LAUNCH HARRISONBURG  – Powered by CO.STARTERS is a ten-week program that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action and turn a passion into a sustainable and thriving business. CO.STARTERS is the premier national model that powers vibrant communities by equipping starters and leaders with the strategy, tools, and relationships needed to thrive. Learn about the CO.STARTERS model with this video.

Our first LAUNCH HARRISONBURG cohort launched in December 2019. Fourteen entrepreneurs came together to learn and grow over the 10-week period. Five successive LAUNCH cohorts have taught prospective entrepreneurs how to plan, launch and grow their businesses….all from other successful entrepreneurs.

Applications are now closed. Stay tuned for details on our next cohort in late fall 2024.


Who Is It For?

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or a seasoned entrepreneur looking to launch a new product or service, LAUNCH HARRISONBURG – Powered by CO.STARTERS is for you. The only real prerequisites are:   (1) Having an idea you’re ready, willing, and excited to share and pursue

(2) A commitment to show up each week with 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 business, we want you.

What To Expect?

LAUNCH HARRISONBURG is an action-driven, collaborative process with a small and supportive group of like-minded people. Led by two facilitators who are experienced entrepreneurs, you’ll identify your assumptions about why and how your businesses will work and then talk to customers in order to validate your ideas. This approach enables you to rapidly uncover flaws in your concept and find viable models more quickly. You’ll leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate your model, and repeat the process with your next great idea.

Your Facilitators

Headshot of Nick Koger

Nick Koger is the Community Outreach Manager at Shenandoah Community Capital Fund (SCCF) where he builds new relationships with entrepreneurs unaware of SCCF’s services, identifies potential contacts for SCCF to engage with, and helps cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in the Shenandoah Valley.

Nick employs scrappy entrepreneurship that relies on innovative strategies to launch businesses at low or no cost generating value for businesses, consumers, and our local community. He is passionate about micro-entrepreneurship, serving others, and building with kindness. He prioritizes people over profits, community over competition, and affordability over affluence.

Over the years, Nick has been instrumental in launching businesses, including a Web Design Agency, Mobile App Startup, and a Farmers Market delivery service. He graduated from Bridgewater College with a Master’s Degree in Digital Media Strategies in 2019 and lives in Bridgewater, Virginia with his wife and son.

Nick is a certified CO.STARTERS facilitator.

Headshot of Chris Ashley

Chris Ashley is a solutions-oriented, creative entrepreneur from Goochland, VA.  He graduated from JMU in 2017 with a BBA in Economics, and decided Harrisonburg would be the best place to start his businesses.

Immediately after college, Chris co-founded a company with fellow JMU alumni to design and build large format industrial 3D printers to be used in industrial prototyping capacities.  While pursuing this project, Chris also started a second company, Collegiate Customs, printing custom t-shirts and other gear for fraternities, sororities, and other college organizations.

Over the following 4 years, Collegiate Customs has expanded to schools up and down the east coast, and is fully licensed with national Greek organizations and various NCAA schools.  In that same time period, Chris and his team pivoted the 3D printing business- rebranding as Vulcan Machine Co, and shifting into the CNC Milling space.  The Vulcan Machine Co team has designed and built 3 generations of their compact, cast-iron precision CNC Mill, and is currently in the Beta phase with 10 initial customers who are helping to test and debug the system.

Chris is a certified CO.STARTERS facilitator.

Cohort Curriculum

During LAUNCH HARRISONBURG, you’ll develop and fine-tune your idea, critically examining every part of it and tweaking your next steps through real-time feedback from people in the community. Over the ten weeks, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • Week 1 – April 30: Knowing Yourself (Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles)
  • Week 2 – May 8: Knowing Your Customer (Problem, Solution, Benefit, Competition, Advantage, Customer)
  • Week 3 – May 15: Finding the Right Solution (Benefit, Advantage, Starting Small, Branding)
  • Week 4 – May 22: Getting the Relationship Right (Marketing & Messaging, Getting, keeping and growing customers)
  • Week 5 – May 29: Building Blocks (Starting Small, Distribution, Revenue, Typical Sale, Price)
  • Week 6 – June 5: Structures and Systems (Legal and Accounting)
  • Week 7 – June 12: Discovering the Bottom Line (Startup Needs, Fixed and Variable Costs, Break-Even Point)
  • Week 8 – June 19: Financial Modeling (Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow)
  • Week 9 – June 26: Planning for Growth (Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Celebration Prep)
  • Week 10 – July 3: Cohort Celebration and Pitch Night/Sharing Your Story

Course Details

In General

LAUNCH HARRISONBURG – Powered by CO.STARTERS lasts ten weeks, meeting one weeknight a week. LAUNCH is led by two proven and successful entrepreneurs. So you will be learning from those that have been there, done that! The cohort will also feature guest speakers providing guidance on marketing, accounting, incorporating and more.


LAUNCH HARRISONBURG’s total course fee is $225 for city residents and $325 for non-city residents. The course fee includes all of your course materials.

Program Dates

The cohort begins on Tuesday, April 30th from 6:00 – 9:00pm. After that, weeks 2 through 10 will meet on Wednesday evenings from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.


The Perch at Magpie – 85 W. Gay Street, Suite B, Harrisonburg


Application Guidelines

Whether you just have an idea, have been working on a business concept for a while or are an owner of an existing business, we encourage you to apply. Residents and businesses inside and outside of Harrisonburg are welcomed 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.  Participants must be at least 18 years old. This is a competitive application process, as space in the cohort is limited.

Deposit & Registration

Payment of the course fee is required before the first session. A payment plan is available. Once the cohort begins, payment is non-refundable.

Deadline to Apply

April 15, 2024