CHATTANOOGA, TENN: CO.STARTERS CEO Jose Alfaro named Rebekah Marr as the company’s Chief Product Officer, effective January 1, 2023.
Marr, one of the company’s co-founders, had previously served in various capacities, most recently as Director of Programs for the company. This promotion marks an emerging focus for the company as it renews its attention to developing new products and for its current customers.
“Rebekah has been instrumental to the success of CO.STARTERS. Building on our work supporting the growth of the emergent entrepreneurial ecosystem building field, we’re focusing more intently on how to better support communities across the US.” said Alfaro. “It is only fitting to have Rebekah work closely with the executive team to develop and execute that strategy.”
Product development is nothing new to Marr, as she served on the original writing team for the company’s flagship program, CO.STARTERS Core. The 10-week accelerator program takes idea-stage entrepreneurs through business basics, laying a strong foundation for their ventures’ sustainable launch and growth.
Since her work on CO.STARTERS Core, Marr was behind the company’s additional programs such as: CO.STARTERS Generator, a modular entrepreneurship course for youth; CO.STARTERS Rebuild, a COVID-19 business recovery program; the Get Started Workshop, a three-hour introduction to business for the entrepreneurship-curious; and the company’s most recent release, CO.STARTERS Bootcamp, which takes anyone with an idea through a hackathon-style intensive over the course of two days.
“Rebekah has an edge when it comes to program development,” Alfaro said. “Business and entrepreneurship tend to be extremely jargon-heavy industries—often unnecessarily. Rebekah’s gift is in explaining business concepts simply. Our programs are the most accessible on the market, and her skills in this area are a huge reason for that.”
Prior to co-founding CO.STARTERS, Marr worked for ten years as a grantmaker at a private foundation. After taking her expertise private as a nonprofit consultant and grantwriter, she took a program development position with The Company Lab, a newly-formed entrepreneurship hub in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The Company Lab (or CO.LAB, as it’s affectionately known by locals) needed a scalable program that would give community leaders in other cities the tools to support their local lifestyle businesses, just as CO.LAB had done in Chattanooga. Marr was tasked with writing the curriculum; the program she developed would become the programmatic bedrock for CO.STARTERS once it became a separate company in 2016.
“It has been an amazing privilege to see our work grow from helping local entrepreneurs here in Chattanooga to seeing thousands across the world realize their dreams,” said Marr. “When you are able to change individual lives, you have an opportunity to transform the communities around them. I’m excited to see what the future holds as we enter a new phase of product development, answering the question, ‘what’s next?’ in entrepreneur support.”
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