LANSING — Five new businesses were created over the past weekend ranging from a company specializing in the customization of canvas shoes to a sort of “Amazon for ideas.”

The Lansing region hosted Startup Weekend for the 4th time over this past weekend bringing together 35 wannabe entrepreneurs and innovators to the NEO Center in Lansing. On Friday evening, ideas were pitched and voted on, the winners allowed to pursue those ideas with a team of peers. The teams spent the weekend further developing their ideas. On Sunday evening, the ideas were pitched to a panel of judges and winners chosen.

Startup Weekends allow for entrepreneurial, creative, and technical minded people to come together to see how far they can take their ideas. This year’s event, a partnership between LEAP and the NEO Center, and with support from Prima Civitas Foundation, msuENet, Loomis Law, and Bizdom, followed an event geared towards educating international students on all aspects of entrepreneurship through Michigan State University Office for International Students and Scholars.

“Startup Weekend is an opportunity to test out ideas in a creative space for 54 hours,” said Jeff Smith, co-director of the New Economy Division at LEAP. “Most entrepreneurs have multiple ideas, and this is an outlet for them. It’s like running a 5K for a running enthusiast.”
The five companies who were created during the weekend were Jesse’s Shoes,, Tangifi,, CoachYou,, CarInSharence, and The Grappler Media.

After deliberation, the judges named the overall winner as Jesse’s Shoes, a custom shoe design business. There was also a winner in the Popular Vote category, which was Tangifi, a company in which ideas are sold on a marketplace similar to Amazon in which any person can purchase the rights to the ideas to pursue as a business.

To find out more about future Startup Weekend events, visit

Startup Weekend is a national organization which partners with communities to extend their mission of entrepreneurial education. The Startup Weekend events are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders committed to building a prosperous and vibrant region where business can thrive. To do this, we help entrepreneurs start new businesses, help existing businesses grow, and attract new businesses to the region. For more information about LEAP, please visit

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