself teetering on the brink of an entrepreneurial endeavor, but could benefit from a supportive nudge in the right direction, we’ve got a resource for you.
CO.STARTERS is a nine-week, cohort-based program that equips budding entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action. Participants enter into a facilitator-led, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of 10-15 like-minded peers. Over the nine weeks, they develop and fine-tune their ideas using the CO.STARTERS Canvas, critically examining every part and determining next steps through real-time feedback from people in the community. Participants leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable venture, articulate their models, and repeat the process with the next great idea.
WHO’S IT FOR?
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service, CO.STARTERS is for you. The only real prerequisites are (1) having an idea you’re ready, willing, and excited to share and pursue and (2) a willingness to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment. If you’re creative and community-minded, and you’re serious about turning your passion into a sustainable business, we want you.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center, you are not being lectured. This is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded people. Led by a facilitator who is an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll identify your assumptions about why and how your business will work and then talk to customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly. You’ll leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate your model, and repeat the process with your next great idea.
Over nine weeks, you’ll identify your assumptions about why and how your business will work and then talk to customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly. You’ll leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate your model, and repeat the process with your next great idea. If this sounds helpful to you, then you should apply to join our next cohort.
CURRICULUM TOPICS BY WEEK:
During CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center, you’ll develop and fine-tune your business idea, building models based on your assumptions, tweaking your next steps through real-time customer feedback, learning valuable management and marketing skills and receiving constructive feedback from advisers, peers and local businesses. By honing your business and updating your approach based on real feedback and customer demand, you’ll gain the skills you need to develop a viable business model.
- Week 1: Knowing Yourself (Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles)
- Week 2: Knowing Your Customer (Problem, Solution, Benefit, Competition, Advantage, Customer)
- Week 3: Getting the Relationship Right (Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers)
- Week 4: Building the Model to Scale (Starting Small, Distribution, Revenue, Typical Sale, Price)
- Week 5: Strengthening Your Structure (Business Structures, Licenses, IP, Hiring)
- Week 6: Discovering the Bottom Line (Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Event Point)
- Week 7: Accounting for Growth (Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Accounting)
- Week 8: Planning for the Future (Raising Capital, Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Pitch Prep)
- Week 9: Sharing your Story
The total course fee for our CO.STARTERS General Session is $200, which includes:
- course materials
- professional course facilitator with office hours to address your business development needs
- access to a list of members of the business community who are ready to meet with students
- small business resources
- discounted membership at the Prairie Den Coworking during the course
A limited number of scholarships, particularly for students, may be available for each cohort dependent on need.
HEAR FROM CO.STARTERS ALUMNI
2019 FARGO COURSE SCHEDULE
Winter Course: Every Monday, January 14th – March 9th, 6-9pm
All courses take place at the Prairie Den at 122 1/2 Broadway, Fargo
Participants will be accepted on a rolling application basis for our next cohort, which will start on January 13th and continue weekly from 6-9pm for nine weeks.