Becoming self-aware is a first step in becoming entrepreneurial.

CO.STARTERS Week 1: Aspiring Entrepreneurs Move Ideas into Action

The Nice Center hosts CO.STARTERS Fargo, as it launches its first cohort of 2020


This week, the Nice Center launched an entrepreneurship training program called CO.STARTERS. Our Winter 2020 cohort has nine entrepreneurs from a range of age and industry backgrounds, with our youngest participants in their 20s and our oldest in their 60s. But one thing they share in common is a motivation to push their ideas forward.


Entrepreneurship training can take many forms, but CO.STARTERS’ coursework helps participants progress in a way that is fluid and incremental.

During week one, we looked at our own lives before diving into our business ideas. And we considered our daily schedules in light of the demands of starting a new business. Through self-reflective exercises, we began the process of business-building from a grounded perspective.

Incrementally, the CO.STARTERS program helps build out our ideas from a place of self-awareness.

CO.Starters ND


Our facilitators love entrepreneurship and have a heart to support others. We are grateful for the facilitators leading our first cohort.

Entrepreneurship champion

Elizabeth Phares-Oren

Elizabeth currently works as an education professional, project manager, and consultant. In 5th grade, her science teacher shared this quote from the famous physicist and chemist Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” Since then, Elizabeth’s passion for learning, and helping others to learn, stems from this quote. Her commitment to helping others thrive is evidenced by her commuting to Fargo from Wahpeton each week to lead CO.STARTERS. Elizabeth is driven by the belief that developing your community is just as important as developing your career.

Entrepreneurship champion

Ole Rygg

Ole (pronounced “ooh-lah”) brings 20 years of experience as an organization development professional, mediator, facilitator and executive coach for leaders and organizations in the US and Europe.

Ole has a broad background from telecom, banking/wealth management, healthcare, wholesale, manufacturing, distribution and more. Throughout his career his focus has been on developing effective leaders, cohesive teams and healthy organizational cultures.


Next, our cohort will focus on:

  • Identifying the problem, the solution, and the benefit your business provides
  • Identifying your customer
  • Looking at the competition and the advantage you have over it
  • Understanding brand identity

We will also have a very special guest speaker, Patrick Mineer, founder of Golden Path Solutions, an early stage company offering an innovative, scalable solution that gives high school students great insight into their skills and ideal career paths, and gives employers a way to connect with raw talent and build their ideal workforce for the future.


Though our Winter Cohort is off and running, we are accepting applicants for our Spring and Summer Cohorts on a rolling basis. Apply here.

Posted on January 20th, 2020 by Dane Johnson in Resources