2018 LEAP! Intakes
The next LEAP! starts on January 16, 2018. Cut-off for applications is January 5th, 2018. Contact am@kes.bc.ca today! Read more about LEAP! below.

Introducing the 2017 LEAP! crew:

Meet Rachele Justus of Kind Cosmetics:  She is the visionary behind a brand new line of cosmetics including velvet cream blush, silky satin eye shadow, luxurious mineral foundations, and delicately sensuous lotions made from specially sourced ingredients. Using as many organic materials as possible, she focuses on beauty from the inside out. After struggling to find both a beauty product and a beauty message that she felt empowered by, she decided to build her own. She wants her customers to feel as good about what they put on their skin as they do about who they are deep down. She has started product testing now and will be ready to reveal some special items at the upcoming Barnraiser.


Meet Lauren Sarnat of Ancient Touch Massage. Her passion is people and how they live in their bodies. She wants to reveal to her clients a restorative and refreshing experience for health and relaxation. New to the Creston Valley, she has brought her experience and training as a Registered Massage Therapist from Alberta. She is working at registering in BC and in the meantime, offering rejuvenating, pampering, and relaxation sessions.



Meet Warren Amas of Grass Roots Rod & Custom, an auto restoration and customization shop. He has over 12 years’ experience in the industry and is an enthusiastic lover of vintage automobiles passionate about every step that goes into restoring and preserving the classics. Warren has high mechanical aptitude with the keen eye of an artist. It is a beautiful marriage. Over the years, collectors keep asking him for specialized work in old iron and he has built a reputation for delivering outstanding vehicles. The proof is his customers as their vehicles have won numerous car show awards, most recently 1st Place for Model A.



Meet Heather Viers the sole artist and operator behind Zenith Henna. This beautiful body art captivates both the wearer and the witness. She has been doing henna artistry for 5 years dedicating untold hours to develop her skill and gleaning expertise from world renowned artists at training workshops in California. She is in love with the gorgeous designs and rich history of the art form developing many original pieces. She has built a strong festival business and is now adding private parties and individual bookings as options. She is currently taking appointments for events like baby showers, birthday parties, ladies events and pre-festival bookings.



Meet Dylan Fladhamer of Coffee and Arrows Paleo Coffeebar. Dylan and his partner, Crestonite Cherie Luke have a vision for a coffeebar that is for everyone, including those with food sensitivities, allergies and special diets. They are opening a space that makes it possible for everyone to eat with pride in the local ingredients, delight in all the tasty guilt-free options, and participating in a movement to reduce waste and positively impact the environment. Expect to sip one of the best coffees of your life featuring beans from 2015 LEAP! winner Ilana Cameron of Lark Coffee Roasters.



Meet Danika Peltzer of Luv at First Bite Desserts and Confections. Locally born and raised, she went to school and trained under some of the best chefs in the industry gaining her professional experience at the Grand in Kelowna. She believes that each dessert she offers is a work of art, a gift for each guest, and so they are handcrafted with individual attention and care that respects the ingredients used. Local ingredients and local suppliers are important to her and she goes right to the farm when she can to source her products. When you support her, you support a community.



And what kind of environment are we bringing them into?

This is the question that is most on my mind going into the Barnraiser Event. Now that the participants have done their part and tested their ideas, worked hard to adjust and massage the concepts, and finally have something to share with us all.  I question, “What do we as a community need to do to support them.” “What is the business culture we are creating in Creston?” “And is it likely to be a positive effect on them as they move into developing sales and revenue?”

The time is now! This night will be a celebration of what the LEAP! participants have done to get this far AND it will be a chance for the community to welcome them and demonstrate support for their success.


Previous LEAP! Participant Profiles:


Danika Peltzer
Luv at First Bite
Desserts & Confections

Heather Viers
Zenith Henna

Warren Amas
Grass Roots Rod & Custom

Dylan Fladhamer
Paleo GO

Miranda Wolfe
Littlejoy After-School Workshops & Gallery

Aaron Carter
On The Farm Welding

Tessa Park
T Lane Design & Wreckroots Vintage


The LEAP! Program….

LEAP! Is an accelerator program designed to help you kick-start your inspired idea and test it live.

Kootenay Employment Services and Simon Fraser University are collaborating for the third year to bring Creston Valley entrepreneurs access to a powerful startup launch program.  The Local Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program (LEAP!) process is a 13-week program designed to help entrepreneurs evaluate their business idea, test their model, and modify it to create a sustainable business. LEAP! takes a fast-paced, hands-on, community-based approach to idea incubation.  The approach is proven: it has helped to launch successful enterprises in many parts of rural BC – from micro-breweries to car-share coops. Participants come away with the skills and confidence to do the boots-on-the-ground work that will get their business operational.  LEAP! gives participants access to cutting-edge entrepreneurial training and provides  a supportive environment to put theory into action and evaluate results as they go.  Next program start January 2018.


http://sfuleap.ca/         http://www.kes.bc.ca


LEAP!!  = Expert instructors and mentors

+ Weekly classroom sessions led by SFU instructor and serial entrepreneur Eric Alex

+ Weekly supported drop-in sessions led by KES facilitator Amber McGregor

+ 4-8 hours/week of independent effort

+ “Barn raiser” gala event to share your new venture

+ Cash award and prizes to the top enterprise as voted by the gala ticket holders

Entrepreneurs with an inspired business idea who need some practical structure, tools, and support evaluating viability.  This could include non-profit champions with project ideas that could make money to further their mission. Former 2016 LEAP! Barnraiser participants is available here.

The next LEAP! starts on January 16, 2018. Cut-off for applications is January 5th, 2018.

Contact KES and mention LEAP! We will walk you through an easy process to determine your eligibility and answer any questions you have. Eligible candidates will be invited to submit a program application.  A selection committee will review applications and select 6 participants for the accelerator program. Participants will be selected based on the strength of their business concept and their dedication to testing and growing their idea.

LEAP! Training is valued at over $2,000/participant. Funding provided by the Government of Canada though the Canada-British Columbia Job Fund and support from KES is covering the entire training program cost.

Interested? Call 250-428-5655 or Email am@kes.bc.ca


Funding provided by Ministry of Jobs, Tourism & Skills Training