A world-renowned pre-accelerator program, Lean LaunchPad is taught at over 200 universities worldwide, and back in February the team at Algonquin launched their very own version of the class. Although the AC version differed, in various ways, from the original, they both had at their core, the idea that participants ‘get out of the building’ to gather customer feedback to validate their business ideas.
Although LaunchPad participants came from diverse backgrounds (student, alumni, professors) with diverse ideas (a flexible sensor/grid + accelerometer for martial arts enthusiasts, to a phone support line for individuals with disabilities) all saw the program as a great stepping stone and support system, as well as a place to get much needed direction. “Lean Launchpad pushed me to quickly interview prospective clients for my business idea,” said Eric Barclay, of Bed Bug Safe Consulting. “Instead of spending a lot of time trying to push my product pre-maturely into the market, the program teaches you to go speak with businesses that you would want as clients to make sure that we’d be a viable market fit for them.”
Graduation night was a combination of networking, mentoring and pitching. A total of eight graduating teams pitched their inventive ideas to a wide range of established professionals from the local entrepreneurial community. Ecosystem participants including CollabSpace, Invest Ottawa, The Capital Angel Network, Ontario Centre of Excellence and MicroMetrics provided each participant with invaluable advice and guidance on how to move their business idea to the next level through a Speed Mentoring session comprised of 9 ‘mentorship stations’.
For the established entrepreneurs and people working in the Ottawa ecosystem the night provided an opportunity for them to give back and provide guidance to companies in their early stages. “It was enlightening to see so many strong pitches this evening,” said Stephen Davis, Early Stage Program Lead & Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Invest Ottawa. “I’m glad to see that the Lean LaunchPad program has done such a good job in providing guidance for these young entrepreneurs.”
A 6-month gathering is in the works so the entrepreneurs from Lean LaunchPad Cohort #1 can get together and update each other on how they have moved their idea even further.
Read more about the LaunchPad here.