SMARTstart is not for everyone.

It’s designed for entrepreneurs who have a desire to grow/expand their business and can meet the demands of the program.


Time Commitment

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Program runs over 8 months, and varies by community/location.
  • Entrepreneurs spend about 40 hours completing online and in-person training
  • Seminar times alternate between lunch and evenings to accommodate work and personal schedules
  • Participants must be self-motivated and have the time necessary to complete their plan
  • Time with mentors is agreed upon and scheduled between the entrepreneur and the mentors. Mentors commit to spending about 30 hours assisting their entrepreneur.
  • It is estimated that SMARTstart takes about 10 hours a month time commitment


Entrepreneurs get out of SMARTstart what they put into it!


Who is Eligible?

  • People with an idea for a business
  • New business owners in operation for less than 3 years
  • Owner of a business in the participating Town/City.
  • 18 years of age or older


Businesses from any industry are welcome. SMARTstart is designed for entrepreneurs who have a desire to grow/expand their business.

Representatives from multi-level marketing companies are not eligible for the program. Independently owned and operated franchises are eligible to participate in SMARTstart.



Businesses owned by more than one person are considered partnerships. SMARTstart welcomes partner businesses who meet the following criteria:

  • Up to 2 partners from one business can participate in the program
  • Submit one application form per partnership (both partners will be on the same application)
  • Both partners must pay the participant fee
  • Both partners are expected to complete all components of the program


Program Cost

Will vary by community/location (sponsorship/grants/early bird pricing in each area are different).


Application & Selection Process

To join SMARTstart, you must first apply and be accepted into the program.

Application start dates will vary by location.

A committee made up of Business Advisors, Mentors, Bankers and Program Organizers review all applications. In some cases, applicants are interviewed.

Due to the popularity of SMARTstart, not all applicants are accepted into the program.