You have a business idea? We have Co.Starters®

You have a business idea? We have Co.Starters®
By Justin Aufdermauer

There are a lot of sayings that regularly make me cringe, but not many more than “Someone needs to start a [fill in the blank] in town” or “We don’t need [this], we need [that].” Listen, this isn’t Sim City and capable entrepreneurs are a unique piece of the population. We need more entrepreneurs who have solid plans, access to capital, and the grit to tackle the risks of entrepreneurship.

Most often as a membership organization our efforts are focused on supporting existing businesses. However, last week we took a step toward begining to build entrepreneurs by hosting a Co.Starters Boot Camp. This was a two-day workshop chock full of curriculum to help aspiring entrepreneurs fine-tune their plan and determine the best way to move forward. This Bootcamp was only the third one hosted nationwide and is somewhat of a precursor for their full, 10-session Co.Starters Core program. At Boot Camp, six local aspiring entrepreneurs had what may be the most hand on and collaborative workshop I have witnessed. Attendees left inspired, and with a path to navigate many of the questions for their business ideas that remain unanswered; I look forward to seeing their progress through the built-in follow up over the next ninety days.

Co.Starters,® a national program brought to Oregon by Reinventing Rural and the Foundry Initiative, takes you from business idea to accessing  capital. The full 10-session course is a step-by-step process for testing your idea, then developing a business and financial plan. Once the program is completed, participants can qualify for a crowd-sourced, interest-free KIVA loan. What your plan raises on KIVA can be matched 3X by a community fund from Umpqua Bank – also interest free.

We are excited to work with Reinventing Rural, The Foundry Initiative, and Tillamook Coast Visitors Association to take additional steps towards building entrepreneurs by bringing Co.Starters Core to Tillamook in mid-January.

There is no fee to participate in this first cohort, however space is extremely limited and may be competitive. Those with interest can begin the selection process at