LEAP offers entrepreneurs innovative tool for identifying helpful resources

Local entrepreneurs have a roadmap for navigating resources available in the Greater Lansing region through a new online guide launched in December through the Lansing Economic Area Partnership.

StartChart offers profiles and resources appropriate for various business stages. New and aspiring entrepreneurs will also find a useful set of exercises to help them get started on their business ventures. The guide is the latest tool and support system provided by LEAP through its New Economy Division to help nurture and grow a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Greater Lansing region.

"At LEAP, our goal is to connect our clients to resources throughout the region," says Tony Willis, director of the New Economy Division. "But we've seen that lots of folks don't know what we have to offer. We decided to address this by creating StartChart to help build awareness and visibility of these resources, and to help people make those connections."

StartChart is available in digital and printed form. Physical copies are available through Lansing area business incubators like the Allen Neighborhood Center and the East Lansing Technology Innovation Center. LEAP also put copies in the hands of organizations and groups like the Capital Area District Library, Delta Side Business Association and the Meridian Area Business Association. Plans are to expand distribution channels to include community centers as well.

StartChart, Willis explains, identifies and organizes resources by three business phases. Entrepreneurs will find resources charted along the idea, start-up and growth continuum, along with descriptions of each stage. LEAP also provides a profile of clients served within each phase so entrepreneurs can see an example of how resources and services may be applied.

StartChart joins other pieces in LEAP's entrepreneurial ecosystem including boot camps and seminars, The Hatch and The Hatching events, and the Lansing PROTO business accelerator. Willis says similar programs, tools and resources are typically found in major cities like Detroit, Columbus and New York—which places Greater Lansing in good company when it comes to fostering entrepreneurship.

"Our role in the New Economy Division is to create a culture and atmosphere where entrepreneurship can thrive in our region," says Willis. "At LEAP, we're mentors and dot connectors. That's why we say, 'Come talk with us. 'We can help you establish, develop and grow your business."

Source: Tony Willis, Director of the New Economy Division, LEAP
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor

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