Leap IN: We’re Halfway There

Posted on June 2, 2017 by Alex Jaworiwsky

Photo by Suzanne Carroll.

We just finished our fourth week of Leap IN which means we’re almost halfway through. Time flies when you’re having fun!


The Beginning

Our first few weeks were spent on Fanshawe’s main campus, becoming acquainted with the program and each other. We have ten youth entrepreneurs with vastly different businesses and goals, but their ability to work together and collaborate has been phenomenal.


We learned about Dreaming Big and Being Bold with Paula Morand; Really Nerdy Data Sheets with Jennifer Wright; ran through a Business Model Canvas with Erika Oakes; how to establish and maintain a brand with Janice Hyde; and how to set up a great booth at any trade show with Wella Nolan.


Video by Nicole Coenen.

Travelling Incubator


The last two weeks were spent off campus in our very successful Travelling Incubator component. Week 3 was spent at UnLondon, where the group learned about Doing It Yourself and dabbled in content creation. Several of our product-driven entrepreneurs held a little photoshoot with Kelvin looking quite comfortable in front of the camera.

Photo by Nicole Coenen.


Week 3 was also exciting because three of our entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition at Innovation Works for the Canada 150 Years of Social Innovation celebration. And it wasn’t just any pitch competition – it was a rap battle! Nicole Snobelen of Evelynn by Nicole Snobelen, Lisa Dawson of Four Elks, Tyler Bryden of SixFive Interactive, and Greg Nakonecznyj of Fr8 Living Solutions all competed. And Greg won the prize of $500 for his business!


Annette Markvoort, Entrepreneurial Animator; Greg Nakonecznyj of Fr8 Living Solutions; Nicole Snobelen of Evelynn; and Lisa Dawson of Four Elks.


And the pitchers weren’t the only ones in the house. Kelvin and The Fritter Shop were satisfying our sweet tooths while Richard Gracious of Mountain of Wolves and Forest City Records was belting away on the first floor. And a special shout out to Nicole Coenen for taking photos and video of the whole thing!


Speaking of Innovation Works, that’s where we spent Week 4, learning about social innovation and flourishing business model canvases with Megan O’Neil-Renaud and Julie Forrester. We opened up with a yoga session with Evonne Sullivan to remind everyone to practice self care while working hard on their businesses. We also joined in on Wednesday’s Salad Club and James swept us off our feet with swing dancing on the main floor.


Video by Nicole Coenen.

One Brag One Drag


Another great series that we practice weekly is One Brag, One Drag where local entrepreneurs come in to speak about the highs and lows of their businesses and share their stories. Everyone gets a chance to talk about things that have worked out and things that have … run into a few hiccups over the week and it’s a great opportunity to realize that no business runs smoothly. Thanks to Rokshana Purdy of Purdy Natural, Roozbeh Showleh of Run Out Records, and Michelle Baldwin at Innovation Works for their stories!


“Running a business isn’t hard. You just have to be ready for a never ending checklist.”


Looking Forward to the Rest


We still have five weeks left, but if the first four are any indication, they will fly by! Never a dull moment when you’re an entrepreneur and we at Leap Junction feel so lucky to be able to share in these adventures. If you’d like to learn more about each of our entrepreneurs, click on their businesses below:


Lisa Dawson – Four Elks

Kurtis Beckett – Kurtech CNC

Greg Nakonecznyj – Fr8 Living Solutions

Nicole Snobelen – Evelynn by Nicole Snobelen

Nicole Coenen – North Cut Studios

Richard Gracious – Forest City Records

James Booth – Swing London

Alayna Hryclik – Soft Flirt

Kelvin van Rijn – The Fritter Shop

Suzanne Carroll – Dandelion Snap