Blue North brings startup accelerator Co.Starters to NKY

Blue North, Northern Kentucky's entrepreneurship hub, is bringing a new Co.Starters business startup program to the region beginning in late July.

Blue North is collaborating with Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) to bring the program to Kentucky.

Co.Starters helps entrepreneurs develop their ideas, examine their business models, and determine the next steps in the small-business journey. It does so through real-time feedback from business leaders.

SOAR, based in Pikeville, Ky., is a non-profit organization works to improve and champion Appalachia Kentucky by expanding job creation, enhancing regional opportunity, innovation, and identity, and supporting those people and organizations working to achieve these goals.

The new program will connect business owners in Northern Kentucky with those in Appalachia, says Ryan Jones, director of SOAR Innovation.
Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Co.Starters was launched nationally in 2013, brought to Kentucky in 2019 by SOAR, then expanded into Northern Kentucky by Blue North and the Owen County Chamber of Commerce in 2020.

Co.Starters has served more than 3,000 small-business owners and entrepreneurs around the world, building a community of peers, coaches, and business services. Last year, Blue North’s inaugural Northern Kentucky cohort graduated six small businesses from the program.

"It provides an opportunity to receive guidance, feedback, and resources from business leaders to elevate and accelerate the start-up process,” says Abby Ober, program director at Blue North.

Session topics include goal setting, knowing your customer, marketing, accounting, and team building.

Applications for the 10-week program are available online to residents of Kentucky or those who have businesses in the Commonwealth. The application deadline is July 1 and the program fee is $75. The program will be conducted virtually.

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