CO.STARTERS is a ten-week cohort-based program that equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action.

UIS students interested in earning an elective credit as a participant in the CO.STARTERS program this fall should contact Rob Weis in the Office of Engaged Learning for details at

CO.STARTERS Philosophy

Invest in individuals. 

We believe that people are what really matter, more than the ideas they bring to the program. Regardless of what stage you're at in launching your business, CO.STARTERS will help you find the best way to pursue your dream.

Community first. 

We believe that individuals thrive in the context of community. CO.STARTERS is about bringing people together to learn from one another in order to create a strong network of support for starters.

Keep it simple. 

We believe that by making concepts and language easy to understand, we will help starters focus on the practical steps to launch, moving them quickly toward their goals.

Ideal CO.STARTERS Participant

The only prerequisites to participate in CO.STARTERS are:

  • Having an idea.
  • Being willing to question, shape and fine-tune that idea.
  • Being willing to talk about the idea with others in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment.

What Participants Get

  • A deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, i.e. a process for figuring out whether or not an idea is good and how to change it to make it work.
  • The ability to better articulate how their businesses work.
  • Defined next steps needed to move forward.
  • A community of peers and support.

We will be announcing the start date for our Fall 2023 cohort soon. Please email
with any questions 


  • Sessions run on Wednesday evenings from 5:30pm-8:30pm
  • Fall 2023 session dates TBD
Week 1Knowing Yourself
Week 2Knowing Your Customer
Week 3Finding the Right Solution
Week 4Getting the Relationship Right
Week 5Building the Model to Scale
Week 6Structure and Systems
Week 7Discovering the Bottom Line
Week 8Financial Modeling
Week 9Planning For Growth
Week 10Celebration Night

The Fine Print


Completing an application does not guarantee participation in the program. Applications will be scored and those accepted to the cohort will be notified no later than one week prior to the start date.


CO.STARTERS is free to Innovate Springfield members who complete the program and $225 to non-members. Innovate Springfield members who fail to complete the full 9-week program will be charged $225 for the cost of materials.