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.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Program runs over 8 months, and varies by community/location:
- Airdrie – February to October
- Canmore – September to June
- Cochrane – September to June
- Edson/Hinton – September to June
- Okotoks – February to October
- Red Deer – February to October
- 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
Will vary by community/location (sponsorship/grants in each area is different)
- SMARTstart Canmore
- SMARTstart Cochrane
- SMARTstart Edson
- SMARTstart Hinton
- SMARTStart Okotoks
- SMARTstart Red Deer
Application & Selection Process
To join SMARTstart, you much first apply and be accepted into the program.
- SMARTstart Airdrie: October
- SMARTstart Canmore: May
- SMARTstart Cochrane: May
- SMARTstart Edson: May
- SMARTstart Hinton: May
- SMARTstart Okotoks: October
- SMARTstart Red Deer: November
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.