Kootenay Employment Services is located on 11th Avenue North.

Creston’s Kootenay Employment Services hosting second entrepreneurship accelerator program

Web Lead

  • Mar. 7, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Following up on the success of last year’s Local Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (LEAP), Kootenay Employment Services (KES) is looking for six successful applicants for a second round.

The 13-week program, a collaboration with Simon Fraser University, offers social entrepreneurs help with the training, mentorship and community connection they need to develop an idea into sustainable business.

“This is a hands-on, practical approach to idea incubation that leaves participants with the skills and confidence to create with boots-on-the-ground action,” said Amber McGregor, a LEAP facilitator. “This is a fast-track program that gives Creston participants access to some of the best entrepreneurial content available, coupled with a highly supportive environment to put it into action and evaluate results as you go.”

KES is providing tuition and materials worth about $2,000 to successful applicants, who could be non-profit champions with project ideas that could make money to further their mission or entrepreneurs with a business idea that could help the community.

“Their dedication is hours,” said McGregor. “They do not have to put any money up.”

McGregor will lead drop-in sessions each week, while Jason Found runs weekly evening classes. On top of that, participants have access to other KES staff, including those dealing with Web support and graphic design. Participants are also expected to put in about four to eight hours of independent work each week.

The deadline for application is March 18, with the first evening class slated for April 6. At the end of the course, participants will take part in a “barn raising”, in which paying community members will select one enterprise to take home the event’s admission fees to kick-start their business.

At last year’s “barn raising”, four participants presented their ideas to the audience, with Ilana Cameron’s Honeybird Coffee Roasters taking the top spot.

“If I hadn’t been a part of LEAP, my business would still be a dream,” said Cameron. “I wouldn’t have the skills, tools or connections that the program gave me. The peer and community support that I have now are especially important. I feel a real motivation to honour that support and pay it back to community.”

For more about LEAP, contact Kootenay Employment Services at 250-428-5655.

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