Knoxville Area Urban League


Knoxville Area Urban League



Co Starters 2




Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and start-up veterans from around the globe, CO.STARTERS walks creative small-business owners through lean, effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, and with the help of a supportive community.

Rather than treating a start-up like a large corporation and writing a detailed business plan, CO.STARTERS participants are encouraged to build and test small models first. In the process, participants receive real-time customer feedback, update their models to meet customer needs and avoid creating businesses based on incorrect assumptions.

Who’s it For?

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service, CO.STARTERS is for you. The only real prerequisites are: having a business idea you’re ready, willing and excited to share and work on; and a willingness to study, shape and fine-tune that idea in a supportive, collaborative and welcoming environment. If you’re creative and community-minded, and you’re serious about turning your passion into a sustainable small business, we’re looking for you.

What to Expect

During CO.STARTERS at the Knoxville Area Urban League, you’re not being lectured. This is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded entrepreneurs, led by a facilitator who’ll introduce concepts and help you immediately put them to work. We’ll discuss concepts, problems and solutions during class; you’ll apply them to your project or business during the week; and we’ll review and fine-tune together, so we’re all shaping toward success. You’ll leave the program with a deep understanding of how to create a viable business, and how to repeat that process with your next great idea.



Inspired by The Business Model Canvas, the CO.STARTERS Canvas provides an intuitive visual map to help participants understand, organize and test their business ideas.


During CO.STARTERS at the Knoxville Area Urban League, you’ll develop and fine-tune your business idea, building models based on your assumptions, tweaking your next steps through real-time customer feedback, learning valuable management and marketing skills and receiving constructive feedback from advisers, peers and local businesses. By honing your business and updating your approach based on real feedback and customer demand, you’ll gain the skills you need to develop a viable business model.

  • Week 1: Knowing Yourself (Assumptions, Working Styles, Team                            Building, Obstacles)
  • Week 2: Knowing Your Customer (Problem, Solution, Benefit,                                Competition, Advantage, Customer)
  • 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,                                  Licenses, IP, Hiring)
  • Week 6: Discovering the Bottom Line (Startup & Ongoing Needs,                           Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Event Point)
  • 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: Sharing your Story
  • Week 10: Business Plan


CO.STARTERS at the Knoxville Area Urban League lasts ten weeks meeting one Saturday a week for three hours. Facilitators include educators and active entrepreneurs, and guest speakers include specialists and professionals from Knoxville’s leading marketing, branding, legal and finance firms and agencies, as well as local entrepreneurs.


The total course fee is $200 which is equal to $20/week.  The course includes proprietary curriculum materials, office hours with the course facilitator to address your business development needs, networking opportunities, business plan assistance and other small business resources.

Program Length & Dates

Our 10-week CO.STARTERS class sessions meets:
Annually in the Spring and Fall. March-May and September-November on Saturdays from 9 am – noon. 


Knoxville Area Urban League
1514 E. Fifth Ave
Knoxville, TN 37917



Application Guidelines

Whether you’re an owner of an existing business, or you are simply exploring a start-up concept, you are welcome to apply! You will need a well-articulated description of the product or service you offer (or plan on offering) and a description of your consumer, client, or target audience.

We’re looking for entrepreneurs that represent a diverse range of sectors and backgrounds, in order to establish a cohort that incorporates both established businesses and start-up concepts. We screen our applicants, and space is limited.

Deposit & Registration

There is no application fee. If accepted into the program, a 50% deposit will be required immediately to guarantee your seat and pay for your curriculum binder. This deposit applies toward the course fee and is non-refundable. The balance of the course fee will be due 30 days after class start date.

Application Deadline

Online application and payment are due 10 days prior to the start of Spring and Fall classes:  Every year classes start 1st Saturday in March and 1st Saturday after Labor Day in September 

Apply and submit payment below. Reference CO.STARTERS in the payment memo!


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