Launch Academy announces $100,000 'Launch Your Startup' program

$100,000 worth of scholarships available for up to 300 aspiring entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19.

Ray Walia and Launch Academy, a leading organization for supporting entrepreneurs, are expanding their programming to the tune of $100,000 in scholarships for up to 300 entrepreneurs.

Why it matters: While being an entrepreneur is challenging at the best of times, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the difficulties in building a business from the ground up. This program seeks to empower and support those who are willing to take that leap. 

Details: The program is tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs who, as a result of the pandemic, have seen their hours reduced or lost their jobs entirely. Launch Academy seeks to empower them to explore their entrepreneurial goals and dreams.  

In addition to the financial support, entrepreneurs in the program will receive supervision and direction for their business. The program, referred to as a “journey” by Launch Academy, provides a series of mentorship opportunities. These include a chance to validate a startup idea to examine if it’s worth going after and the intricacies of pitching investors, amongst other areas for growth. 

Launch Your Startup was also driven by the everyday changes we have all faced due to the pandemic. “I wasn't able to travel,” Walia recalled on a recent Vancouver Tech Morning Coffee. “I had to figure out what I can do with my time and one of the things was to try revamping our education program. It started with me just recording a few videos and led to rebuilding the entire program.”

The bigger picture: Launch Academy was founded upon values that also emanate from this program. “Set up as a non-profit in 2012, Launch Academy started as a simple idea: a few desks and a vision to get aspiring entrepreneurs out of mom and dad’s garage and into an environment around fellow entrepreneurs.” The idea of escaping “mom and dad’s garage” feels particularly timely as many have been reunited with their childhood homes as COVID-19 rolls along. 

The pandemic might also act as the push that some entrepreneurs need to chase their dream. Innovation, at times, is driven by instability and change. The Launch your Startup program may serve as the catalyst to get these innovators moving. 

The bottom line: “In the past year and a half, the world has simultaneously been in a state of constant change and come to a jarring halt. This has been a difficult time for a lot of people, but in particular for the younger workforce. Fortunately, a few of these workers have started to explore entrepreneurship and are aspiring to launch their own startups. Launch Academy, which is for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, is stepping in to help,” Walia said in the program release.