Stay tuned for the announcement about our next LAUNCH HARRISONBURG cohort coming in summer/fall 2021

LAUNCH HARRISONBURG  – Powered by CO.STARTERS is a nine-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 all about the CO.STARTERS model at

Our first LAUNCH HARRISONBURG cohort in winter 2019/2020 was a huge success! Fourteen entrepreneurs came together to learn and grow over the 9-week period.

Our second LAUNCH HARRISONBURG cohort has now ended. The virtual cohort met from October – December, 2020. 

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 and (2) 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 a facilitator who is an experienced entrepreneur, 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.


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 nine weeks, we’ll cover the following topics.

  • Week 1, October 20: Knowing Yourself (Assumptions, Working Styles, Team Building, Obstacles)
  • Week 2, October 27: Knowing Your Customer (Problem, Solution, Benefit, Competition, Advantage, Customer)
  • Week 3, November 3: Getting the Relationship Right (Marketing & Message; Getting, Keeping & Growing Customers)
  • Week 4, November 10: Building the Model to Scale (Starting Small, Distribution, Revenue, Typical Sale, Price)
  • Week 5, November 17: Strengthening Your Structure (Business Structures, Licenses, IP, Hiring)
  • Week 6, December 1: Discovering the Bottom Line (Startup & Ongoing Needs, Fixed & Variable Costs, Break-Even Point)
  • Week 7, December 8: Accounting for Growth (Break-Even Point, Sales Projections, Cash Flow, Accounting)
  • Week 8, December 15: Planning for the Future (Raising Capital, Growth Plans, Goal Setting, Pitch Prep)
  • Week 9, January 5: Cohort Celebration and Pitch Night/Sharing Your Story

Course Details

In General

LAUNCH HARRISONBURG – Powered by CO.STARTERS lasts nine weeks, meeting one evening a week for three hours. We are thrilled to have two dynamic facilitators: Nick Swartz, Associate Dean, Professional & Continuing Education at James Madison University, and Chris Ashley, co-founder of Collegiate Customs. Nick and Chris will be your guides on your entrepreneurial journey. The cohort will also feature guest speakers providing guidance on marketing, accounting, incorporating and more.


The total course fee for residents and businesses located in the city of Harrisonburg is $100. The fee for non city residents and businesses is $175. The course fee includes all of your course materials. To assist interested parties, we do offer a payment plan.

Program Dates

The first cohort will begin on October 20th, 2020 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The classes will occur for 3 hours on each successive Tuesday evening for 9 weeks total (the cohort will not meet the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas).


LAUNCH HARRISONBURG will be held virtually via the Zoom platform.


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.  This is a competitive application process, as space in the cohort is limited.

Deposit & Registration

There is no application fee. If accepted into the program, a 50% deposit will be required immediately to reserve your seat. The balance of the registration fee will be due five (5) days prior to the start of the course. To assist interested participants, we do offer a payment plan. The initial deposit and payments are non-refundable.


The deadline to submit your application to LAUNCH HARRISONBURG is Monday, October 5. Again, this is a competitive selection process. Applicants accepted into the program will be notified on October 7.