Local Entrepreneur Acceleration Program

The Local Entrepreneur Acceleration Program (LEAP) aims to support diversity in small business ownership across South Carolina by providing minority and women entrepreneurs with business plan development support, technical skills, and the chance to compete for a startup capital award.

Thanks to support from Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital, SC Community Loan Fund launched LEAP in 2019. We have hosted five LEAP rounds since the program was established. These programs have brought in a total of 69 participants, resulting in the completion of 54 business plans. A total of $130,000 in seed capital funding has been awarded through the program to help build a more diverse small business economy in South Carolina.


LEAP is an intensive ten week course during which small business owners expand their business knowledge. The course culminates in participants refining their business plans and presenting them for a chance to win a capital investment. The three entrepreneurs with the strongest business plans will receive $5,000, $10,000 or $30,000 startup capital awards. All LEAP graduates leave the program with the ability to seek business financing as well as a comprehensive business plan.


Cycle 1
Application Period: January 3 - February 4
Decision Notification: late February
Classes: March 8 - May 10
Pitch Nights: May 31 - June 2

Cycle 2
Application Period: April 25 - May 27
Decision Notification: mid May
Classes: June 28 - August 30
Pitch Nights: September 20 - 22


Any entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs interested in developing or expanding a business in South Carolina can apply to participate in LEAP cohorts during the application period.

Subscribe to the SCCLF newsletter to stay up to date on programs news, including upcoming cohorts.

Download the program application user guide here.

There is a nonrefundable $100 course fee to be paid after acceptance into LEAP.

Questions? Contact SCCLF Program Coordinator Greg Perry at greg@sccommunityloanfund.org to learn more about current or future sessions.