LEAP 2013 was our very first-ever LEAP, and it was a resounding success. We had 19 students representing six different schools, and their businesses ranged from a skateboarding clothing company, to a children's toy company, to a sports drink startup, to an innovative digital media streaming box. By the end of LEAP, four out of the nine teams were already grossing revenue, and two were actually approached by investors!
During LEAP, the students learned from a highly experiential curriculum that included lessons on public speaking, graphic design, advertising, social media, dressing better, and writing emails; they ate from delicious Cleveland eateries like Melt, Piada, and Dave's Cosmic Subs; they visited Cleveland attractions like the food trucks on Walnut street, Leandog, Coventry, and Legacy Village; and they heard from speakers such as Hal Becker (national sales expert), Bob Shearer (CEO of largest potato chip manufacturer in the world, Shearer's), and young author Jordan Castro.
Below are the week-by-week recaps!
Students were introduced to the LightHouse Ohio team and awesome workspace at LaunchHouse. They learned the unique customer validation model we teach and went to Legacy Village to test it out. On Thursday, they compared notes and ate from a delicious taco bar at Abuelo's. On Friday, they did their first reports out, heard from successful entrepreneur Eric Golubitsky from Gtail, and competed for a Chipotle gift card.
Week 2 was a busy week. Students learned photojournalistic techniques from Jared Rube, participated in our signature (and hilarious!) public speaking presentation/activity, learned three different tie knots for different occasions, learned the difference between "business casual" and "modern professional" dress, and started to create a budget with the help of BudgetEase.
Week 3 was LightHouse's Tech Week. Students learned a ton of technical skills, including creating a landing page, graphic design, logo design, branding, elevator pitches, and photo editing. In addition, students ate from Jimmy John's and visited design firm LeanDog on the shores of Lake Erie!
Week 4 was the product week. By the end of the week, each of the students had created a minimum viable product that they could show to potential customers or investors. The students were taught lessons on social media popularity by author Jordan Castro, visited ThinkBox on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, and traveled all over Cleveland picking up resources to build their products.
During Week 5, students prepared for the LEAP Demo Day. They made significant progress on their startups, along the way visiting an Eaton Manufacturing Plant, listened to national sales expert Hal Becker speak, and had a Q & A session with Bob Shearer, CEO of Shearer's Chips, the largest potato-chip manufacturer in the world.
Demo Day was the culmination of LEAP. It was an event held on the last Friday, and parents, teachers, and members of the community all came to hear the students give presentation on their businesses and the progress they had made during LEAP. We packed the house; see the full recap to read about the all-star panel of judges we invited and all the press we got!
If LEAP sounds interesting to you, then consider applying to LEAP 2014! Applications close April 30.
Some of students' best experiences include:
-"Eating at the food trucks on Walnut Street!" -Patrick P.
-"When sales expert Hal Becker came in and gave the best speech on marketing I've ever heard." -Charlie N.
-"Learning how to use the 3D printer at ThinkBox." -Felix B.
-"Going on the boat to tour LeanDog!" -James G.
-"When Vibhu taught us the right color combinations to wear in an interview." -Taylor L.
-"Finally being able to make a website." -Kevin L.
“LEAP was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I discovered what it actually means to be an entrepreneur in today’s society.” —Jacob Roscoe
“LEAP provided me with the all of the experience and contacts I needed to jump-start my business!” —Megan Porter
“The importance of LEAP is that it teaches you not only how to run a business effectively, but it shows you a different way to look at the world through the lens of the entrepreneurial.” —Philip Hedayatnia