The past three months at the Leap Startup League have flown by fast and have genuinely been very fulfilling; the workshops on Wednesdays became one of those things that I look forward to every other week. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the delivery of the program being different from usual; we were told the usual workshops delivered on campus were open to the public and anyone can attend. Having the program offered online has indeed been a blessing for me as commuting from my workplace to the University of Toronto Mississauga campus can be challenging.
Overview of the Leap Startup League
Leap Startup League is a 12-week program to help bring a startup idea to life. The program covers a wide variety of topics such as market research, prototyping, digital marketing, finance, and sales. The support one could get from the program includes (1) biweekly workshops, (2) ongoing support with the assigned mentor, and (3) access to the connections with the City of Mississauga and the University of Toronto Entrepreneurship community.
Even though the program is not as condensed as the 500 Founder Academy, there are still expectations to complete the pre-work before each workshop session. This format inspires the members to spend time reading the content over the two weeks, coming up with questions for the next workshop, and applying what was discussed in the workshop to our own startup. Other than participating in the workshops, monthly discussion with the assigned mentor is mandatory to be eligible to receive the LSL funding. With these two requirements, the structure and expectations for the members in the cohort became very clear. The contents covered in the workshops are educational, but to apply the materials covered in the workshop into our own startup would require a lot of experimentation on our own time. The assigned mentors would then discuss, challenge, and clarify the next steps of the startup.
Suggestions for the Program
I do have some suggestions to make the program better. I will say one big part of being in a cohort is socializing with people from the program, both the other entrepreneurs and the staff. Compared to the 500 Founder Academy, I felt way more distant from my fellow entrepreneurs in the following cohort. As an entrepreneur who is very social, it is very unfortunate that I can only name one founder’s name by the end of the program. Even though the 500 Founder Academy cohort was big, I could still make meaningful connections with four other startup founders, two city official staff, and one 500 Global staff. Being online is definitely different from in-person, but we should try our best to make the cohort feel like a community. Whether it is a weekly social on zoom or a 30-minute social before the workshop, these socials can help the program’s participants feel more like an incubator rather than sitting in an online class. Despite me trying my best to socialize with one another, ending the call as soon as the workshop is over makes it very challenging to connect with others.
Overall, the program is still fantastic. We at Tenatch are truly thankful for the Leap Startup League program; the workshops and the mentorship have helped us progress our startup. ICUBE at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Edge at Sheridan College has been an integral part of the Tenatch’s story. It will always be part of Tenatch’s history. Thank you to everyone for making the program possible. These past three months were super exciting. We wish all the entrepreneurs and everyone in the Leap Startup League Fall 2021 Cohort all the best moving forward. The end of the cohort is not the end of the entrepreneurial journey; instead, it is the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey. I look forward to the day where our paths cross again.
THANK YOU ICUBE UTM
THANK YOU EDGE SHERIDAN
THANK YOU CITY OF MISSISSAUGA
The Leap Startup League will be an excellent choice for those interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, and I will encourage you to apply to the program! I hope you will benefit from the program as much as we did. You can apply to the program here.