How to mind your own business with LEAP Junction

Header image for the article How to mind your own business with LEAP Junction Credit: FSU PUBLICATIONS DEPARTMENT
Fanshawe's entrepreneurship centre, LEAP Junction offers opportunities for students or alumni interested in uncovering the world of entrepreneurship.

Are you tired of waiting for your paycheque every two weeks? Leaving work at 5 p.m. daily? Constantly stressing to find ways to impress your boss and colleagues?

Perhaps you would appreciate being your own boss and creating your own schedule. You may have also noticed that you enjoy being a leader and managing a workplace.

Fanshawe’s entrepreneurship centre, LEAP Junction, provides services, events, workshops, and more for students or alumni interested in discovering the field of entrepreneurship. LEAP Junction’s Entrepreneurial Curator, Kelsey Currie explained that their services aren’t limited to those new to the entrepreneurship industry but to those already involved.

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“We work with students and alumni who are interested in starting or have already started, what we call a mixed-use incubator, which means that we help businesses across sectors of companies,” said Currie. “We can help businesses of any sector.”

One advantage of accessing LEAP Junction’s services is the ability to network and gain referrals into the community to help grow your existing business.

“So, anything from, ‘I woke up with an idea from a dream I had last night’ to really starting to get on the ground with you opening your first location, opening your website, kind of those early start-up phase things,” she added.

In addition to having a lot of support and resources, Currie emphasized that entrepreneurship requires hard work, dedication, and great discipline.

“I think it’s a great choice for people, especially any students interested in exploring,” she said. “Because you are in control, and I don’t want anyone to think that it’s less work. It doesn’t mean you only work three hours every day. If anything, it might actually be even more work, but it’s your work and your passion. It’s your hobby and something you genuinely care about. Increasingly, we live in a world where people need to stand up and fight for what they care about, and entrepreneurship is a great way to do that while still being involved in your careers. You know, you can be passionate about the environment or about empowering women, and you can make that into your career through entrepreneurship.

“People don’t generally come talk to Entrepreneurship Centre unless they’ve already decided that this is something they want to do. We work with very driven students, who really want to succeed in their businesses. We’ve had a lot of great success with that, and we have great success stories,” Currie added.

Some of LEAP Junction’s previous and current clients include The Photoshop, Taxably, and The Hot Sauce Co.

“The Photoshop was an early client of ours, nearly five or six years ago. Another great start-up that launched just in the last year is Taxably, a business that does online tech services for students and international immigrants. The Hot Sauce Co. is also a very interesting one, that’s an up and coming brand, where they make small batches of hot sauces. They’ve currently moved into another accelerator in the city. So, they’re doing some really cool stuff,” explained Currie.

LEAP Junction offers free services to students and alumni of Fanshawe College. Applications for their business accelerator program in the summer is open until March 1, 2022. The program will occur virtually, due to COVID- 19 restrictions, in the summer of 2022. The idea of the program is to help individuals develop confidence in their business. There are online sessions that occur daily for 12 weeks.

“This will be the sixth year that we’ve ran this program. It’s a program where we take in 20 students and alumni, we pay them $5,000 to come in and work on their business part-time for 12 weeks in the summer. Applications are open. We would love to see students apply for it and it’s going to be a brand new format this year. We’ve also expanded from 10 to 20 individuals in the program, so we’re really excited about this!”

More information can be found at www.leapjunction.ca.