By David Kraus

We at CO.STARTERS want to invest in your story.

Every individual story is unique, and we want to do justice telling the complex stories of ventures that benefit from our platform. Specifically, we want to focus on one particularly important facet of your CO.STARTERS story: “What happened next?”

How has CO.STARTERS changed participants and your community after graduation? Have entrepreneurs’ goals been met? How can we better support participants upon completing our programs? All of these questions are critical to measuring your community’s success and the impact CO.STARTERS has had; and they’re crucial to a holistic storytelling.

During our November community call, we introduced a new impact measurement system that will help to answer these questions. Though this system is currently in the beta testing stage, it will be available to everyone starting this coming January; we expect it to be universally adopted by the end of 2018.

Essentially, these impact gauging systems will comprise a number of surveys taken before, during, and after the program. Both participants and facilitators will take part in these surveys, enabling us to better tell the stories of individual cohorts in local communities, and, ultimately, construct a national narrative of the difference made by organizations offering CO.STARTERS and the impact on program participants.

On a practical level, these success-quantifiers will serve two main functions.

First, they will assist community leaders in improving local programs. By having local activity tracked alongside national data, you will have access to not only cohort-specific data, but also a yearly organizational report. The data generated by the new system will prove critical in gauging where you’re performing exceptionally in supporting starters, where there is room for progress, and the specific needs in those areas which require improvement. Additionally, these systems will provide data-driven evidence of your work’s efficacy, as well as the overall success of the wider CO.STARTERS movement. When potential funders and supporters ask about numbers, outcomes, and quantitative measurements, you will have professionally packaged reports ready to share with them.

The second purpose of these impact measurement systems is to provide us at CO.STARTERS a more holistic picture of what our collective work is accomplishing across the globe. That picture includes the answers to some important questions: How are various cities and communities affected by the work we do? How can we tailor our work to varying needs in each community? It will also give us information to make our programs better and know what new programs are needed to address gaps in support.

We at CO.STARTERS, in our striving to be excellent storytellers, know that your CO.STARTERS story goes beyond the traditional numbers reported of businesses launched, jobs created, and capital raised. We want to help you tell the story that’s often not told – of people helped, communities transformed, and a cycle of people supporting one another as they pursue their dreams. Our impact goes beyond the business. We want to do justice to quantifying those results in a way that helps you raise community support and funds more efficiently. We are thrilled to share these impact measurement systems in the coming year, and look forward to supporting your efforts to make a positive impact in communities across the world.