Helping you Grow

Co.Starters +

F&B Edition

food factory logo.png

What is Co.Starters?

Co.Starters is a 10 session programme developed in the USA using the Lean Startup method.  The programme helps prospective and established entrepreneurs examine all aspects of their idea or existing business in a systematic, practical and critical way to set them up for success.  

Co.Starters is NOT a course with lectures, course notes and a certificate of completion. It is 'hands-on' – you will work on your idea with the help of a facilitator coaching you along the way.  You’ll receive access to world class tools and methodologies you can revisit and reuse.

For the first time, we have joined up with The Food Factory to support the next generation of Food and Beverage businesses in our region with a heavily subsidised, F&B specific, CO.STARTERS cohort.   


Richard Chadderton (CO.STARTERS) and Jarrod Robinson (Food Technologist, experienced professional in F&B product development and commercialisation) will facilitate this cohort, providing oversight and mentorship for participants throughout the course.  Guest speakers from successful F&B businesses will impart knowledge about specific challenges they have faced. The programme will also be able to connect participants with specialist advisors to address food-specific issues such as regulation, packaging, labelling, exporting, shelf-life stability etc.





Drawing from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and startup veterans from around the globe, Co.Starters walks startups and small-business owners through lean, effective business modeling methods in a simple and intuitive way, and with the help of a supportive community. 

What Will I Learn?

The programme follows a set format which helps you truly understand your strengths, what your customer is looking for, how you might market to your customers, your revenue stream(s), business model options and costs.

WEEK 1: Knowing Yourself  Assumptions, Canvas, Working styles, Team building, Obstacles.

WEEK 2: Knowing Your Customer Customer Problem, Alternatives, Solution, Benefit, Advantage

WEEK 3: Getting The Relationship Right Marketing, Message, Getting, keeping & growing customers

WEEK 4: Building the Model to Scale Starting small, Distribution, Revenue, Typical sale, Price

WEEK 5: Strengthening Your Structure Business structures, Legal considerations

WEEK 6: Discovering Your Bottom Line Startup & ongoing needs, Fixed & variable costs, Breaking even

WEEK 7: Accounting For Growth Break-even point, Sales projections, Cash flow, Accounting

WEEK 8: Planning For The Future Raising capital, Growth plans, Goal setting, Pitch prep

WEEK 9: Celebration Night/Sharing Your Story

You don't know what you don't know.  This programme will give you insights and tools to help you start your business and accelerate your business knowledge.  One of the most powerful things you can do for yourself and your business is learn fast about your idea to give it the best chance of being successful.  Too many new businesses fail and many from a lack of knowledge about their market or their business understanding. 


Other benefits:


The Cohort will have access to The Food Factory's purpose built kitchen and storage facility for one week of the programme, where participants can work individually or jointly to fine-tune their product. 

Your Commitment:

You will need to commit to three hours per session for 10 sessions and be prepared to put in approximately the same time outside of these hours.  What you will get in return is a powerful support network and be ready to move forward with your ideas faster. 

Who should apply?

  • Startups in the Food and Beverage sector

  • Small - medium F&B business owners who want to grow their brand, have run into roadblocks or who need to change direction

  • People who are launching or are planning to launch a new F&B product or service 


How much is my investment /cost?

The value of this specialised programme is $3000, but this cohort is heavily subsidised thanks to The Food Factory and the Provincial Development Unit, and will cost only $300+GST per business.

There are 10 subsidised places available, and up to 5 full price places.  To apply, please fill out the application form attached.  Subsidy recipients will be determined by the Mahitahi Colab and The Food Factory, in our sole discretion.

The Details

We are currently accepting applications for this cohort, beginning in February 2021. 




 Starting 9 March 2021

10 x 3 hour sessions

Tuesday (+ 2 Thursdays) evenings 

6.00pm - 9.00pm

Email for full list of dates


Growing businesses

Stalled businesses

Business managers

(NB one person per business)

The Food Factory

11 Findlay Place



(Parking available)


For this cohort only, the cost is heavily subsidised to $300 + GST per business

10 subsidies available


Not an F&B Business?

We will be running general Co.Starters cohorts later in the year - generally in line with school terms.  If you are a new, growing or adapting business and want the framework to get your business moving, register your interest below and we will let you know when the next cohort will be kicking off.  The cost of our general cohort will be $1800 + GST per business.  Co.Starters, powered by Mahitahi Colab, is a registered service with the Regional Business Partner network.  Eligible businesses may be able to access up to a 50% subsidy of this cost.  Complete the Expression of Interest form and we will keep you in the loop about upcoming cohorts.