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CSU Opens New Home for Dreamers, Makers and Do-ers

Weston Ideation Lab meets the unique needs of venture development

Weston Ideation LabCleveland State University dedicated its new home for CSU entrepreneurs and startups, the Weston Ideation Lab, in a special ceremony held on campus February 28. The Lab provides a unique, flexible space specifically designed around the unique needs of venture development. 

Located within the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Monte Ahuja College of Business, the collaborative, interdisciplinary learning laboratory helps students explore entrepreneurship through coursework, workshops, a speaker series and additional engaged learning opportunities. It also assists potential entrepreneurs in gaining access to business mentors, prototyping services, legal and patent advice and business plan development. The Lab is made possible thanks to a gift from Weston Inc., one of the region’s largest privately held industrial property developers.

“Cleveland has a rich history of innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit,” said James Asher, CEO of Weston Inc. “Cleveland State University is the ideal location to establish a space where entrepreneurs can learn, ideate, launch and grow because of its location and philosophy of experiential learning.”

“Innovation has a transformative effect on students and the wider community,” said Sanjay Putrevu, dean of the Monte Ahuja College of Business. “Ideation labs foster entrepreneurial ambitions, and I want to thank Weston Inc. and the entire Asher family for providing this important resource for our students and the university community.”

The Lab enhances the range of engaged learning, outreach and research programs being undertaken by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Ahuja College of Business. This includes an interdisciplinary entrepreneurship curriculum featuring multiple internship opportunities with local startups and business incubators, the Startup Vikes business plan competition and the CSU Small Business Development Center which provides business plan support and market analysis for new startups.

In addition to the gift from Weston Inc., Cleveland State University has also received a new $62,000 grant from the Burton D. Morgan Foundation to support entrepreneurship programming for students in 2019 and 2020.

“Cleveland State University is continually evolving its campus entrepreneurial ecosystem with resources and programming that are intended to serve students of all majors,” said Deborah Hoover, president and CEO of the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. “This grant will support  the further evolution of this ecosystem, while enabling students to develop a deeper grasp of problem solving, idea creation and the startup process.”

“The Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant will further augment the efforts of the Weston Ideation Lab, allowing us to develop new, more in-depth academic programming, innovation challenges and hackathons that directly support our students,” noted Colette Hart, director of the Centers for Outreach and Engagement in the Ahuja College of Business.