CO.STARTERS Program Invites Entrepreneurs to Turn Ideas into Action

Wheeling Heritage, in partnership with The Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED), is excited to announce that applications are now open for the upcoming cohort of CO.STARTERS, a ten-week program tailored for both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. This program provides valuable insights, crucial connections, and practical tools to transform business concepts into reality.

For those with dreams of launching a new venture or looking to expand an existing one, the opportunity awaits at The program is designed to convene once a week over a ten-week period from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wheeling Artisan Center. The upcoming cohort is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, Oct. 5, with applications closing on Sept. 22.

Participation in this program, including all necessary materials, is available at a fee of $200, with flexible payment options available upon request.

Valerie Piko, Program Development Manager at RED, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We’ve seen tremendous success with this program in the past and I am excited to be able to offer it again. The graduates from this program have the tools necessary to turn their dream into reality. We also strive for this program to serve as a resource for existing business owners who feel stuck. No matter how long you’ve been in business, sometimes it’s important to step back and take some time to work on your business, rather than in your business.”

Alex Panas, Program Manager at Wheeling Heritage, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing, “CO.STARTERS works so well because it helps current or aspiring entrepreneurs get the skills they need to get started, and also provides them with a network of people who can help them succeed. We’ve seen several CO.STARTERS graduates go on to grow their businesses and become staples in our community, and I’m excited to see another group of entrepreneurs take advantage of this opportunity.”

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Based on the insights of accomplished entrepreneurs and seasoned start-up veterans from across the globe, CO.STARTERS guides creative small-business owners through lean, effective business modeling techniques in a straightforward and intuitive manner, all within a supportive community. Instead of approaching a start-up with the complexity of a large corporation and crafting an extensive business plan, CO.STARTERS encourages participants to build and test small-scale models initially. Throughout this process, entrepreneurs receive real-time feedback from customers, refine their models to align with customer needs, and steer clear of forming businesses founded on misguided assumptions.

To date, over 75 entrepreneurs have successfully completed the CO.STARTERS program, each embarking on their unique business journey with varying levels of prior experience or training. RED and Wheeling Heritage will be accepting applications until Sept. 22, or until a maximum of 12 participants are enrolled.

For further information about the program and to enroll, please visit

About Wheeling Heritage:

Wheeling Heritage is a catalyst for the revitalization of Wheeling. Through historic preservation, community development, and the arts, we help to tell Wheeling’s story and shape its future. We seek to improve the quality of life in Wheeling by preserving and investing in our city, collaborating with others, and engaging the citizens of Wheeling in our work.

About RED:
Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) is a private, nonprofit development corporation that serves Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel Counties in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, with emphasis on creating jobs and stimulating the local economy through assisting with local business expansion, recruiting new business investment, and encouraging small business development through entrepreneurial activity.  RED also is active in the SBA 504 program and offers financial assistance through various state and local loan programs.  RED was established as Ohio Valley Industrial Corporation in 1926, and incorporated as OVIBDC in 1961.