Start-ups create the most net new jobs. Small businesses remain to be a fundamental economic driver for local economies and job creation, but smaller-scale startups don’t receive the same level of support as their high-growth counterparts. CO.STARTERS narrows that gap.
CO.STARTERS helps people that have an idea to figure out whether or not it is feasible. The 9-week experience teaches the mechanics of vetting an idea and then launching a business or new line of business. Once someone goes through the program, they’ll be better prepared to take advantage of all of the services that exist to help them here in Erie County and northwest PA. Participants also will have grown their network of contacts and peers to work with. Entrepreneurs that experience CO.STARTERS are typically more successful in businesses than those who have not.
Over nine weeks, participants join a like-minded group of entrepreneurs and community leaders to discover a proven method for evaluating opportunities. The curriculum of CO.STARTERS includes: personal and professional development to prepare you for launching a new venture, a basic understanding of financial accounting and legal structures (e.g. what is the break-even point of a new business), and an introduction to building relationships with customers and other key stakeholders.

More importantly, CO.STARTERS is a fun way to engage other early-stage business owners and learn from the community’s collective experience in a supportive environment.

CO.STARTERS is a 100% volunteer driven initiative. There are some small costs associated with launching CO.STARTERS in Erie. Some of these costs have been covered through donations by partners including Erie Arts and Culture, Tech Tank, Bridgeway Capital, Innovation Collaborative, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the Erie County Public Library, and the Erie County Public Library Foundation.

Our goal is to address an important early stage gap in entrepreneurial support that will help better prepare early stage entrepreneurs to utilize economic development resources throughout the community.

CO.STARTERS better prepares entrepreneurs to utilize resources in Erie’s entrepreneurial ecosystem related to capital, mentorship, and consulting. Partners are rowing in the same direction with the aim of providing a continuous pipeline of support to entrepreneurs looking to build and grow new businesses in our region.
There is a small cost associated with completing CO.STARTERS. Currently, the introductory price is $250, which covers materials. CO.STARTERS utilizes a curriculum that has been deployed in 100 communities across the United States. The fee only goes to materials, food and beverages, and other small administrative costs associated with each session.

Currently, facilitators are not being paid to delivery CO.STARTERS. Facilitators and partners are volunteering time to deliver CO.STARTERS to the Erie community.

With that being said, CO.STARTERS can’t guarantee entrepreneurial success, fame, fortune, or riches. However, we believe you’ll leave the program with supportive relationships and a clear understanding of how to evaluate the potential of launching a new business and how to access additional entrepreneurial resources in our community.

The CO.STARTERS program can help anyone exploring a new idea or passion, someone close to starting up, or even an experienced business owner looking to grow, expand, or implement a new idea/program/product.  The skills, insights, and relationships learned and built over the 9 weeks will become invaluable tools for present and future business ownership, product management, or social entrepreneurship.



Tech Professional



Business Owners

Community Leaders

Hear more about CO.STARTERS

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