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2019 IMPACT

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF PEOPLE AND PLACE THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP


POSSIBLE starts with

PURPOSE CO.STARTERS BEGAN AS AN IDEA TO SOLVE A PROBLEM ON A MAIN STREET, IN A MID-SIZED CITY. We didn’t know—when we came together as a small band of misfits, makers, artisans, and artists—that our local efforts would spark a movement. We didn’t know that movement would spread to more than 200 communities. We didn’t know the transformative community we were building together would reach the hands and hearts of more than 12,000 starters. We were focused on the challenge in front of us—finding real solutions for the people and places that we knew— and our inkling that there had to be a better way. While trying and learning and growing, we caught a glimmer of something bigger. We saw the potential to

2008

2013

2015

2016

Early efforts begin with starters in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

CO.STARTERS brand and core program are launched.

CO.STARTERS expands internationally to New Zealand.

CO.STARTERS becomes an independent forprofit company.


costarters.co/story

change the future—to build, not only better businesses and better economies, but healthier lives in the process. To reach a different possible. We believe it is possible to build businesses of passion and profit without sacrificing your soul. We believe it is possible to grow local economies from the ground up, with grassroots leadership, personal investment, and community support. We believe we can redefine what success looks like—personally and professionally. We believe business can be an act of service and the foundation for thriving communities. Reflecting on the past year, we are awed to see, over and over in different CO.STARTERS communities, this pattern of change emerging. To see what began as an inkling echoing in different expressions across our network of member communities. To see true transformation happening in people as well as places and perceptions. From the beginning, we believed it was possible to create a better future, a better way. The following pages highlight just a few of the many ways we are finding that possible. –Enoch and the CO.STARTERS Team

200+ 12,000+ communities served

starters supported


COMMUNITIES NEED STARTERS. WHAT IS A STARTER? We use the term “starter� to cross boundaries from the self-employed, to small businesses, to startups. We believe that entrepreneurship should be accessible to everyone. Anyone who has the passion to turn an idea into a product or service is an entrepreneur!

Top challenges faced by community leaders in supporting entrepreneurs:

funding

1

capacity

proven tools

SBA, www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/advocacy/Frequently-

Asked-Questions-Small-Business-2018.pdf, (August 2018)

2

community change

defining success

American Express Shop Small Campaign, about.

americanexpress.com/press-release/another-reason-to-shopsmall-on-small-business-saturday (November 13, 2018)


POSSIBILITY PURPOSE

We believe that healthy starters and healthy businesses are the foundation of a thriving community. Success looks different for every community. We work with local leaders to identify the best strategies, provide proven tools, and equip them to build pipelines of support for entrepreneurs. Our process focuses on unearthing the potential that already exists and supporting local grassroots investment to make change happen.

We help community leaders tap into the value of starters:

NOW OPEN

66%

67¢

of all new jobs are created by small businesses.1

For every $1 spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community.2

93% of members viewed CO.STARTERS as important to their strategy for fulfilling their mission

costarters.co/stages


STARTERS NEED COMMUNITY. Top reasons starters fail:3

3

42%

no market need

29%

ran out of cash

23%

not the right team

19%

get outcompeted

18%

pricing/cost issues

17%

poor product offering

17%

lack a business model

14%

poor marketing

14%

ignore customers

11%

lose focus

CBInsights, www.cbinsights.com/research/startup-failure-reasons-top/, (November 6, 2019)


PURPOSE

Studies show that half of all new ventures fail within the first five years, and entrepreneurs are among those at the highest risk of burnout. CO.STARTERS prepares starters for long-term success by connecting them with knowledge, confidence, and relationships. We focus not only on the “what” and “how” of starting a business, but also on the “why” and “whether.” Our programs emphasize starting small, talking to customers from the beginning, and building a community of support as you grow.

The CO.STARTERS approach increases the likelihood of starter success:

29% of participants change their venture in some way in response to customer feedback and program learnings

87%

of participants have goals or written plans for their venture

89%

of participants know what to do next with their venture

80%

of participants develop valuable relationships and connections through the program


IN 2019

starters supported

2400+

210

440+

leaders trained

builders equipped


Thriving

PEOPLE We see individuals turning their passions into fruitful endeavors.


IN 2019

2400+

Starting her own business and being a part of the program not only gave Javela control over her income but helped her personal growth.

starters supported

45% earn less than $50k

21%

69% 39% 34% people of color

INCREASED KNOWLEDGE

93%

increase in starters who had written goals or plans for their venture

age 45+

INCREASED CONFIDENCE

INCREASED CONNECTEDNESS

87%

57% increase in

increase in starters feeling confident about how to make a venture work

starters feeling connected and supported by their local community

“You find value in what you already know, what you can share with everyone, and what others can share with you.� JAVELA SINGLETON

Photo: Village Launch

female

earn less than $20k


PEOPLE

JAVELA SINGLETON //GREENEVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA Founder, Gifted Hands Artisan Soap Supported by Village Launch

STARTERS who are confident, connected, and know their next step.


