Do you have a business idea? Get started with CO.STARTERS™

CO.STARTERS™ is a nine-week cohort based program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving endeavor. Everything you need to get started. With community support.

For people who want to: 
- launch or are planning to launch a new product or a service 
- be part of a structured, in person, program to support their first steps into starting a business
- learn while developing their own business idea 
- access the people and resource to help their idea fly

Ready to join in? 
You can apply here now
Sign up for the next cohort starting March 10 2020 here


Tools, methodologies and coaching in a series of 9 three-hour workshops.

Workshops run for 3 hours once a week for nine weeks.

You get to apply what you have learned in between workshops.

How does it work?

Collaborative Cohort:

Groups of 10-16 entrepreneurs meet together for nine weeks, meeting one evening a week for three hours, led by a facilitator.  You identify the assumptions you are making about why and how your business will work, and then talk with customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to uncover any flaws rapidly and find viable models more quickly.

Facilitator Led:
CO.STARTERS™ facilitators are experienced business owners from the community who guide participants through the program by asking the right questions, drawing on the knowledge in the room, and using available resources and connections in the community to point participants in the right direction. 

Inspiring Stories:
In addition to exploring different topics each week, guest speakers are also brought in weekly to enrich the conversation and help participants learn from the experience of others in the community who have built businesses before

What will I learn?

The 9-week program covers the following topics and how they apply to your business

WEEK 1: Knowing Yourself 
Assumptions, Canvas, Working styles, Team building, Obstacles.

WEEK 2: Knowing Your Customer Customer
Problem, Alternatives, Solution, Benefit, Advantage

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, Legal considerations

WEEK 6: Discovering Your Bottom Line
Startup & ongoing needs, Fixed & variable costs, Breaking even

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: Celebration Night/Sharing Your Story

How will it help me?

It will help you to:

• focus on & understand your customer 

• clearly separate assumptions from facts (something investors want to hear!)

• gather evidence to support claims 

• move quickly and validate your idea or ‘fail fast' and move on to a better idea.

Who is it for? 

People who want to get an idea our their head and test it ahead of launching it as a business. 

Who is it not for? 

People who:

• want others to do the work for them

• are not willing to share their ideas, findings, results and learn in a group

• do not like feedback or alternate views

• are not flexible, willing to iterate on their ideas based on evidence and feedback.

What is it? 

It’s NOT a course with lectures, course notes and a certificate of completion (or endurance!).

CO.STARTERS™ is a hands on – together we will work on your idea, mentor you and coach you along the way, and you’ll receive access to world class tools and methodologies you can re-use even after our workshop has ended.

You will get the most out of the CO.STARTERS™ by taking the tools and methods and using them for yourself, working on your idea.

You’ll gain experience (much more useful than a piece of paper with a pretty crest on it!), confidence and potentially customers in the process! And a supportive network of mentors and facilitators!

Will my idea be protected?

Workshops run under ‘Chatham house rules’ so no one will explicitly share exactly what your ideas is, however the proven successful methodology you’ll learn requires you go out and speak to people about your idea to ‘validate’ it before wasting money, time and effort building something people don’t want.

What can I expect from CO.STARTERS™ after the 9-week period?

The outcome of the workshop series will depend on your willingness to drive your idea using the tools, resources, information, concepts, and people you’ve been connected to.

Conditions to be accepted into a workshop group

Commit to attend all of the sessions in person

Refund Policy

Plans change. We get it. But if you can't make it for the whole workshop series, please email us at least 7 days before the scheduled event date.
No refunds will be given after this time. 
You will be charged for the course materials and admin fees (NZ$200.00) if you cancel after the first session.

Why is Venture Centre offering CO.STARTERS™?

• To increase the quality of new enterprises launched in Tauranga 

• To improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural success of the Bay of Plenty – because entrepreneurs with good ideas are the only ones who can make this success happen!

• To increase the quantity of opportunities for the biggest group of Angel Investors in New Zealand (Enterprise Angels, right here in the Bay of Plenty!) to invest in local people

• To deliver a first-hand experience of what being an entrepreneur is all about, which will push you out of your comfort zone, move you forward and open up a world of new opportunities!

• CO.STARTERS™ Business Launching Program now operate at over 50 sites in the US and New Zealand, have produced 3000+ graduates and trained 300+ community leaders


Instigator is a curated suite of programmes, events, and workshops designed by Venture Centre to support the digital and entrepreneurial capability of individuals and their communities. It exists to inspire and equip them with the skills, tools, mindset and connections they need to build impactful ventures and prosper.


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