Apply now! LEAP 2014

Do you:

  • Have a business/nonprofit/project idea you'd like to start this summer?
  • Already have a business/nonprofit/project that you'd like to further develop and expand?
  • Or are you just simply interested in learning about entrepreneurship but don't really know where to start?

If you answered yes to any of the previous three questions, LEAP (LightHouse Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program) might be the perfect summer program for you!

LEAP is LightHouse Ohio's and LaunchHouse's premier summer program for high  school entrepreneurs. We encourage you to check out the rest of the page below, including the download link for the LEAP Application .

(Even more details about LEAP can be found in our Official Information Packet!)


For a more in-depth look at the program, check out our summary of LEAP 2013.

LEAP is a summer accelerator program for high school students.

Every summer, LEAP takes some Northeastern Ohio's most promising student startups/ideas, and develops them over the course of a 6-week program.

 Students undergo an innovative curriculum adapted from LaunchHouse's actual business accelerator (more information below). We also bring in experts and mentors from around the community to individually work with our students. We as a group also visit and observe several big-name regional startups and corporations—in the past we've toured at Eaton, Thinkbox, and LeanDog, to name a few. Since there will be some students who have already made some progress in their startups, participants in LEAP will be taught individually at their own pace due to our high teacher: student ratio.

Through our strong partnership with LaunchHouse, students in our program will have access to personal mentors/experts, an amazing workspace, investment money, and other resources. Each student will initially be given $600 for their idea/business. There is even the the chance at the end of the summer to be invested in by our partners at seed-stage investment firm/incubator LaunchHouse.

LEAP is unique in that its faculty is comprised of half-students, half-adults. We provide both peer youth mentors and adult mentors with proven success. Also, as student entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how to work hard and have fun while doing it.

We highly recommend that students apply with co-founders, preferably in teams of 2 or 3. Students working alone are still encouraged to apply, and we will do our best to match them up with a co-founder if the need arises. We are very flexible with time and dates—if not everyone on your team can attend the full six weeks, we will work to accommodate you and your team.

LEAP is a free program. LEAP will run from June 23, 2014 to August 1, 2014. It will be held Mon-Fri, 10:00 am to 3:30 pm at the Shaker LaunchHouse. The application will close on April 30. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and students will be notified of their decision no later than five weeks after applying.


The subjects that LEAP will be teaching were carefully selected by LightHouse Ohio. We believe that knowledge of these skills not only serve one well in entrepreneurship, but in any career.

1. Improve Initial Idea (Business Model)

Lean startup methodology, Business model canvas, Product development, Monetizable customer complaint, Minimum viable product, Surveying the market & customer validation

2. Develop Interpersonal Skills (Professionalism & Communication)

Professionalism, Dressing better, Professional demeanor, Interviewing successfully, Speaking with mentors, Writing, Communicating via internet, Composing e-mails, Drafting documents and web text, Presenting Skills/Storytelling, Sales pitch, Modification based on audience, PowerPoint and Keynote

3. Learn Design & Technological Skills (Marketing & Surveying the Market)

Basic programming, Creating a webpage, Word press, Basic HTML, Basic Adobe Photoshop/photo editing

4. Understand Basic Finance & Legal Work (Design & Technological Skills with Application)

Forming a non-profit, Tax forms, Creating a Limited Liability Company, Articles of Operation, Operating Agreement

5. Develop & Execute Advertising Strategies (Legal Matters, Personal Finance, & e-Commerce)

Connections to Mentors, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google AdWords

6. Workforce/College Training (Sales Pitches, Final Presentation)

The Importance of Teamwork, Leadership training, Being a “Role Player”, Effective Resume Design for College & Jobs, Finding the Right College (Focus on Entrepreneurial Colleges)

Frequently Asked Questions

1) Is LEAP a live-away program?

Students must be able to provide their transportation to and from LaunchHouse every day of the program.

2) How does investment money work?

Every student startup in LEAP will have an initial fund of $600 depending on what they need to create a minimum viable product. Further investment in a student-created company is at the discretion of the LightHouse Ohio administration.

3) Is LightHouse Ohio a for-profit entity?

LightHouse Ohio is a group under the non-profit section of the Shaker LaunchHouse, which is partnered with the City of Shaker Heights Development Corporation. LEAP is a program designed and run by LightHouse.

4) Does one need a business idea to apply?

Although that is greatly preferred, we are willing to accept students with high creative potential but who have not come up with an idea at the time. We will either help them think of an idea tailored to their personal talents or match them up with a co-founder.

5) I already have a business. Can I still apply?

Of course! Due to the adaptive nature of our curriculum, we would focus our efforts on scaling and developing your business, and making you a more "complete entrepreneur" overall. In the past, we've accepted students already grossing revenue, and have helped them more than triple their income.

6) Can I apply alone?

Yes, especially if you believe your business/nonprofit/project can be run alone, at least initially. We will also make our best efforts to match you up with a team of other like-minded students. However, this would be the perfect opportunity to get your friends involved in whatever you're doing!

7) My partner(s) can't attend the whole 6 weeks. What should we do?

We're very flexible with this kind of situation. In your email when you submit your application, just let us know who can't be here full-time or who will be missing what dates, and we will work with you to accommodate you and your team.

About LightHouse Ohio


LightHouse Ohio is an entrepreneurial accelerator and incubator partnered with LaunchHouse that locates, validates and scales startups founded by Northeast Ohio high school students. Students receive access to workspace, mentors, investors and a community of entrepreneurs all in order to grow and be successful.

About LaunchHouse

LaunchHouse is a lean business accelerator in Shaker Heights that fosters entrepreneurial success and job creation through seed capital, education and innovation. Based in Northeast Ohio, the LaunchHouse mission is to recruit, nurture, and grow the Midwest's most promising startup companies not only through funding but also through mentorship and strategic business development resources. Visit for more information.