Lisa’s first-hand experience as a creative business founder and her insight as a local leader helped prepare her for the nurturing role of a CO.STARTERS Facilitator.

costarters.co/canvas

WHAT MAKES A GOOD FACILITATOR? Rather than recruiting teachers or business experts as program facilitators, we look for experienced entrepreneurs who can empathize with and guide starters through their journey.

IN 2019

210 90% of trainees would recommend CO.STARTERS

141 facilitators certified

“For me it’s really helpful to be able to tell the people in the CO.STARTERS program that I am doing all of the work alongside them. I started small and am still figuring this stuff out.” LISA GARNER

Photo: Lisa Garner

community leaders trained


PEOPLE LISA GARNER // JACKSON, TENNESSEE Owner/Designer/Maker at Garner Blue CO.STARTERS Graduate & CO.STARTERS Facilitator Executive Director at theCO.

LEADERS who are equipped and empowered to better serve their communities.


costarters.co/community-roles COMMUNITY ROLES IN ECOSYSTEM BUILDING

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What’s your ecosystem building superpower?

Sammy (pictured with his wife Loretta) has a passion for inspiring youth through entrepreneurship. He has used the CO.STARTERS Generator program to reach hundreds of teens across multiple communities.

WHAT IS AN ECOSYSTEM BUILDER? An “ecosystem builder” is anyone who works to build, grow, and nurture an entrepreneurial community and culture. Builders have a variety of skillsets and fill many roles.

IN 2019

186 82% of members think of community when they think of CO.STARTERS

255 explorers introduced to ecosystem building through workshops

“I knew that if we could just reach the youth in the community, then we could reach the parents too. That’s how you transform a place.” SAMMY ORTIZ

Photo: Sammy Ortiz

builders supported through membership


PEOPLE

SAMMY ORTIZ // DADE CITY, FLORIDA Founder, Young Entrepreneurial Students (Y.E.S.) CO.STARTERS Trainer & CO.STARTERS Facilitator Storyteller & Gate Opener

BUILDERS who are united in using their unique voice to bring together a shared vision.


IN 2019

communities served

132

93% of members viewed CO.STARTERS as important to their strategy for fulfilling their mission.

11 countries reached


PLACES

Thriving

PLACES We see communities creating better versions of themselves.


IN 2019

65 CO.STARTERS program graduates

40 Get Started workshop participants MEMBER SINCE 2014

Create Birmingham is the must-

Since adding CO.STARTERS

know organization for creatives

to their program offerings,

and entrepreneurs in the greater

Create Birmingham has been

Birmingham area. They saw a

imagining new ways to serve

serious need to redefine support

the starters they support. They

for creatives in their community

started a microlending service

and took the task upon

and provide 60 percent of

themselves. If you can imagine it,

their graduates with financial

Create Birmingham can help get

assistance. They also subsidize

you there.

a coworking space and manage a retail space for makers and

“CO.STARTERS is an invaluable cornerstone of our work with aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs. We couldn't do what we do without the curriculum and the collaboration with the CO.STARTERS team.� Create Birmingham CEO Buddy Palmer with graduate Dre Foster and Director of Programs Jessica Moody.

Photos: Create Birmingham

artists to sell their creations.


PLACES PLACE

IMAGINATIVE Create Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama pop. 211,000

240 concepts have gone through CO.STARTERS 68% of graduates are female


IN 2019

15 CO.STARTERS program graduates Up to $160,000 in total sales MEMBER SINCE 2018

Renaissance is coming to

for the community-supported

a growing Appalachian

Show of Hands crowd-funding

community, thanks in large part

event, as well as bringing

to Wheeling Heritage. They’ve

CO.STARTERS to Wheeling to

leveraged local, state and federal

provide entrepreneurs with a

incentives to help community

place to start.

buildings and jumpstart excitement about small-town business.

Because of their work, Wheeling has cut its building vacancy rate in half over the past four years. In 2019, Main Street

Wheeling Heritage, in

America awarded them the Great

collaboration with RED, has

American Main Street Award in

provided the momentum behind

recognition of their progress.

several local efforts, including public art, a Brew-off designed to showcase beer and brewing history in Wheeling, and holiday craft shows. They are responsible

Alex Weld (second from left) presents a Show of Hands award to a winning entrepreneur.

“Before, we were working on a caseby-case basis to help entrepreneurs, but we knew we could do more. Now we have CO.STARTERS!”

