Landmark College launched LEAP in 2016 to provide students with support in developing business plans and pitching their idea for the possibility of up to $10,000 of seed funding. The response to LEAP has been tremendous and the program continues to expand and grow. Today LEAP is a well-known entity on campus and an arena in which to build, test, and develop programming to support neurodiverse talent through communication, innovation, and action. LEAP is a member of ENACTUS, Fair Trade Colleges, and subscribes to the HubSpot Academy giving all students access to these networks and opportunities.
Programs: The following are examples of the many programs that make up the ever-growing LEAP network on campus.
- Radio, (student life)—LEAP supports WLMC student radio programs, advertising, marketing, and enterprise development in DJ events, beats mixing, and podcasts.
- Career Connectionsc (academics)—Through Landmark College’s Career Connections, LEAP hires interns, work-study students, managers, and provides an essential bridge between outside employment and employee and management skill development.
- Idea Lab—Founded by Landmark College students, the Idea Lab has become the heart of LEAP. It is a center filled with Legos, fabric arts, visual arts, games, and space to work, play, or simply relax. Look for our regular Maker Workshops and Idea Jam pizza parties.
- LEAP Club—Formed by Landmark College student entrepreneurs, this club sponsor trips, speaker series, workshops, and supports student entrepreneurs in their enterprise development and launching.
- Maker Space (Clark Johnson)—Tech meets innovation at the Maker Space home to laser cutters, 3-D printers, circuitry, and more. Staffed by and for students, the Maker Space is open to all and requires minimal training. LEAP on in and try it out!
- MiniLab—The classroom comes alive in the student’s hands. Here students use video and editing equipment to make pitch and product videos, social media posts, and animation. They use digital photography for studio shots and even work on classroom projects. LEAP hires student interns to run the MiniLab and hosts training workshops. The MiniLab is open to all regardless of experience.
- Entrepreneurship Day:—Every fall LEAP hosts Entrepreneurship Day, where neurodiverse entrepreneurs come to campus and share their stories, meet students, and assist in enterprise development and mentoring. The day includes an innovation workshop, catered lunch, and a mini-pitch competition. All are welcome.
- $10,000 Pitch Competition—Each year our campus entrepreneurs have the chance to pitch for a shot at a total of $10,000 in start-up funding. Training and coaching is provided by LEAP. Past Pitch winners include food delivery services, honey production, 3-D animation and virtual reality, security systems, and more. LEAP Pitchers often go on to pitch in other competitions at Harvard University and the Draper Competition.
- Shark Tank—All Pitch competition participants receive their own dedicated, secure, office space where they can run their enterprises. “Having an office space and storage is much better than working on my bed in my dorm room,” explained LEAP Entrepreneur, Martha Meigs.
- Harvard University Social Entrepreneurship Conference—Each spring LEAP students board the Shark Bus and travel to the Harvard University Social Entrepreneurship Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. Here students network with peers, pitch ideas, attend workshops, and find inspiration.
- Curricula—LEAP is tied in with the the Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership (BA-COMEL) degree and the Professional Studies Department. Many students taking classes in these areas can also get credit with work done with LEAP or using LEAP resources. LEAP is interdisciplinary and welcomes projects across campus including STEM and Fine Arts.
- Internships, Teaching Assistant (TA)—Each semester a student is selected from a pool of applicants to be a TA for the Entrepreneurship class and a LEAP intern. Often these students are entrepreneurs themselves. The TA experience helps students to deepen their entrepreneurship and leadership skills while sharing their experiences and enterprises with fellow students.
- Student Success Stories—(TBD)
Director: LEAP is directed and managed by Landmark College Assistant Professor Dr. Tamara Stenn who teaches in the Professional Studies Department. A third-generation, serial entrepreneur herself, Stenn set up entrepreneurship programs at Hampshire College and Mount Holyoke College before arriving at LC in 2015. Dr. Stenn is bilingual in Spanish and is the founder of New Visions Advertising, NOTICIAS Cono Sur newspapers, KUSIKUY Clothing Company, and A Perfect Seed Co-op. She created the Sustainability Lens Lens and is a Fulbright scholar.
“In my eyes, everyone is an entrepreneur. My job is to ignite the passion and energy in people for them to pursue their dreams and visions an make them into a viable reality. As entrepreneurs we have the power to change the world. With a sustainability lens, we can change it for the better.” –Dr. Tamara Stenn