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LEAP! is an accelerator program that supports new entrepreneurs who are developing social enterprises and community-based businesses. Some of our participants are converting their skills or products into a business for the first time, while others are scaling their informal or home-based business into a more formal store-front or internet-based business. In either case LEAP! provides guidance and tools for evaluating the business idea and bringing the idea to market. LEAP! is also a community economic development (CED) tool for community-based organizations (CBOs) whereby they can increase the supports for small business development and growth.
Goals of LEAP!
- Teaching the Lean Start-up method so that potential entrepreneurs can evaluate and structure their initial business ideas;
- Testing venture ideas in a “safe space to fail” to allow entrepreneurs a chance to pivot or walk away without investing a great deal of resources.
- Connecting participants to local and provincial networks of small business and economic development practitioners that can support ideation and growth;
- Capacity-building for partners in rural and remote communities to initiate, deliver, and evaluate entrepreneurship programs as tools for community economic development.
- Promoting new approaches to socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable enterprise development to economic development stakeholders in Western Canada.