Startup Virginia to launch nine week business model validation lab April 11th

Startup Virginia to launch nine week business model validation lab April 11th

Do you have an idea for a business? Want to find out whether it can scale? A new nine week program could help you test the waters.

Photo: Larkin Garbee

Startup Virginia, a nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs start, build, and cultivate high growth ventures through education, mentorship, and access to capital, will soon take their mission further with the launch of a nine week business validation lab.

The organization will soon offer CO.STARTERS, a nationally-renowned platform that helps communities grow startups. The program aims to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn business ideas into action. It all kicks off April 11th.

The brainchild of The Company Lab, a Chattanooga, Tennessee organization that offers programs and events to support local startups and innovators, CO.STARTERS acts as a catalyst for a healthy entrepreneurial community, taking the lessons learned from working with thousands of local creative entrepreneurs and combining that knowledge with lean business modeling methods used by high-growth startups to help ensure success. The model has been tested and launched in over 60 emerging startup cities including Chattanooga, Cincinnati, and Detroit since launching in 2013.

“We are bringing the CO.STARTERS curriculum to Richmond to help fill the education gap for startup founders with scalable ideas in Virginia,” said Larkin Garbee, co founder of business incubator The Annex and the program. “We are excited about the impact of programs like Lighthouse Labs (a similar business accelerator program Garbee helps run at VCU), and we envision this program as a stepping stone to the accelerator process. Each year, Lighthouse Labs has more than 100 applicants for approximately 6 spots so there is clearly more demand than what Richmond’s programs are able to fulfill.”

“Our recent pilot for this type of program was Unreasonable Lab VA, a one-week intensive bootcamp for early-stage founders who wanted to validate their business models,” CO.STARTERS co-founder Anika Horn said. “We want to test a different model–nine weeks and entrepreneur-led–to see what the best fit is for early-stage startups in the greater Richmond area.”

CO.STARTERS Virginia is accepting applications for budding entrepreneurs who have an idea that has potential to scale. Applications close Sunday, March 19th.

To learn more or apply to take part in the lab, visit the Startup Virginia website.



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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.