SFU's Community Economic Development program has officially launched LEAP! (Local Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program) with a new website. LEAP! is an eight week accelerator program for brand new start-up social entrepreneurs in rural B.C.
Using a lean start-up model, LEAP! prepares small groups of entrepreneurs to launch new local businesses in their communities.
What is an accelerator?
An accelerator teaches people how to evaluate their business idea in the most efficient way possible.
What is a social entrepreneur?
Many entrepreneurs are tackling social problems, and define their businesses as social enterprise or social venture. In our view, any person creating a job for themselves and growing their local economy is a social entrepreneur.
How does it work?
The LEAP! program is offered in partnership with community-based organizations. To date, SFU Community Economic Development Program has worked with Community Futures Sunshine Coast and Kootenay Employment Services.
The local partner recruits five to seven participants, provides a classroom and cares about the success of the participants. SFU provides a recruitment kit, the curriculum, and the instructor.
The LEAP! program uses a flipped classroom model, with the cohort gathering together in a classroom to work with our live, online instructor, Eric Alex.
At the end of the eight weeks, the partner hosts a barn-raiser celebration, basically a really friendly dragon's den, where participants can practice pitching their ideas.
Why is LEAP! Important?
LEAP! helps build a community's entrepreneurial ecosystem, directly driving economic growth and strengthening the local economy. Communities with strong local economies are more resilient, have a lower carbon footprint, and are better insulated against global economic ups and downs.
In seven LEAP! sessions, 100% of LEAP! participants learned the lean start-up process with 77% of participants deciding to launch a business. To date, 28 businesses are now operating in the market.
Find out more on the LEAP! website.