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CO.STARTERS, an internationally renowned platform that helps communities grow local business, is making its way to Jackson, Mississippi. The nine-week program, set to kickoff May 2017, will equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, education, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

The CO.STARTERS program has been adopted by more than fifty entrepreneurial organizations in cities around the country, including Birmingham, Chattanooga and Nashville. In Jackson, CO.STARTERS will be implemented and facilitated by Coalesce, Innovate Mississippi, and various other local and regional partners.

CO.STARTERS began at The Company Lab, a Chattanooga-based organization that offers programs and events to support local startups and innovators, acting as a catalyst for a healthy entrepreneurial community. CO.STARTERS takes the lessons learned from working with thousands of local creative entrepreneurs and combines that knowledge with the lean business modeling methods used by high-growth startups. The CO.STARTERS model has been tested for years in Chattanooga, Cincinnati, and Detroit, and is now helping other emerging startup communities across the nation.

“Bringing CO.STARTERS to Jackson has been a long term goal for the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Jackson. In analyzing the needs of the central Mississippi ecosystem and comparing programs that have worked in similarly situated cities, CO.STARTERS was a natural fit,” said David Pharr, one of the community organizers.

“We believe CO.STARTERS squarely fits within the mission and purpose of Innovate Mississippi. It provides a practical, yet comprehensive toolset that could help bridge the foundational education gap in our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Tasha Bibb of Innovate Mississippi.

Small business remains one of the fundamental economic drivers for local economies and job creation, but startups and emerging companies have not received the same level of support as their larger-scale counterparts. CO.STARTERS aims to narrow that gap.

“If you look beyond Silicon Valley and New York, there are countless communities that are full of talented entrepreneurs, but they lack the organized community support they need to thrive,” said Enoch Elwell, CO.STARTERS Director. “CO.STARTERS provides a structure for these communities to achieve their economic growth goals and gives them an easy way build the connections they are already trying to grow.”

“Jackson, and Mississippi for that matter, is ready for a crowdsourced education platform for entrepreneurs led by entrepreneurs. CO.STARTERS is unique in Jackson because it is an internationally proven product that will be led by people that have actual experience starting, advising, and mentoring start ups and small business owners,” said Matthew McLaughlin of Coalesce. “Providing our local entrepreneurs with a channel to tap into the widespread reach and resources of CO.STARTERS will give them a competitive advantage in launching their ventures here.”

For more information on CO.STARTERS, visit To learn about CO.STARTERS in Jackson, visit

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