Startup Lakewood

Mission Statement

Help Lakewood's community of soon-to-be entrepreneurs turn their ideas into business realities.

Startup Lakewood Initiative is a program approved by the City of Lakewood which is geared toward making Lakewood a more appealing place for entrepreneurs to build and grow ideas into legitimate businesses. This program will be overseen by Mike Belsito as its Director of Ideation.

Startup Lakewood will provide meaningful resources to budding entrepreneurs within the City of Lakewood, specifically centered around helping take ideas and turning them into real businesses. These resources will come in the form of focused “ideation” sessions, programming, and a permanent space in which people could work on bringing their business ideas to life.

Startup Lakewood is a collaborative effort between the City of Lakewood, the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, LakewoodAlive, and Pillars of Lakewood.

StartUp Lakewood Announces Winners of the 2014 Ideation Challenge

Congratulations to the two winners of the 2014 StartUp Lakewood Ideation Challenge:

  1. The Little Lakewood Pasta Company - Megan Manning
  2. The Laugh Staff – Josh Womack, Cameron Amigo, & Kali Fencl

Six new business concepts were pitched to a panel of five judges on August 27th at the University of Akron Lakewood with hopes of winning the 2014 Ideation Challenge.  After each entrepreneur gave a 3 minute pitch, the judges tested them with a series of questions, in addition to providing constructive feedback.  The concepts included a Filipino themed restaurant, a handmade goods store, a speech writing consulting firm, a social entrepreneurship company, a handmade pasta company, and a machined component brokerage company.

The two winners, The Lakewood Little Pasta Company and The Laugh Staff, won a prize package that included a lunch meeting with Mike Summers, the Mayor of Lakewood, a full scholarship to the fall 2014 Bad Girl Ventures program, and an advertising bundle from the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce.       

In its fourth year the Ideation Challenge has motivated dozens of entrepreneurs to begin the process of starting a business. “Our hope is that some of these businesses get started in Lakewood, but it’s all about helping people,” says Mike Belsito, Director of Ideation for StartUp Lakewood. “The goal of the competition is to help people take the next step with their ideas for new products or businesses.”

Startup Lakewood has two specific components:

Ideation Sessions:

Have an idea for a new product, business, or even a marketing campaign? Startup Lakewood’s Ideation Sessions are focused brainstorm sessions where Lakewood residents can openly discuss their ideas with Startup Lakewood’s Director of Ideation, special guests, and other soon-to-be entrepreneurs.

Ideation Sessions take place in the highly creative cafes that Lakewood boasts, where there will be coffee, snacks, and whiteboards available to participants. Ideation sessions are free and open to all Lakewood residents.

Startup U:

Looking to educate yourself on what it takes to launch your business idea? From marketing on a shoestring budget to understanding the legal aspects of starting a business, Startup Lakewood’s Startup U produces programming relevant to soon-to-be entrepreneurs looking to turn ideas into real businesses. Startup U is free and open to all Lakewood residents.

For more information on Startup Lakewood, visit