Michael C. DeAloia has been named StartUp Lakewood’s Entrepreneur in Residence to help launch an incubator located in Front Porch Media Network’s Detroit Avenue office.
“The Entrepreneur in Residence is a position at the civic level that helps any of the residents of Lakewood with their idea for a new business or opportunity,” said Front Porch Media Network Chief Executive Officer DeAloia, who is the former city of Cleveland “Tech Czar” responsible for the economic development of the technology trades.
“What makes this very unique is we’re also launching an incubator with LaunchHouse, the city of Lakewood, StartUp Lakewood and Front Porch Media. It’s a really provocative idea for the city the size of Lakewood.”
Expected to launch in May, the incubator space will provide start-up businesses access to DeAloia’s counsel, as well as amenities such as a conference room, printer, fax machine and the Internet. The goal is to create jobs and activate storefronts in Lakewood.
“Out of the eight desks, two will be free and unencumbered, thanks to grant money from the city, while six will be paid for on a modest weekly or monthly fee,” said DeAloia, who writes The Plain Dealer’s Tech Czar Talk column.
Over the last seven years, StartUp Lakewood, which promotes entrepreneurship and connects new businesses to resources, has successfully spun off several businesses: PlayGrounds Cafe, Little Lakewood Pasta Company and the soon-to-open Nosotros Rock Climbing Gym.
DeAloia takes over for former Entrepreneur in Residence Mike Belsito.
Lakewood City Planner Alex Harnocz said what the initiative lacked until now was a permanent location.
“When Michael brought his idea for the incubator to us, we were thrilled at the opportunity to establish a physical presence for the group and give its members an opportunity to take advantage of the space,” Harnocz said.
“LaunchHouse brings a great deal of experience in programming and a huge network of entrepreneurs across the region. We expect that they will be able to elevate the quality and frequency of StartUp Lakewood’s educational offerings and speaker series,” he said.
Highland Heights-based co-working and entrepreneurial network LaunchHouse will also augment StartUp Lakewood’s existing programming.
“After many years of being asked for a LaunchHouse on the West Side, we will now make that a reality with LaunchHouse Lakewood,” CEO Todd Goldstein said in a press release.
“As LaunchHouse continues to expand, we’re excited to offer two separate locations, Highland Heights and Lakewood, to our community of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and remote workers.”
Tech or business incubators provide start-ups with everything from management training to office space and amenities.
“We hope to grow StartUp Lakewood’s membership and impact on our business community,” Harnocz said. “Greater access to mentoring, educational programs, business plan development and other resources can only advance our local entrepreneurs and their eventual impact in Lakewood.”
DeAloia said the StartUp Lakewood incubator fits perfectly into Front Porch Media Network’s creative corner vision for Lakewood.
“We’ve got our own little studio, which is kind of cool, but we wanted some additional creative folks to work in our startup and creative environment,” DeAloia said. “It’s a destination area in Lakewood where they can feel safe to do some provocative work and create something special.”