Innovation Lab

An online meeting of the Innovation Lab

In partnership with Startup 425, a consortium of five cities on Seattle’s Eastside (Bellevue, Kirkland, Issaquah, Redmond, and Renton) and the Port of Seattle, two Bellevue College faculty professors, Leslie Lum and Judith Paquette, have been working on an ecosystem for BIPOC and women businesses on the Eastside of Greater Seattle for the past two years.

The model developed unites existing components with new programs to move BIPOC and women businesses to long-term survival and growth using evidence-based strategies. The goal is to pull together a portfolio of emerging BIPOC and women businesses and provide more intensive support through customized training and student teams–developing businesses and workforce simultaneously.

Our Process

  1. BC traveling workshop reaches BIPOC and women’s business networks.

  2. BC Innovation Lab trains 40-60 businesses per year in a 4-week, 14-hour course.

  3. High-potential businesses are identified to work with student teams. The accelerator provides long-term (6 months – 5 years) support.
A graphic showing where Innovation Lab fits in the student lifecycle

Along with partners, they have created a network with public, nonprofit and private entities committed to promoting this initiative. Traveling workshops are presented to BIPOC and women business organizations to recruit a portfolio of promising BIPOC and women businesses.

Innovation Lab provides the training, motivation, mentorship and network to advance promising businesses. It leads directly to capital access through Business Impact NW and markets through the public partners and could reach 40 to 60 businesses a year. There is the potential to use 100 students per year to do in-depth projects to transform promising businesses to high-impact businesses.

Innovation Lab logo

Innovation Lab which prepares business owners to be business-ready (articulate a defensible business model and discipline to acquire target market and manage business value stream) and banking-ready (reach $300,000 in revenues, manage employees and fund working capital so that funding can be used for growth).

A four-piece pie chart labeled Know, Want, Be, Do, with arrows leading clockwise through each section.


UW Foster School Consulting and Business Development Center’s (CBDC) framework provides the knowledge for this series.


Work with instructors, peers, mentors, and expert advisors to develop strategies and create a support network to motivate you to execute.


Engage in active self-exploration to develop confidence to achieve goals.


Customized Assessment – instructors do an assessment of the key factors that drive the success of your business.

Innovation Lab Curriculum

1. Entrepreneurship, strategy, business model design.

2. The customer journey, segment/target/position, customer archetypes, the funnel, get/grow/keep, customer lifetime value.

3. Product life cycle minimum viable product, brand, traditional channels, direct sales, omni channels, promotion, social media, pricing, price elasticity.

4. Legal, federal and state certification for underserved businesses, and key performance indicators

5. Value chain, lean, mapping business processes and new supply chain curriculum from UWB Business School.

6. Financial management, operating cycle, order processing/fulfillment receipt, purchasing disbursement, financial statements, cash management, runway, breakeven and loan readiness.

7. Building and retaining an engaged team, successful negotiations, culture and communications, managing the mentor and network relationships.

The active engagement of professors in increasing the survival rate of underserved businesses is a huge plus to the Business Transfer Program. Finding solutions for BIPOC and women businesses where resources are constrained is much more difficult than with large corporations.

We want to close the wealth gap and create an environment where our students are hired by fast-growing BIPOC and women businesses. We want to lift economic development so our students can benefit from the opportunities that are created.

Are you interested in registering for the next session of Innovation Lab?

Our Partners

What do businesses say about their Innovation Lab experience?

The program has been very successful. Here is what businesses in the 2020 cohort had to say about their Innovation Lab experience:

Here is what Jessica Kravitz JD had to say about her experience in Innovation Lab.
Dr. Ebony Blackmon-Humphrey on her experience in Innovation Lab.
Anita Robertson, Founder and CEO Make Ready Services
Yavnika Khanna, Founder and Chief Impact Officer Impactika Consulting LLC
Daniel Ingitaraj K. Co-founder and CEO of docu3C

If you are a business who wants more information, contact Leslie Lum: or Judith Paquette:

Last Updated May 8, 2023