CO.STARTERS: Small Business Program Seeks Entrepreneurs

Wheeling Heritage and Regional Economic Development Partnership (RED) are now accepting applications for the second session of CO.STARTERS, a program for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The program equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

Those who are interested in starting a business or want to expand a current business can apply at The cost to participate, including materials, is $200. The program will meet every Thursday evening for nine weeks, beginning Sept. 13 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Orrick, 2121 Main St., Wheeling. Applications are due Aug. 31.

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.

Twelve entrepreneurs completed the first CO.STARTERS session earlier this year.

“From a hair salon to a distillery to a repair company, these entrepreneurs were all skilled in their craft. However, business ownership was new to them. This program helped them learn all the ins and outs of running a business in a fun, approachable way,” said Alex Weld, program and outreach manager for Wheeling Heritage.

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Wheeling Heritage and RED will continue to accept applications until Aug. 31 or until 16 people sign up.

“The small size of the group really helps to make this feel less like a classroom and more like a group of like-minded people learning together,” said Valerie Piko of RED.

To learn more about the program and to sign up, 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.