CO.STARTERS at The Skillery 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.
THINKING OF STARTING A BUSINESS? The Skillery can help! Though we don't currently have any CO.STARTERS sessions scheduled, please join us for Introduction to Entrepreneurship, a one-day workshop for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What is CO.STARTERS?
CO.STARTERS 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.
Applications are accepted at any time for upcoming sessions. Our next session has not yet been announced.
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: having a business idea you're ready, willing and excited to share and work on; and 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 small business, we'd love to hear from you.
How does it work?
Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and startup veterans from around the globe, CO.STARTERS walks creative 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 and writing a detailed business plan, 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 businesses based on incorrect assumptions.
What to Expect
During CO.STARTERS at The Skillery, you're not being lectured. This is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded entrepreneurs, led by a facilitator who'll introduce concepts and help you immediately put them to work. We'll discuss concepts, problems and solutions during class; you'll apply them to your project or business during the week; and we'll review and fine-tune together, so we're all shaping toward success. You'll leave the program with a deep understanding of how to create a viable business, and how to repeat that process with your next great idea.
About the curriculum.
During CO.STARTERS at The Skillery, 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
Since CO.STARTERS at The Skillery’s launch in 2014, 53 entrepreneurs have graduated from the program. Many have gone on to launch successful businesses, from brick-and-mortar shops to food tours, and earn local and regional press praise for their success.
Uses simple, easy to understand language and addresses the full spectrum of learning styles.
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.
Brings people together to learn from one another, creating a strong network of support for startups.
Helps you and your business benefit from our welcoming community of creative entrepreneurs.
Assumes customers should be the primary concern in every aspect of creating a business.
Helps shape passions into viable and sustainable business models, whether you're a graphic designer, a jewelry maker or the next big software success story.
CO.STARTERS at The Skillery 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 Nashville’s leading marketing, branding, legal and finance firms and agencies, as well as local entrepreneurs.
The total course fee for our CO.STARTERS General Session is $1075, which includes course materials, office hours with the course facilitator to address your business development needs, and access to community events, networking opportunities and small business resources. All class participants will receive a three-month Full Time Membership to The Skillery, including discounts on classes and workshops, access to our coworking space, and discounts with partner businesses in Nashville.
Dates for our next session have not yet been announced.
The class will be held at The Skillery, 1323 6th Avenue North, in Germantown.
Whether you’re an owner of an existing business, or you are simply exploring a start-up concept, you are welcome to apply! You will need a well-articulated description of the product or service you offer (or plan on offering) and a description of your consumer, client, or target audience.
We're looking for entrepreneurs that represent a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds, in order to establish a cohort that incorporates both established businesses and startup concepts. We screen our applicants, and space is limited.
We occasionally offer a free, one-hour information session about CO.STARTERS at The Skillery. This information session is optional, and is intended for potential applicants who have questions about the program. We do not currently have an information session scheduled, but please check back for details.
Deposit & Registration
There is no application fee. If accepted into the program, a 50% deposit will be required immediately to reserve your seat. This deposit applies toward the course fee and is non-refundable. The balance of the registration fee will be due 14 days prior to the start of the course.
CO.STARTERS applications are accepted at any time. If you are accepted into the program, you'll be given an option to cite your preference for an upcoming session, based on availability. Space is extremely limited for each session, and spots are first-come, first-served.