This fall, I had the pleasure of participating in the Launch Academy Lean Entrepreneur program, partnered with Emily Carr University and conducted through the Scotiabank PLATFORM Program for Young Entrepreneurs. The intensive four-week program, taught by the brilliant John Gray, had a focus on Lean Methodology and its importance in building a start-up company. With a range of talents and skills in the cohort, every class was a pleasurable experience and inspired new perspectives that fostered innovation. From the initial class, the cohort was separated into smaller groups to work in over the four-week period. Each group had to create a product that would ultimately be pitched in a mock presentation to ‘The Angels,’ as John often referred to investors.
It was within my first class, that I met Michael Majeski (Emily Carr student, Industrial Designer) and Matthew Yeung. The two were completely different; both with wonderful passions and range in experience. With excitement, I listened to Michael describe his love for bicycles and Matthew his current business within the realm of computer science. I eagerly described my passion for communication in all forms and the love I had for design. Utilizing all of these skills sets, together we formed the Find My Bike team.
Find My Bike, an idea originally envisioned by Michael, proposed a GPS tracking device that would fit inside the stem of any bicycle. The device would be able to locate the bike if stolen and keep it safely within the owner’s reach. During the first two weeks of the program, we eagerly used the Lean methodology as a framework to build the components of our start-up. Within each class, there were many team-building activities and presentations from guest lecturers. The third week was spent collecting research from our potential demographic and the Vancouver Police Department. Ultimately, these statistics led to a final presentation within our last class of the term. This pitch allowed the passion and work of each group to echo through their presentation.
The Launch Academy Lean Entrepreneur Program experience was invaluable in many ways. Firstly, the style and framework of the program speaks to the volume of innovation that can derive from it. The collaboration of many different industries was exciting within the classroom and sparked many new challenges in work styles. These challenges surfaced into opportunities, which benefited the entire cohort. Secondly, the speakers brought a range of experience and stories that referenced personal triumphs and struggles. This allowed each student to find similarities and contrasts within their own lives and practice. Furthermore, John brought obvious passion and excitement to each class, which motivated each individual to put forth their best efforts.
I am forever thankful for this wonderful opportunity and would highly recommend the Launch Academy program experience to anyone interested in pursuing a start-up venture. The program structure, amazing people, and facility created the perfect foundation, with only hopes of further innovation to come.
Thank you Jessica for the love! If you’re ready to join our November LEAP cohort, get your tickets here today