By Vanessa Murphy
Have an idea but don’t know where to start? Cleveland State University has a new resource with the Weston Ideation Lab. This newly opened laboratory, located in the Monte Ahuja College of Business (BU) room 308, is meant to help students become entrepreneurs.
This lab is supposed to help current businesses gain more access to legal and financial information. They also interact with business mentors while offering assistance to those who have an idea in hopes to have it snowball into a business. The Ideation Lab is meant for students to physically apply their thoughts or ideas with the resources and knowledge made available there.
The Weston Ideation Lab was a gift to Cleveland State from the Asher Family at Weston Inc. The Asher Family made this donation to help encourage entrepreneurship at the school, which was announced in December 2017. The lab is open to faculty, staff, students and alumni, and every college across campus is welcomed into the facility. The laboratory has meetups multiple times a week, so everyone is able to interact and make connections in order to help their visions transform into careers and businesses.
There are many opportunities that the lab offers like workshops, guest speakers such as local founders, co-founders and entrepreneurs, brown bag lunch series and different events that offer engaged learning.
While the lab offers plenty of resources, the staff is also willing to meet you where you are in your entrepreneurship journey. They provide the resources as long as you have an idea.
“We have awesome people working in there, mentors, content management experts that connect with the students,” Katie Van Dyke, small business development director, said.
At their open house on Thursday, Jan. 17, students and staff seem to be amazed by the space. Bright lights, big windows and red walls attracted students and faculty alike.
“The lab is super nice. It looks like you can be productive while being in a good atmosphere. Due to the knowledge these mentors, and staff have, everyone seems like they can always help you out,” sophomore Olivia Paganini said. “I plan on utilizing the lab throughout the semester.”
The Weston Ideation Lab has open lab hours that differ day to day throughout the week, but they are willing to make changes to adapt to the student’s needs and wants.
“If more students want evening hours and weekends, they are willing to make the changes, as they are a new facility currently,” Van Dyke explained.
As for what is in store for the future, Van Dyke couldn’t get into specifics.
“There will be more programming, but they are not sure what that looks like,” she said. “It depends on the needs and demands of the students.”
Monday: noon-6:00pm, Tuesday: noon-4:00pm, Wednesday: 9:00am-5:00pm, Thursday: 9:00am-4:00pm, and Fridays are Friday Founder 9:00am-10:30am.