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Three Main Street Districts And Local University Partner To Create CO.STARTERS

Jan 1st, 2024

Economic Vitality


For those with a dream to transform their local communities through entrepreneurship, it can feel like trying to move mountains. Montevallo Main Street, Calera Main Street, and Columbiana Main Street recognize this tall task and are actively working with local entrepreneurs to turn ideas into action.

Three Main Street Districts and Local University Partner to Create CO.STARTERS

After noticing several new businesses in Montevallo closed shortly after opening, Montevallo Main Street noticed that with these new businesses, they were often unprepared for the requirements of running a new business and how to sustain it. That’s where the idea to bring in the CO.STARTERS program to equip local entrepreneurs with the tools for long-term success came about.

Together with partners Calera Main Street and Columbiana Main Street, this 9-week course is open to up to 15 individuals each session. Classes are held at the University of Montevallo Michael E. Stephens College of Business. 


CO.STARTERS is a three-month cohort program that equips local entrepreneurs with the ideas, relationships, and tools needed to put their ideas into action. There are only 3 qualifications to join the program:

  1. Have an idea

  2. Be willing to question, accept feedback, and shape your idea 

  3. Be willing to talk about the idea with others

In these weekly meetings, participants will meet with 10-15 like-minded individuals and work together to examine those ideas and determine the next steps. Those who complete the program leave with a deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, articulate their models, and repeat the process. The main goal of any CO.STARTERS program is to equip cities, entrepreneurship hubs, and community organizations with the programs and tools to help local entrepreneurs thrive.

How to get Involved with CO.STARTERS in Montevallo

If you’re an entrepreneur with an idea for a business in Alabama, you could benefit from the CO.STARTERS program. While the fall 2023 cohort may be over, more classes are on the horizon. These classes are slated to be scheduled annually in the fall. The cost to join is $99. Classes last roughly three hours and are held at night. The semester will end with a graduation-style celebration to wrap things up and celebrate success.

Montevallo Main Street

Montevallo Main Street became a designated Main Street Community in 2016. Following the national Four-Pillar Approach: design, economic vitality, promotion and organization, Montevallo Main Street has worked diligently since 2016 to revitalize its picturesque downtown. The impact of Montevallo Main Street is vital to the community. Since 2016:

  • 26 net new/relocating businesses have come to the area 

  • 46 net new jobs created

  • Over $5 million public dollars invested

  • Over $9 million public dollars invested

Several ongoing projects of Montevallo Main Street include:

  • Friday Nights at the Cove, a free event with live music at Owl’s Cove Park

  • Facade grant program

  • Downtown beautification, including holiday decorations and street pole banner series

  • And many more

To learn more or get involved with Montevallo Main Street, visit their website

Calera Main Street & Columbiana Main Street

Neighboring cities of Calera and Columbiana are not only partners in the CO.STARTERS program but also great examples of thriving Main Street programs. 

Calera is one of Alabama’s youngest and fastest-growing cities. The downtown district of Calera is undergoing a dramatic transformation with the help of Calera Main Street. It is once again emerging as a place where entrepreneurs thrive, families gather and the future is bright. Several events help generate a sense of community and revenue for local businesses: the annual Strawberry Festival, First Fridays, Trunk or Treat, and the Christmas Parade, among others. Since its inception, Calera Main Street can be accredited for 10 new businesses, 21 new jobs created, more than $2 million public dollars invested, and more than $2 million private dollars invested.

In Columbiana, the Main Street program is not only supporting existing local businesses but actively working to improve the downtown with a facade grant program and hosting several community events such as Music on Main, Art on Main, Liberty Day 5k and Movies in the Park, to name a few. Columbiana Main Street’s efforts can be attributed to 11 net new/relocating businesses, 23 net new jobs created, more than $2 million public dollars invested, and more than $870k private dollars invested.

Main Street Alabama

Main Street Alabama is working with communities all over the state to revitalize cities and bring about sustainable change. To learn more about Main Street communities and get involved in your city, visit our website

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