On April 5th, LEAP Worldwide was honored to receive on award at the 2017 Entrepreneurial Oscars, an awards show that aims to celebrate the amazing innovative efforts in the Ann Arbor and University of Michigan communities. LEAP received The Wingspan Award, which was meant to recognize the startup that reached the farthest and widest while carrying out its mission, and connected people and places from great distances across the globe.
Receiving this award triggered the LEAP team to reflect upon our last quarter of hard work, and we wanted to update all of you on our progress. What started as just an idea for our founder Ainsley McCallister has grown into a business, a team, and a blossoming community. Here’s a few ways we got here. We will be implementing and testing specific features to be applied first to the field hockey community before we expand to other sports with that valuable experience.
Recently, LEAP Worldwide was accepted into the Conquer Accelerator program! This program includes $20,000 in funding and ten weeks of hands on mentorship and training. Needless to say, we are so excited to participate as part of the 2017 cohort this June, and with the help of the funding and priceless mentorship that will be available to our team, we will be making your experience with LEAP Worldwide better than ever before. This will include strides in our software development and user experience! We plan to have a re-launch of our new platform during the course of this program introducing the new features- stay tuned! We will be implementing and testing specific features to be applied first to the field hockey community before we expand to other sports with that valuable experience.
LEAP’s team leader Ainsley is also currently participating in the SPARK Boot Camp program! The Boot Camp is for early stage companies looking to grow their businesses in multiple ways. For our team, the focus has been primarily on customer discovery. This has led to Ainsley to travel all over the U.S. to network with athletes and coaches to discover how LEAP can best meet their needs. She’s carried out this customer discovery at dozens of universities and colleges in the country, including Harvard, the University of Michigan, Brown, Boston College, UConn, Tufts, UMass, Michigan State, Smith, Yale, Northeastern, Providence, and University of North Carolina. Ainsley ended up speaking to players from ten different countries! She sends a huge thanks to the coaching staff and athletes for their time and awesome ideas! We are excited to build our platform off of their feedback!
Additionally, we are excited to announce that Gryphon hockey has become a supporting partner of LEAP! We are excited to start working with the GTeam this summer to expand our network, learn more about hockey in various locations, hear more abroad stories and experiences, and help promote the brand that is pushing the limits in a dynamic global market. “Gryphon Life” encompasses our vision of fully enjoying the journey that sport can take you on throughout the world. As Gryphon says, they “strive to provide a range to not only the best players, but all players alike,” and LEAP intends to open up doors for players to compete no matter at what level they’re playing, helping individuals and teams to Learn, Enjoy, Achieve and Perform their best!
Lastly, we are happy to say that Ainsley has successfully built a team of seven passionate and hard- working people. Of course, Ainsley herself is at the helm, and all of us at LEAP could not ask for a better leader. She leads by example, and her drive to succeed encourages the rest of the team to follow suit. Only 13% of CEOs in the United States are female, and its thanks to innovators like Ainsley that young women will be inspired to become entrepreneurs and beat that statistic. As for the rest of the team, we have Zach Nagelvoort and Christiana Cromer on marketing, Kara Hall and Andrew Hausman on business development, Lauren Turner on global outreach and Ashely White as our new software developer. Our team is made up of young and excited individuals who each bring something unique to the table. Look out for an upcoming blog where you’ll be able to learn more about each team member and their role with LEAP Worldwide!
To date, also helping out on the business development front, we’ve had amazing work from Graphic Designers Brienne O’Donnell and Gem Whiting, Software Developer Bryce Kaiser, Grad Student Helen Steinhauser and MBA Kelly LaPierre. As you can see, LEAP wouldn’t be where it is today without the contribution of so many brilliant people!
So far, we’ve built an exciting international community of over 500 users from 20 different countries. We’ve connected with dozens of athletes who are excited to share their experiences through the LEAP blogs and connect with other players and coaches from across the globe. We know it isn’t perfect and we know there will be more bumps in the road to come, but we want to ensure all of our users that each team member is working hard in pursuit of our goals, and we have big plans for the future.
Ainsley exaggerates that we got to this point through the support of so many awesome individuals, and she believes LEAP will continue to grow by the same means. She says,
I’m so thankful for all the people who have supported the vision of LEAP Worldwide from the very beginning, sharing their stories and knowledge about hockey around the world and lending countless hours brainstorming about how to best build out this global community. I’m constantly blown away by the generosity and passion of the international hockey community, and it never ceases to amaze me how sports break down borders. I’m very excited to get our platform revamped and continue working together to make the world of sport smaller, easier to navigate, and with many, many more opportunities!
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with suggestions on how to make LEAP Worldwide the best it can be! All feedback is welcomed and appreciated. And as always, if you’re new to the platform, sign up with LEAP Worldwide to learn more about our mission, and to connect with hundreds of athletes from all over the world.
Join our always growing global family by clicking below! And, follow us on social media @LeapWorldwide for more awesome content and updates on the LEAPers!