New Entrepreneurship Program Gets Going March 20 in Wheeling

Wheeling Heritage and the Regional Economic Development Partnership are bringing CO.STARTERS, a program for entrepreneurs and small business owners, to Wheeling.

The program will meet from 5:30-8:30 p.m. every Tuesday for nine weeks, beginning March 20, at the Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe Global Operations Center, 2121 Main St. Applications are due before the end of the day Tuesday.

Those who have a project idea or want to expand a current business can apply at costarters. The cost includes materials.

The program equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. 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 making decisions on creating new businesses based on inaccurate assumptions.

“We hear from a lot of entrepreneurs that they have an idea to either start or expand a business, but they aren’t sure where to start. We want to provide resources and help them make connections, so entrepreneurship can continue to grow in Wheeling,” Alex Weld, program and outreach manager for Wheeling Heritage, said.

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. This program aims to narrow that gap.

“Small businesses help to create the culture of our community,” Valerie Piko, small business coordinator for the Regional Economic Development Partnership, said.