In this episode, Dane has an in-depth conversation with Jose Alfaro, CEO of CO.STARTERS, a dynamic entrepreneurial accelerator program designed to equip creative entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and support to turn their passion into a profitable business.
Jose shared the inspiring journey of CO.STARTERS, from its beginnings in Chattanooga, Tennessee, inspired by a desire to revitalize the city and attract major corporations like Volkswagen, to its current global reach spanning over 210 cities across 24 states and multiple countries. The program, which started under a non-profit initiative, went private in 2016, broadening its horizons and allowing it to have a significant impact on a global scale.
Throughout the episode, Jose emphasized the unique approach of the CO.STARTERS program. Instead of adopting a traditional teaching methodology, CO.STARTERS is built around facilitation, with the program directors guiding participants towards their customers to validate their business ideas. This innovative approach has resulted in not only robust business formation but also organic collaborations and mergers among the participants.
Key to the CO.STARTERS model is their focus on building community. Participants are grouped into cohorts of 10 to 16 people, fostering an environment of peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and cooperation. Jose shared fascinating anecdotes of how this peer interaction has led to the formation of successful businesses and collaborations.
The conversation also delved into the curriculum of the program, which has been designed to simplify complex business concepts and make them accessible to creative entrepreneurs who might not have a traditional business background. Beyond the curriculum, the program also serves as a front door to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting graduates to a variety of resources, from the SBA to different accelerators and pitch competitions.
Jose Alfaro's passion for supporting creative entrepreneurs was evident throughout the conversation. If you're interested in the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship, or if you're a part of a community that could benefit from a program like CO.STARTERS, this episode is not to be missed.
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