Error: Only up to 6 widgets are supported in this layout. If you need more add your own layout.


CO.STARTERS at the Hill is a 9-week program that 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 nine-weeks, groups of 10-15 entrepreneurs meet together one evening a week for three hours, led by a facilitator. CO.STARTERS certified facilitators are experienced business owners from the community who guide participants through the program by asking the right questions, drawing on the knowledge in the room, and using available resources and connections in the community to point participants in the right direction. In addition to exploring different topics each week, guest speakers are also brought in weekly to enrich the conversation and help participants learn from the experience of others in the community.

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, using a simplified version of the Business Model Canvas. 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.

As an organization dedicated to the community the Hill has priced this program to be financially reasonable to make it accessible for all entrepreneurs in our community.  The cost of the program is  $500 that includes materials, snacks and a one year membership to the James J. Hill Center upon completion of the program. The Hill recognizes there are racial and economic barriers and as a nonprofit serving all members of our community we offer scholarship to close the gap. Individuals who identify as or work in communities serving people of color, low income or the downtown Saint Paul area are encouraged to apply. For questions please email Lily at lshaw@jjhill.org.


When: Tuesdays, September 25th – November 27th (no class on Nov. 20th)
Time: 6:00PM to 9:00PM
Location: James J. Hill Center, 80 West Fourth Street, Saint Paul
Cost: $500

Application deadline is August 25th. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and an interview may be required. Accepted applicants will be notified no later then September 7th. Payment will be due upon acceptance.

Facilitator: Cathy Paper

Cathy is the founder of RockPaperStar Inc. a boutique consulting firm specializing in coaching, marketing and promotion for business owners. Cathy has coached executives at Best Buy, Paramount Pictures, John Deere and Apple as well as many Minnesota-based privately held companies and service-firms. Cathy’s clients include Harvey Mackay, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. Cathy is a national speaker, a columnist for the American City Business Journals, a winner of NAWBO vision award and Minnesota Business Real Power 50 and a former Minnesota State Tennis Doubles Champion.

Co-Facilitator: Maggie Smith
Maggie is the Marketing Manager at the James J. Hill Center, previously the Community Engagement Specialist. As the community representative for the Hill, Maggie works with partner organizations throughout the Twin Cities to ensure cross-organization collaboration and building awareness in the entrepreneurial community of the resources available. She has also been the lead organizer for 1 Million Cups St. Paul since August 2016. This unique opportunity has allowed Maggie to work closely with the startup community and is consistently exposed to the needs of entrepreneurs in the Twin Cities.


This program is supported in part by: 


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.

Blog and More!