LEAP! Local Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program

What is LEAP!?

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.

LEAP! is an initiative of SFU's Community Economic Development program, and is delivered in partnership with community-based organizations.

Communities with strong local economies are more resilient, have a lower carbon footprint, and are better insulated against global economic ups and downs.

Towns with higher numbers of locally-owned businesses fair better on nearly 30 indicators of well-being and enjoy fewer incidences of poverty.

How does LEAP! work?


LEAP! is hosted by a partner organization in the community. The partner organization recruits participants and provides a classroom. SFU provides a proven program delivery model, with live online instruction and support.

  • • small classes (5-7 people)


Eric Alex, Siatlesten, is co-founder of Aboriginal consulting company, Radical Raven Consulting Inc.

eric-alex-2A graduate of SFU’s Community Economic Development program, Eric is currently a graduate student in the executive MBA program at SFU.

Prior to founding Radical Raven Consulting, Eric served Cheam First Nation as Executive Director for five years. His knowledge base includes: community economic development, strategic planning, business development, coaching, public speaking, negotiations and public administration.

In his volunteer time, he serves on the boards of the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of BC, the Indigenization Committee of the Senate of the University of the Fraser Valley and is Vice President of the First Nations Technology Council.




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Michelle Morton

Share-There Enterprises Inc., Roberts Creek, B.C.
Michelle Morton joined LEAP! with hoping to boost the economic well-being of local women. With the support of LEAP! she developed Share-There, an app for free ride sharing. It also supports community events, and local businesses by providing on-line ticket sales and services.
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Johan Stroman

Coast Car Co-operative, Gibsons B.C.
Johan Stroman launched Coast Car Co-operative in January, 2014. Coast Car Co-op has now grown to a 150 driver, five vehicle car-share on the Sunshine Coast.
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Ilana Cameron

Lark Coffee Roasters, Creston B.C.
Ilana Cameron took LEAP! in 2015, winning the people’s choice award at the final gala event. Lark Coffee Roasters supports sustainable farming practices by sourcing beans ethically. Through LEAP!, Ilana has made a job for herself with a business that has tremendous potential for growth.
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Maryanne Smith

Health Access NP, Sechelt B.C.
Maryanne Smith launched a nurse practitioners clinic after taking LEAP! in 2015. Health Access NP Inc. provides primary health care and medical foot care to over 100 regular clients both in the office and through home visits. Her business is thriving, and provides a much needed service to the Sunshine Coast.



COMMUNITY FUTURES SUNSHINE COAST offers financing, training, and advisory services for small businesses and entrepreneurs on the Sunshine Coast. Community Futures organizations have been dedicated to promoting rural economic development for over 20 years.

KOOTENAY EMPLOYMENT SERVICES supports Kootenay clients to find work, navigate a career change, access retraining or start their own businesses.

Contact Us

If you are a community-based organization interested in partnering with SFU to bring LEAP! to your community we want to hear from you!