Montevallo Main Street hosts Co.Starters

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

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By SASHA JOHNS | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – Montevallo Main Street is hosting a three-month series of collaborative learning sessions for entrepreneurs that will be facilitated through the Co.Starters program this fall.

This peer-driven program was created with an end game in mind that will equip budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge they need to take their idea and not just see it to fruition, but also make sure it has a stable start and will be around long term.

Herman Lehman, Main Street Board member and business owner himself, spearheaded the idea to bring Co-Starters to Montevallo. The Main Street organization had noticed that sometimes new businesses would end up closing due to being underprepared. The idea is to give potential investors in new businesses the ability to get their ducks in a row before they go through with investment so they will be more successful. While the city hopes to see the benefits of the program in its own area, the program has also been promoted countywide.

“We believe a rising tide lifts all boats,” Main Street Executive Director Courtney Bennet said, “so, strengthening our local business community is going to be beneficial to Main Street no matter what.”

The plan is to offer the program twice a year, and currently, interested parties can join this inaugural series for $99.

“We’d love to see some of our empty storefronts filled, and our hope is that one of the graduates would invest in a storefront in Montevallo,” she said.

The sessions will happen every Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. starting Tuesday, Sept. 13 for nine weeks at the Michael E. Stephens Business School at the University of Montevallo.

Each week the group will have a special guest who will be able to speak on a specific topic designed to get budding business owners to dig deeper into what their business will need to be successful. With topics like “Planning for Financial Growth,” “Discovering the Bottom Line” and “Getting the Relationship Right,” as well as an atmosphere that creates an opportunity for discussion and critique among peers, the program hopes to lead to positive growth in the area.

The guest speakers for each week are local business owners that have practical experience in each topic that will be presented each week. This will give the participants access to people who have already been where they are now. These speakers include Susan Leman of Keller Williams and John Wolsoncroft of Fastest Labs of South Birmingham to name a couple.

The facilitator for the course is Montevallo Main Street member and local Maggie Hall. She herself is a local business owner and a financial planner, and because of her experience and her love of her community, she is equipped to lead these discussions each week.

The course will host up to 10 participants in this session; currently, six spots are still open. To learn more visit or visit the Montevallo Main Street Facebook page and go to events.