For those in difficult circumstances who are trying to start or grow a business

Leon Entrepreneurship and Adversity Program (LEAP) seeks to help those in the Big Bend region (Leon, Wakulla, and Gadsden counties) and other adjacent communities facing economic or other hardships to start and grow businesses of their own. The program lasts 10 months.

The Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship and the Jim Moran Institute at Florida State University manage the program in close partnership with local nonprofit groups, government offices, small businesses, and other university partners across Leon County. 


Program participants will benefit immensely from the Community Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs - a hands-on exposure to the fundamentals of launching and growing a successful venture. Taught by seasoned faculty, subject matter experts and successful entrepreneurs, the program occurs on six consecutive Saturday mornings in the fall from 8:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m., followed by a networking lunch.

Topics covered in the Community Bootcamp address all facets of a successful venture, ranging from the development of a viable business concept to understanding your market, designing your profit model, setting up operations properly, marketing your venture, and understanding the basic numbers. Our underlying focus is how to think and act in entrepreneurial ways—including how to do more with less—and how to grow a venture when you have little in the way of resources. The approach will be interactive, so participants will be encouraged to bring business ideas and challenges into the weekly discussions.

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We seek to:

Foster the creation of new, profitable ventures by those facing economic or other disadvantages

Assist existing small businesses owned by those with disadvantages in becoming sustainable and growing

Work with community members on the development of both the person as an entrepreneur and the business as a successful venture

Identify and share best practices in poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship

Measure and track the development and performance of entrepreneurs and their ventures based on program participation

Celebrate entrepreneurial achievements of those facing/overcoming adversity

Application Deadline: August 11, 2024

Session 1: August 24, 2024

Session 2: September 7, 2024

Session 3: September 14, 2024

Session 4: September 21, 2024

Session 5: September 28, 2024

Session 6: October 5, 2024

Mentoring: Begins October 2024

Consulting: Begins Spring 2025

Who is eligible to participate?

Anyone in the community who suffers from adverse economic, physical, or related circumstances is eligible to participate in the program. We focus on supporting community members living in poverty who have a dream of starting and growing a venture, including those who have already started a venture but are struggling.

What is the cost?

The cost of the program is $500. However, scholarships of $475 are available for anyone with financial need. All applicants are considered for scholarship. The $25 fee is due at the time of acceptance into the program or on the first day of the program (if previously agreed with the Program Directors). Payment information will be made available upon program acceptance.

How can I support the program?

We welcome the involvement of community members as volunteers, mentors, and donors. Questions?Please contact program directors, Susana C. Santos and Marina Lickson


Susana C. Santos, PhD
Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship
Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship
RSB 232


Marina Lickson
Director, Northwest Florida
Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship
JMB 305