Kootenay Employment Services is located on 11th Avenue North.

Kootenay Employment Services is located on 11th Avenue North.

Creston Valley entrepreneurs pitching ideas at ‘barn raising’ event

Web Lead

  • Jun. 9, 2016 5:00 a.m.

After 13 weeks in the Local Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (LEAP), six future business owners are ready to share their plans in a “barn raising” event on June 16.

Aaron Carter, Jessica Piccinin, Tessa Lane Park, Miranda Wolfe, Rachel Wagner and Myrna Johnson will make presentations to guests at the event, the last part of their course, and will be seeking input.

“They have tested their theories. … They’ll know what the next piece is and ask for it,” said Amber McGregor, the facilitator for LEAP, a joint venture by Kootenay Employment Services and Simon Fraser University.

The presenters will be looking for more than simply customers — resources are key to their success.

“These are the types that businesses need — not just being customers, not just being super stoked,” she said.

Tickets to the event are $15 (available at Creative Fix, the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce and KES), and the proceeds will be passed on to the business venture that receives the most votes from guests.

“That is an investment into a business directly,” said McGregor.

This is the second year for LEAP, which had four potential businesses pitch to guests last year, with Ilana Cameron’s Honeybird Coffee Roasters (now Lark) earning the popular vote.

The ‘barn raising’, which will be held at Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery, will have a trade show feel to it, McGregor said, allowing guests to circulate between the LEAP participants’ stations.

The six offer a variety of ideas, including welding custom agricultural equipment (Carter), a portable smokie vending unit (Piccinin), sustainably sourced jewelry and fashion (Park), a maker space for aspiring artists (Wolfe), an evening coffee house to fund youth space (Wagner) and community research, promotion and marketing (Johnson). Some plans are farther along than others, but all are viable, said McGregor.

“I think most of them will create income this summer.”

While learning about the new businesses, the event also provides an excellent networking opportunity, both for those established in the community and for newcomers.

“You want to see the community thrive and be vibrant,” McGregor said. “This is a great place to come to meet people who are interesting and active.”