start something.



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.

NEW FALL 2021 >> 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 rweis4@uis.edu.
CO.STARTERS Philosophy
Invest 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 best candidate for CO.STARTERS is either someone with a new idea for a business, or an existing business looking to become more sustainable, launch a new product or service, or scale. The only prerequisites are:

  1. Having an idea.

  2. Being willing to question, shape and fine-tune that idea.

  3. Being willing to talk about the idea with others in a supportive, collaborative, and welcoming environment.

What Do Participants Get?


  1. 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.

  2. The ability to better articulate how their businesses work.

  3. Defined next steps needed to move forward.

  4. A community of peers and support.

the application period is now open for our Spring 2022 cohort, which is scheduled to run February 16, 2022 - April 20, 2022.



sessions run on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 PM-8:30 PM


Week 1

knowing yourself


Week 2

knowing your customer


Week 3

finding the right solution


Week 4

getting the relationship right


Week 5

building the model to scale


Week 6

structure and systems


Week 7

discovering the bottom line


Week 8

financial modeling


Week 9

planning for growth


Week 10

celebration night

the fine print.
Participation >> 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.
Cost >> 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.

Interested in membership with Innovate Springfield? Click HERE to apply.


meet the CO.STARTERS.