CO.STARTERS

CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center is a nine-week business development program that helps aspiring entrepreneurs put ideas into action, and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving small business.

Participants will be accepted on a rolling application basis for our upcoming cohorts.

2020 Fargo Course Schedule

  • Applications Closed: Winter Course: Every Tuesday, January 14th – March 10th, 6-9pm
  • Applications Open: Spring Course: Every Tuesday, March 24th – May 19th, 6-9pm
  • Applications Open: Summer Course: Every Tuesday, May 26th – July 21th, 6-9pm

All courses take place at the Prairie Den at 122 1/2 Broadway, Fargo

Course Details

CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center lasts nine weeks, meeting one evening a week for three hours. Facilitators include educators and active entrepreneurs, and guest speakers include specialists and professionals from Fargo’s leading marketing, branding, legal and finance firms and agencies, as well as local entrepreneurs.

Pricing

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.

CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center
  • 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.
  • How does it work?
    CO.STARTERS walks small business owners through effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, and with the help of a supportive community. Rather than treating a startup like a large corporation, 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 business based on incorrect assumptions.
  • 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 businesses 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.

Curriculum

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

Why CO.STARTERS at The Nice Center?

 

  • APPROACHABLE
    Uses simple, easy to understand language and addresses the full spectrum of adult learning styles.
  • PRACTICAL
    Offers a tangible process for identifying, testing and adapting business assumptions to create a viable startup, and provides practical steps to launch, rather than theoretical concepts.
  • COLLABORATIVE
    Brings people together to learn from one another, creating a strong network of support for startups.
  • COMMUNITY CENTERED
    Helps you and your business benefit from our welcoming community of creative entrepreneurs.
  • CUSTOMER FOCUSED
    Assumes customers should be the primary concern in every aspect of creating a business.
  • INCLUSIVE
    Helps shape passions into viable and sustainable business models, whether you're a graphic designer, a jewelry maker or the next next big software success story.

OUR PAST FACILITATORS

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

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.

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.

 

Questions? Contact Dane at dane.m.johnson@ndsu.edu