Invest in yourself, and Lakewood will invest in your business!
The Lakewood Small Business Academy is a grant program designed to provide incentives for startups and existing businesses to take advantage of programs aimed at creating healthy entrepreneurial, Lakewood-based businesses.
As an incentive for completing course work, Lakewood will reimburse licensed small businesses in the startup stage up to $500 - and existing businesses even more -upon completion of five preselected and approved Business Academy courses, which is to be considered the "cash match". Start up businesses are considered businesses in operation in Lakewood two years or less, or as a part-time side venture. Existing businesses are businesses that have been active in Lakewood, full-throttle, for over two years.
The business must operate within the legal limits of the City of Lakewood, be a Lakewood-based business and have a valid Lakewood Sales/Use Tax license.
- Prospective business owners must arrange a preconsultation with a Lakewood Economic Development Specialist.
- Prospective applicants must fully and accurately complete the Application given to them during the preconsult meeting - within two weeks of preconsultation.
- Applicants must have a valid Lakewood Sales/Use Tax license and be a Lakewood-based business.
- Applicants in the start-up category may be home-based but must provide a service above and beyond web retail sales.
- Applicants in the existing business category must not be home-based.
Small Business Academy Process
- Academy students must attend five business development courses, outlined on their application, within one year. The courses are: Start-Up Basics (start-up level only), Marketing Plan Basics, Business Plan Basics, and your choice of electives. For a full list of course choices, please explore the Quicklink box to the right. Sorry, no webinars as they don't encourage networking.
- Academy students must indicate an initial concept of detailing how the business will spend the grant, with the understanding that it can be changed.
- Academy students must have met with Lakewood's Sustainability Coordinator to learn about how to maximize their environmental and economic sustainability at some point before collecting the grant.
- Academy students must show proof of attendance through signatures of course providers.
Collecting The Grant
- Graduates must fill out a Reimbursement Request form within one year of the Application acceptance letter date.
- Graduates must provide confirmation that they have developed a business plan.
- Graduates must show that the courses attended were the courses indicated on the application or that the applicant received approval from Lakewood Economic Development to make a change.
- Graduates must submit a receipt indicating the business has paid for the grant-funded item. Lakewood Economic Development will reimburse the business when the file is proven to be in order.
- When relevant, applicants must use a Lakewood-based company for services rendered.
- Graduates will receive a one-year membership to the Lakewood business association of their choice (Applewood, South Lakewood, Alameda, Colfax, Union Professionals, or the West Chamber), up to $100.
Lakewood Economic Development does not specify which electives you should take. We believe that you know your business best and know which electives suit your needs best. Please consider any of the seminars offered by the organizations in the Quicklinks box. Additionally, if you feel you can "test out" of any of the required courses, feel free to propose that to the Economic Development Specialist at the pre-consultation.