Start Dakota, Episode 18: CO.STARTERS Bootcamp Explained


You’ve heard about our CO.STARTERS business accelerator, and you’ve hopefully also heard about our new software accelerator. But what if you aren’t ready for a 10-week commitment yet? 


That’s where CO.STARTERS Weekend Bootcamp comes in. It’s a four-part weekend intensive with a mission of helping aspiring entrepreneurs take action. Working collaboratively with peers and a trained facilitator, founders are able to strategize, problem-solve, and apply business tactics to their ideas. 


On the latest episode of Start Dakota, Amos Buelow sat down with two entrepreneurs who have firsthand experience with the bootcamp — Terry Liggins and Brady Barr. 


Liggins is the founder of two different startups, including The Hurdle Life Coach Foundation, which provides coaching and mentorship to at-risk youth. Barr is the founder of Allergy Aware, a nonprofit he started two years ago while at Mankato State University. The organization’s goal is to work with restaurants to provide public allergy menus. 


Liggins, who was previously a facilitator for one of the CO.STARTERS Community Navigator spoke programs in partnership with Lutheran Social Services, served as a facilitator for the most recent weekend bootcamp, which took place in October, 2023. Barr was one of 20 participants. 

The bootcamp is broken into four sessions — Discover, Promote, Build and Launch — and Liggins says these provide an excellent condensed version of the original 10-week program.

“The bootcamp is an accelerated version of the CO.STARTERS Core program. … It really identifies four key sessions that if a person was to come into that environment and really still be in the ideation stage, or maybe the launching stage, the information from that bootcamp would give them what they would need to really bring more clarity to the mystery.”

For Barr, the bootcamp also offered an opportunity to dip his toes in the world of entrepreneurship. 


“I've been wanting to get involved with Startup Sioux Falls for a long time. … It’s such a cool community because every conversation that you start with people, everybody's just so excited about everything. I get to tell them about my business, I get to hear about their business and it's just such a cool environment, and we all became friends really quickly,” he said.


Barr also appreciated the diversity of participants in the program. 


He says his business “had a lot of the legwork done” before joining the bootcamp, including setting up 501c3 status. However, there were other founders in the cohort who came in with nothing more than an idea. 


“Anyone that wants to be in this space of entrepreneurship and has some kind of idea … anybody that wants to be involved should sign up for bootcamp,” he said.


Liggins emphasizes the importance of community and mentorship when trying to start a business. 

“Businesses often fail because entrepreneurs are trying to do it alone. You have to build a team around you, not just team members, but advisors and mentors,” he said. 

This is just the beginning of the conversation — tune into the episode to hear more about the program, as well as plenty of inspirational insights on the entrepreneurial journey from Liggins and Barr. 

Applications for CO.STARTERS Weekend Bootcamp close February 2. Don’t miss out!

Show Notes:

This project is made possible through a partnership with Startup Sioux Falls and grant funding provided through the Community Navigator Pilot Program, powered by the SBA. More information can be found here.