Kara Leftley – Futurpreneur

Innovation Place Tenant Feature

Her business cards have something more formal on them (Business Development Manager), but mere moments into a conversation with her, you’ll immediately know that Kara Leftley’s role is actually that of Professional Problem Solver.

Kara wears all the proverbial hats and speaks with an energy that’s contagious—she’s passionate and knowledgeable, and if you’re an entrepreneur who’s curious about anything from financials to funding and business plans to benefits, she’s the one you want to meet.

As a Business Development Manager at Futurpreneur, located in the Concourse building at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, Kara helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses and conquer challenges by connecting them with pre-launch coaching, online resources, financing guidance and mentoring.

She’s a graduate of the Edwards School of Business (with a major in management) and has worked at SREDA’s Square One Centre for Entrepreneurship—experience that honed her passion for the success of small businesses and made her the perfect go-to person in Futurpreneur Canada’s Saskatchewan office.

Futurpreneur is a national, non-profit organization that provides support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39. The organization provides access to funding that’s traditionally easier to attain by those who are older and can draw from credit and experience.

With every loan dispersed, the recipient entrepreneur is paired with a business expert from a network of volunteer mentors. According to a study conducted by Futurpreneur, 80% of small business owners in the program attribute their success after five years to their mentor. Entrepreneurs are typically paired with a mentor with an opposite skill set or career experience that will help advance the new business in some way. “It’s a strong bond between the two parties that ultimately leads to success and growth,” Kara explains.

But bear in mind that Futurpreneur’s resources aren’t exclusively for business in the loan-acquisition phase. Futurpreneur offers a free Cash Flow Template and a free Business Planner right on their website, as well as interactive videos and other helpful resources that you can access before you work with a problem-solving expert like Kara. As she puts it, these free tools offer excellent value. “They will ask about your unique value proposition, your marketing plan and how it all integrates together. Answering these questions are great preparation to becoming investment-ready.”

If starting a new business is on your to-do list for 2019, be sure to get in touch with Kara. She’ll point you in the right direction with helpful information on grants, equity investments, tax subsidies available in our province and in our country and much more. She also encourages entrepreneurs to get involved with the entrepreneurial community, “[…] like Innovation Place, where [you] can collaborate and connect with businesses and meet mentors. It makes a world of difference versus trying to go it alone.”

PS: Kara’s always on the lookout for business pros interested in mentoring with Futurpreneur. If you have over 15 years of experience in the corporate world or five years of experience running a successful business, she wants to hear from you! With more people getting involved in entrepreneurship every day, Futurpreneur requires more mentors from all types of businesses and organizations to support them.

For more information, visit the Futurpreneur website.

- February 1, 2019