Photos: Wheeling Heritage

members rehabilitate historic


PLACES PLACE

RESILIENT Wheeling Heritage Wheeling, West Virginia pop. 30,000

50% reduced building vacancy rate 2019 Great American Main Street Award winner


IN 2019

31 CO.STARTERS program graduates 105th CO.STARTERS participant MEMBER SINCE 2017

Located in the heart of the

Commons on Champa are as

mile-high city, The Commons on

diverse as their entrepreneurs.

Champa offers a full pipeline of programs and services designed

This year they celebrated their

to serve the underserved

105th entrepreneur to join the

populations of Denver.

CO.STARTERS program. To The Commons have launched

Champa’s starters represent

81 businesses, created 160

underserved communities,

new jobs, and secured funding,

including women, people of

contracts and downtown

color, veterans, LBGTQ, and

business locations to grow their

economically disadvantaged

businesses.

communities. From mail slot insulators to an app that monitors breast health, the ventures supported by The

“CO.STARTERS gives credibility to our programs and allows us to complete our mission.” A CO.STARTERS cohort meets at the Commons on Champa.

Photos: Commons on Champa

date CO.STARTERS alumni from 70% of The Commons on


PLACES PLACE

VIBRANT Commons on Champa Denver, Colorado

81 new businesses launched

pop. 620,000

160 new jobs created


IN 2019, WE ...

Launched INTERSECTIONS, a Medium publication dedicated to connecting the voices and perspectives of people doing the work of entrepreneurial ecosystem building. Supported the AARP Foundation in strengthening their Work for Yourself @50+ workshop and program delivery model to ready it to scale. Collaborated with the Kauffman Foundation at the ESHIP Summit to release a prototype of a resource discovery platform, the Ecosystem Building Marketplace MVP. Partnered with InBIA, McClure Placemaking’s Alchemy Communities and the USDA, to bring CO.STARTERS to rural and under-recognized communities. Announced partnerships with BrightBridge, Proximity, Startup Space, and Venturize to provide funding and technology solutions for our members. Contributed to 22 events for ecosystem builders across the US through keynote speaking, workshop facilitation, hosting family dinners, and co-organizing. Played a catalyst role in establishing the RuralRISE network and refocused our commitment to supporting rural communities on the local level. Held our 5th CO.STARTERS Summit to celebrate five years of growth and announce our vision for 2020 and beyond. Refined our DISCO core values and enlisted trusted advisors to help our leadership team prepare for greater impact in the years ahead.


PRACTICE

Learning by

PRACTICE We see collaboration, with all its challenges, as essential to growth. As a company, this year we explored ways to grow our network to make our vision possible. Some of these experiments were more successful than others, but all provided valuable learnings. At the end of the day, our greatest realization is that all these activities point us back to our roots: helping local communities solve problems.

.


STARTERS

69%

34%

39%

female

age 45+

people of color

2400+ RESULTS

starters supported

earn less than $50k

21%

earn less than $20k

CO.STARTERS program participants experienced a 129% increase in confidence in what to do next with their ventures.

INCREASED KNOWLEDGE

93%

increase in starters who had written goals or plans for their venture BIZ STAGE

45%

INCREASED CONFIDENCE

INCREASED CONNECTEDNESS

87%

57% increase in

increase in starters feeling confident about how to make a venture work

39% COMING SOON

are at concept stage

129%

starters feeling connected and supported by their local community

79% NOW OPEN

are at concept or operating stage

WAYS STARTERS GIVE BACK

Other

48% 41% 40% 25% 18%

volunteer donate to community org

BIZ TYPE

Health &

Wellness Creative

Retail

Other

Food/

Restaurant/ Beverage

serve as a guest speaker mentor sponsor an event

THE CO.STARTERS GUARANTEE: “Know

61%

of starters plan to primarily serve their local community

your next step.”


2019 IMPACT SUMMARY

130+

440+

210

communities served

builders equipped

leaders trained

RESOURCES

COMMUNITY CONTEXT

NETWORK

Learn more at costarters.co

Rural Urban Int’l. Youth

11

Causes

countries reached

600+ curated resources

14 proven tools

16 partner collaborations

Spanish

22 events supported MEMBER TYPES

Creative Enterprises

Innovation Hubs, Incubators & Accelerators Coworking Spaces

Small Business Support Orgs Schools, Colleges & Universities

Downtown Development Orgs

© Copyright 2020 CO.STARTERS


Learn more at costarters.co ©2020 CO.STARTERS

Profile for CO.STARTERS

CO.STARTERS 2019 Impact  

POSSIBLE: A look at how the CO.STARTERS network is unlocking the potential of people and places through entrepreneurship.

CO.STARTERS 2019 Impact  

POSSIBLE: A look at how the CO.STARTERS network is unlocking the potential of people and places through entrepreneurship.