The first 3-5 years are challenging for small businesses – 1/3 businesses don’t survive past five years. However with training and resources, 80-90% succeed beyond 5 years.


SMARTstart not only is a training program – it is a community builder!

Creating a community that supports entrepreneurs leads to new businesses starting and expanding – a key part of your business sector growth. Studies have shown that small business is the driver for the economy. For every 100 jobs created in the private sector:

  • 55 jobs will be created by the expansion of existing local businesses
  • 44 jobs will be created by new start-up companies
  • 1 new job will be created by a greenfield corporate relocation


SMARTstart is a big commitment – with big rewards!

However, you will not be alone, the SMARTstart program manager will support and guide you along the way. We have put SMARTstart ‘in-a-box’ so that other communities can use what has been created and not start from scratch. We have created infrastructure that includes the following:

  • Marketing – brand and strategy
  • Website landing page
  • Program processes
  • Forms
  • Procedures & policies
  • Budget
  • Committee roles
  • Surveys to track growth (immediate, I year up to 5 years)
  • Evaluations (workshops, general program)

… plus multiple years of experience!



  • Measurable results
  • Increases awareness/profile of local resources that each partner provides
  • Creates a connection between established and new businesses
  • Builds a tool box of resources and support for the new business
  • Fosters a close knit entrepreneurial community that continues beyond the program and grows each year


SMARTstart Airdrie program results from 2014-2020:

Status at End of Program Participants %
Idea on Hold 14 11%
Idea in Development 13 11%
Started a Business 21 17%
Business Continues 27 22%
Business Expansion 34 28%
Withdrew/Incomplete 13 11%
Total 122