Today, our team at Zeal is excited to publicly announce the participants of our first CO.STARTERS cohort. 

We announced the program in November after months of strategic planning and research. We’ve already put so much hard work into CO.STARTERS, and as the applications started rolling in, we were thrilled to see a diverse range of people and business ideas coming forward.

Ultimately, we received 30 applications which were narrowed down to 15—always a challenge when faced with excellent prospects. The program isn’t limited to any one type of venture, and we hope that the range of businesses represented in our first cohort will present insight and learning opportunities for all involved. 

Our first session will kick off next week on Tuesday, January 12. Participants will meet weekly via Zoom with our facilitator, Eric Weisser of Weisser Distributing. They will also receive Q&A time with local entrepreneurs, as well as support from our staff both during and after the program. 

It is our hope that participants will graduate from the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business. We’re so excited to see how these entrepreneurs will be challenged and developed through this inaugural program.

Meet the first cohort!

A few of our participants have chosen to remain anonymous or refrain from sharing their business’ name for the time being. Check out the list below to see our group of participants and ventures. 

  • Walter Portz – Helen’s Plan
  • Megan Raposa – Sioux Falls Simplified
  • Ben Whitley – BoothOrTable
  • Taylor Hoekstra – popFLY (FLYKID LLC)
  • Dakotah Jordan – Dakotah Yoga
  • Jake Conover – Prohmtect
  • Sanaa Abourezk – Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean
  • Naomi Blank – Ubwiza Boutique 
  • Corri Poore – Little Tykes University
  • Nate Boscaljon – Tailored Woodwork LLC
  • Andrea Van Essen
  • Ben Reznicek – RezBats

As the course progresses, we’ll share more about the individuals, their businesses, and what drove them to pursue growth with CO.STARTERS. 

We hope this proves to be a success for our entrepreneurial ecosystem and that many more of you will have the opportunity to experience the program. Sign up to receive updates about future cohorts here.