CO.STARTERS is an international program that helps budding entrepreneurs equip themselves with the information needed to succeed, while also connecting them to a network of established business owners. In our final installment, we meet three more entrepreneurs (including the author!) as well as a CO.STARTERS facilitator.  

Interested in applying for CO.STARTERS? Read through to the end for details.

FreeCreation House

FreeCreation House is a partnership between two wonderful souls by the name of Jeremy and Madison. Both have a passion for living life enthusiastically and fashion, which led to the creation of this conscious, streetwear line. They are a high-brand that specializes in hand-dyed and limited edition clothing, with the intent of putting out purposeful messages. Their hearts are only matched by their fashion sense, which creates some fantastic merch for people to buy. You can learn more about this brand by visiting or follow their Instagram at @freecreationhouse

Amber Simpson Art

Amber Simpson is a talented individual who has found success in selling her own work, but it took her years (and a trip to Cuba) to realize that she was indeed an artist. This 2019 journey completely transformed her life and allowed her to open up her creativity which led to these wonderful opportunities. She now aims to return the favor to others who haven’t yet unlocked this truth, while also teaching them new techniques and tips. Her art workshops ship the materials to you and require no previous experience to qualify - just a heart for art! Learn more by visiting, visiting Instagram at @amber_simpsonart, or liking the Facebook page at Amber Simpson Art

Tim Majors

Tim Majors may be one of the most charming fellows I’ve ever met in my life. His hearty laugh and stand-out stories will be spoken of for decades. I could be a tad biased though, as Tim also happens to be the writer of this and other About Town Magazine articles

In all seriousness, I joined CO.STARTERS while spending the majority of each week covering activist causes and local events. I love writing and am working on expanding my talents to better tell the stories of Alabamians who deserve to have their truths told. This work will never be about money, as money is often tied to the problems we cover. However, I am trying to learn how to provide myself a flexible schedule that allows me to better cover the stories that aren’t yet heard, but deserve the biggest seat at the table.

A Special Thank You to Eryka, The Chef and Jessica Moody

This 11-week course was uplifted by having two of the finest facilitators that an inspiring entrepreneur could ask for. Jessica Moody and Eryka, The Chef blended their first-hand experiences with wisdom found in the CO.STARTERS program to create clear paths to success. Eryka had previously gone through the program before, which she shares below.

Tim Majors asked me about the benefits of being a CO.STARTERS graduate, and to be honest, there just may be too many for this article.  CO.STARTERS was the catalyst for almost every shift in my business I can note. 

Before CO.STARTERS I was a woman working for myself, a glorified job. CO.STARTERS (and the Create Birmingham Team) shifted my perspective, gave me a variety of tools and resources, and guided me on transitioning my "fancy job" into a viable, growing, scalable business. On top of knowledge and structural things, the ever-growing CO.STARTERS network has cared for so many of my retail, service, personal and professional needs. CO.STARTERS support CO.STARTERS.  The benefits just keep flowing.

In 2018, I transitioned from just a graduate and fan to a CO.STARTERS facilitator - one of the greatest honors of my professional career. The opportunity to give back and feed into small business ventures in the way that was given to me... it really is a gift and an honor.  Let's also mention that watching other entrepreneurs grow and develop (being reminded that we are all in this together, and that these struggles are not unique) is the greatest motivation ever.  I continue to learn, grow, and level-up right along with each cohort.

In case you are curious, I'm Eryka, The Chef, owner of Not Just Catering. We are a culinary, lifestyle, wellness brand. We offer in-home, personal chef services, private events catering, holistic health coaching, and restaurant menu development. Our mission is to bring families back to the table and shift perspectives about what it means to live a healthy, happy, lifestyle. Every tool we provide is with that mission in mind. My sincerest hope is to change the world, one bite of deliciousness and one mindset shift at a time.

Thank You Create Birmingham!

As a recent graduate, this writer can confirm the value of this dedicated program - and there is still time to apply to go through the course this year! Learn more about the experience and how you can become a part here