LAND O’ LAKES, FLORIDA (October 5, 2015)—Eleven Pasco County business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs shared their plans for launching or expanding new companies during a two-hour business plan “pitch” event in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. The event, hosted by the Pasco Economic Development Council at the Copperstone Executive Suites, marked the final project for the inaugural class of the nationally-renowned CO.STARTERS program in Pasco County.
Over the course of two-hours, the CO.STARTERS graduates presented a variety of businesses ranging from technology and marketing firms to cognitive therapy services. It even included the launch of a new lifestyle brand. Each business owner was given three minutes to present an “elevator speech” along with supporting information to demonstrate the viability of their business plans. Members of the audience, which included the public, were encouraged to ask questions of each entrepreneur.
One small business owner, Jennifer Koenen of Encompass Business Services, was skeptical of CO.STARTERS when she first registered but, by the end, was excited about what the program had helped her accomplish. “I was at a plateau with my business when I began the program nine weeks ago,” she said. “CO.STARTERS gave me the opportunity to break through and identify a new set of services that I can offer, getting me back on the path to grow my business.”
Christine Schneider, another of the entrepreneurs in attendance, noted during her presentation that CO.STARTERS helped her realize that she was not yet ready to launch her new property management business, but the course had given her a strong foundation for when she was ready.
“This is exactly why we brought CO.STARTERS to Pasco County as part of our entrepreneurship initiatives,” said John Hagen, President/CEO of Pasco Economic Development Council. “This program gives small business owners the tools they need to successfully start a business and helps them grow over the long-term, or allows them to identify areas that need work, so they don’t launch a business before its time.”
The eleven graduates participating in the Summer 2015 CO.STARTERS pitch event included:
- Robin Buggs—Brain Fitness 4.0, an adult memory center helping to reduce cognitive decline in those with brain impairments. (www.brainfitness4-0.com)
- Suzanne Fulford—Dixie Belle Paint Company, introducing a new line of affordable chalk mineral paint into the marketplace (www.dixiebellepaint.com)
- Thomas Giella—Techsoft Academy, online website design training for small-business owners and students, focusing on WordPress. (www.techsoftacademy.com)
- Jennifer Koenen—Encompass Business Services, providing “boutique” accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll services for small- to mid-sized businesses. (www.encompass-qb.com)
- Jenni Mullins—Moxie Digital, a digital marketing company (www.themoxiedigital.com)
- Buck Rollings—Omega Tree & Nursery, adding wood debris recycling and organic soil production to their current service offerings. (www.omegatreestampabay.com)
- Troy Alverez—Friday 5:01 PM, a lifestyle brand
- Debbie Hylton—Pupils With Purpose, a service that connects career consultants with teens to help them find the right career fit and educational path.
- Bethanie Nonami—Memento, an online service allowing those with chronic conditions to record life memories, photos, and stories to pass on to friends and family if they should pass away.
- Christine Schneider—Property management services
- Lenora & Mark Stokes—Think Before You Act, an advocacy program to help people understand how the choices they make impact the world.
Two additional graduates of the program, who were not in attendance at the pitch event were:
- Kristi Nelson—Current Life Coaching, Inc.
- John Vogel—Environmental services firm
The next session of CO.STARTERS begins Monday, October 12 at the SMARTstart New Port Richey Business Incubator. Interested entrepreneurs and anyone with a great business idea can view the dates and locations of 2016 sessions at the SMARTstart Pasco Business Incubators website.
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About Pasco Economic Development Council
Pasco EDC is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in Pasco County, Florida. Pasco EDC continues to be a strong partnership funded by corporate and public investors focused on the economic vitality of Pasco County. www.pascoedc.com
CO.STARTERS came out of The Company Lab, a Chattanooga, Tennessee, organization that offers programs and events to support local startups and innovators in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. The program takes the lessons learned from working with thousands of local, creative entrepreneurs and combines that knowledge with the lean business modeling methods used by high-growth startups. The CO.STARTERS model has been tested for years in Chattanooga, Cincinnati, and Detroit. www.costarters.co