CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition

CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition

CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition is a ten-week programme that equips aspiring hospitality entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships, and tools needed to take the next step in building a sustainable hospitality business. During CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition you'll develop and fine-tune your ideas over two sessions each week.

You don’t have to be a student to join CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition and take your idea further. Join a cohort for just two evenings a week for ten weeks.

Programme details

Each cohort will meet for two sessions a week, for 10 weeks.

Start dates

  • Next start date tbc


AUT City Campus
55 Wellesley Street
Auckland 1010

Room details will be emailed to you.

There's a financial cost to cover this programme because we're looking for entrepreneurs, business owners and students to be active, engaged and invested in their own personal development and business success.

The course cost includes course materials, weekly sessions and access to community events, networking, and small business resources.

  • $3,500.00 (including GST)
  • Early bird registration: $3,000

If you're an AUT student, graduate or staff, or a trading business, contact us for cost details as you might be eligible to a subsidy.

If you’re interested in getting involved with CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition, register your interest and we will contact you.

Register your interest

What you get out of CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition

When you take part in CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition, you get:

  • A deeper understanding of how to create a sustainable business, identifying whether your idea has potential and how to shape it to make it work
  • The ability to articulate what your business does and how it works
  • The next steps needed to move forward
  • Access to leading expert facilitators and mentors from the hospitality industry
  • Access to relevant cutting-edge research from the field
  • A community of peers, mentors, business services and a national network of support

Who can take part?

You don't have to be a student to join CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition. It is for:

  • Aspiring hospitality entrepreneurs looking at launching a new product or service
  • Hospitality business owners looking at launching a new product or service or innovating their current offering
  • AUT students and staff with hospitality business ideas or the goal to start their own hospitality business
  • AUT alumni with hospitality business ideas or the goal to start their own hospitality business

Session topics by week

During CO.STARTERS Hospo Edition you develop and fine-tune your ideas, critically examine every part of your idea and determine the next steps, all through real-time feedback from people in the community.

CO.STARTERS session:

Knowing yourself - assumptions, working styles, team building, obstacles

Hospitality session:

Hospitality personality - Understanding the main psychological attributes and characteristics of successful hospitality entrepreneurs and then reflect upon your own mind set and characteristics.

CO.STARTERS session:

Knowing your customer – customer, problem, alternatives, idea testing

Hospitality session:

Knowing your customer – Exploring the ways in which successful hospitality businesses match their product and service offering to the demographics of their customer base.

CO.STARTERS session:

Finding the right solution - solution, benefit, advantage, starting small, brand identity

Hospitality session:

Marketing your hospitality business - Considering how your business can maximise its potential by investigating the nexus of customers, competitors, products, and innovation.

CO.STARTERS session:

Getting the relationship right – marketing and message; getting, keeping and growing customers.

Hospitality session:

Maximizing the experience economy - Looking at how combining aesthetic, education, escape, and entertainment can take your product and service to the next level and become your point of difference in a competitive industry.

CO.STARTERS session:

Building blocks – distribution, revenue, typical offering, price

Hospitality session:

Hospitality business models - Understanding operating a wholesale business, food and beverage costing, assessing whether using food delivery services such as Uber Eats are worth it.

CO.STARTERS session:

Structures and Systems – legal and accounting considerations

Hospitality session:

Hospitality specific compliance issues - Food Safety Plan (FSP), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), council regulations, and the five basic hospitality business compliance issues.

CO.STARTERS session:

Discovering the bottom line - start-up & ongoing needs, fixed & variable costs, break-even point

Hospitality session:

Discovering the bottom line - Hospitality as social enterprise, menu engineering, and potential exit strategies.

CO.STARTERS session and hospitality session:

Financial modelling - break-even point, sales projections, cash flow, raising capital

CO.STARTERS session and hospitality session:

Planning for growth - growth plans, goal setting, celebration night prep

CO.STARTERS session and hospitality session:

Showcase/celebration night preparation - sharing your story and presenting.

Meet the team

Tony Astle

The “godfather” of Auckland cuisine

The “godfather” of Auckland cuisine, Tony Astle, ONZM, began his culinary career in 1965. However, it is his ownership and operation of Antoine’s Restaurant kitchen in Auckland’s Parnell that has propelled Tony’s culinary career. Tony is passionate about food, and having run Antoine’s for 47 years (1973-2021), he brings a wealth of expertise to CO.STARTERS Hospitality.

Dr Lindsay Neill

Senior lecturer in hospitality management and semiotics at AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism

Lindsay is a senior lecturer in hospitality management and semiotics at AUT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Trained as a chef, Lindsay is co-author of The New Zealand Chef, the ‘go-to’ tome for all chefs in training in Aotearoa New Zealand. Consequently, Lindsay brings a practical and theoretical perspective to the CO.STARTERS Hospitality programme.

Sophie Gilmour

Business-owner, consultant, cook and ex-lawyer

Sophie is a business-owner, consultant, cook and ex-lawyer who loves all things hospitality. She splits her time between her three restaurants (Fatima's), her hospitality consultancy Delicious Business and her co-working and events space 'The Village'. Sophie is also involved in food charities and chairs the board of Company of Women.

Camille Rope

Consultant, recipe and product developer and teacher

Camille relishes any opportunity to cook whether it’s catering for a crowd or preparing meals for pastoral care in the community. Consultant, recipe and product developer and primary school teacher, Camille has spent the last 20 years cooking privately; working for Books For Cooks in London; and as an executive chef managing a kitchen team of 35.

Sabrina Nagel

CO.STARTERS facilitator and trainer

Sabrina enjoys seeing synergies and connecting people. An experienced CO.STARTERS facilitator and trainer, Sabrina has worked in the startup space as an “intrapreneur” as well as starting her own startup. Passionate about entrepreneurship, sustainability and wholesome home cooking, she is looking forward to working with the next generation of hospitality entrepreneurs.


The CO.STARTERS Canvas helps you understand, test and refine your business ideas.

Contact us

Get in touch with the CO.STARTERS team for more information about our programmes and how to get involved.