CO.STARTERS is a program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn their business ideas into action. Unlike traditional platforms, it applies the lean business model methods popular with high-growth startups to businesses of all kinds. Learn the ins and outs of how to turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving small business.

In addition to our 10-week version, we are piloting a new model that transforms the original 8 weeks of the curriculum into 3 four-week modules.

Join us for a panel of CO.STARTERS graduates and Create Birmingham staff as we discuss the journey of starting, growing, and sustaining a business in the City of Birmingham. We want you to GET TO KNOW US!



Are you an entrepreneur? A small business owner? An artist? An activist? If you have an idea that is ready to be explored, or if you have already started your business and you’re searching for clarity in marketing and a fuller understanding of running a successful venture, CO.STARTERS is for YOU. The one essential element is that you have a concept that you are ready and willing to share and grow in a collaborative environment.

Get to know some of our CO.STARTERS Graduates!



The cost ranges between $275 and $575 and is dependant on your combined household income and total household members. The $125 materials fee is required to reserve your seat. Each cohort meets once a week, for three hours. Financial assistance and payment plans are available. Additionally, the city of Birmingham has made an investment in you and your community providing $100 scholarships to residents and business owners in the Pratt/Ensley and North Birmingham communities.
There is a non-refundable $25 application fee that is applied to the program fee. This payment must be received before your application is accepted.


CO.STARTERS is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded people. Led by a facilitator who is an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll identify your assumptions about why and how your businesses will work and then talk to customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly. You’ll leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate your model, and repeat the process with your next great idea. In addition, participants receive one-on-one time with the facilitators, support from CREATE Birmingham Staff during and post-graduation, membership in the alumni network, and access to the CO.STARTERS Funds and Loan Program as well as CO.SHOP + CO.WORK. We love the collaborative nature of CO.STARTERS. You will be learning from each other and encouraging each other, truly building a network that will help your ideas grow in the program and beyond. We believe by making the concepts and language easy to understand, we will help starters focus on the practical steps to launch, moving them quickly toward their goals.

If you want to get a short taste of what CO.STARTERS is, check out our Get Started Workshop.


Each cohort meets once a week for three hours.

WINTER 2020 Cohort
January 27, 2020 – April 6, 2020
10-week Version (plus Celebration night)
Apply here

SPRING 2020 Cohort
April 13, 2020 – June 29, 2020 (skipping a week for Memorial Day)
10-week Version (plus Celebration night)
Apply here

FALL 2020 Cohort
September 14, 2020 – November 23, 2020
10-week Version (plus Celebration night)
Apply here


Special thanks to Forge Coworking
for hosting the 10-week curriculum
and to Create Birmingham’s investors for supporting CO.STARTERS.

Our expansion of the CO.STARTERS program is made possible in large part thanks to a Building Opportunities for Lasting Development (BOLD) grant from the City of Birmingham’s Department of Innovation and Economic Opportunity.