BELLEVUE — The Tombolo Institute at Bellevue College is excited to introduce a new program, Innovation Lab. The intensive, seven-week program is designed to help businesses acquire relevant business knowledge and adapt to the changing economic environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Startup425, the institute will offer this program with no tuition or fees charged to participating businesses.  

Startup425 is an alliance of five Eastside cities (Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, and Renton) dedicated to providing education, training, networking, and support to entrepreneurs and small-business owners and managers. 

Innovation Lab will run from Oct. 1 through Nov. 12. Classes will take place in the evenings. The lab consists of seven weekly modules delivered virtually using a videoconferencing platform, required homework, and peer to peer interaction. 

The program will also feature a customized approach to meet the unique needs of the cohort of participating businesses based on their pain points.

“Every day, small-business owners have faced challenge after challenge with incredible courage and fortitude as they navigate the pandemic,” said Gary Locke, Interim President of Bellevue College. “But now is the time to look forward — conduct a business diagnosis, search for resources, and build a network to transition successfully to a post-COVID world. We encourage all small businesses to apply because your success is important to our entire community.” 

The course instructor, Professor Leslie Lum, has over 20 years of experience at Bellevue College and is a published author of Multicultural Marketing and Business Consulting, one of whose co-authors includes UW Foster School’s Michael Verchot. Lum will be assisted by a group of local expert business advisors and mentors to provide their insights, expertise and connections to the Eastside business ecosystem. The topics covered include: 

• Becoming an Entrepreneur 

• Customer Journey 

• Product, Channel, Price 

• Legal, Source of Capital, Strategy & Metrics 

• Value Analysis 

• Accounting & Finance 

• Recruiting & Retaining Teams, Leadership 

Visit  for more information. Space is limited and admission is selective. Please review the course prerequisites before applying. Applications will be accepted through Sept. 25. After completing the application form, send it via email to 

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