RED Launches CO.STARTERS Program for Entrepreneurs

The Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) will soon offer CO.STARTERS Core, a 10-session, cohort-based program that equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. 

Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and startup veterans from around the globe, CO.STARTERS walks creative small business owners through lean, effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, while connecting them to a supportive community of peers and mentors. Rather than treating a venture 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.

The CO.STARTERS program has a global reach, serving more than 200 communities across the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. 

The ten-week CO.STARTERS program will kick off on September 29 and continue to meet on Thursday evenings. 

“We’ve seen tremendous success with this program in the past and I am excited to be able to offer it again. It’s never easy to start a new business, especially in our current economy. 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,” said Valerie Piko, Program Development Manager at RED.

The Fall 2021 CO.STARTERS cohort met both virtually and in-person.

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

Subscribe to Weelunk

“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 Founder. “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.”

So far, more than 60 entrepreneurs have completed the CO.STARTERS program in Wheeling. Every entrepreneur was in a different stage of the business creation process. Many had no business training or experience. 

RED will continue to accept applications until the first 15 people sign up. To learn more about the program and to sign up, visit

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 was established as Ohio Valley Industrial Corporation in 1926, and incorporated as OVIBDC in 1961.


CO.STARTERS helps individuals and communities thrive through entrepreneurship by equipping them with strategy, tools, and relationships. Building on initial grassroots efforts with small business starters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the CO.STARTERS network now has an international reach with thousands participating in its programs annually. Since 2008, CO.STARTERS has equipped more than 690 local leaders across 200+ communities, helping more than 12,000 starters move forward with their ventures. The hallmarks of the CO.STARTERS approach to entrepreneur support are investment in the individual, peer learning in a community context, and simple and relatable tools. From the beginning, CO.STARTERS has pioneered a community-based approach to economic development, and has played a leading national role in increasing small business success and growing entrepreneurial ecosystems.