James J. Hill Center Statement Regarding Current Closure

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CO.STARTERS MN is a 10-week program sponsored by the James J. Hill Center, with additional funding by the Knight Foundation and fiscal sponsorship supplied by Forge North. A combined effort to help build the pipeline of entrepreneurs in Minnesota.

CO.STARTERS equips entrepreneurs of all kinds with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to turn ideas into action. There are only three prerequisites to joining the program:

(1) Having an idea
(2) Being willing to question, shape and fine-tune that idea
(3) Being willing to talk about the idea with others

Over the ten-weeks, a group of 10-15 entrepreneurs meet together one evening a week for three hours, led by a facilitator. CO.STARTER certified facilitators are experienced business owners from the community who guide participants through the program. Facilitators ask critical questions, draw on the knowledge in the room, and use available resources and connections to point participants in the right direction. Guest speakers are brought each week to enrich the conversation.


Dates: Wednesday’s, October 9th to December 18th (no class November 27)
Time: 6:00PM to 9:00PM
Location: Downtown Saint Paul, MN (exact location TBA)
Fee: $500
10 to 15 participants are accepted limited scholarships are available

The deadline to apply is September 30th. All applicants may be required to do a 20 minute interview. If an interview is required a separate email with a link to a sign up will be sent. Applicants that are accepted into the program will be notified no later than October 2. Payment will be due at that time.

Dina Simon is many things: President of Simon Says Give, a charitable organization founded by her school-age daughter, CEO of Simon Says Lead where she works closely with clients to uncover their business goals and creatively problem-solve to get results, and she’s the author of Make Unstoppable Simple – creative problem solving in life and leadership, where she shares her personal leadership story and the secrets of becoming “Unstoppable” in life and business.

Lily prides herself at being a community builder. She is currently the Director of Client Experience for Startup Space, an entrepreneurial platform focusing on solving problems for startups and small business owners. She works to support and connect the worlds of entrepreneurs, businesses and community through access, content and support. She is also the community lead for 1 Million Cups Saint Paul and a CO.STARTERS train the trainer, traveling national

Click here to learn more about the curriculum structure.

Working together, participants develop and fine-tune their ideas, critically examining every piece and determining next steps through real-time feedback. Participants leave the program with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate their models, and repeat the process.

Click here to learn what makes this program different.

For questions regarding the program visit the CO.STARTER MN information page click here.


Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.