Town of Canmore

SMARTstart

Entrepreneurs

To revitalize the strength of our economy, we will need entrepreneurs to step forward to be part of our new future. We want to help them be prepared to meet the unique financial risks of this time.

In partnership with the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce, we launched SMARTstart. This 8-month business training program includes training and mentorship with local business owners and is designed for local small business owners in their first three years of operating or entrepreneurs with a big idea to transform into action. 

- 2020 APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED -          

Click here to apply for the 2021-2022 class run from Sept. 2021 – April 2022


Mentors

Remember when you were just starting out in business? Your enthusiasm, the long hours, and just how much you wished you had someone to bounce your ideas off? SMARTstart is your chance to share your wisdom, business expertise, and lessons learned with entrepreneurs who are just getting into the game.

About the Mentorship Program

SMARTstart Mentorship is an opportunity for experienced business owners to the next generation of business owners. The goal is to increase the likelihood of success for local aspiring entrepreneurs by providing mentoring and guidance over an 8-month timeframe. Mentorship is just one part of the program. 

- 2020 APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED -        

Click here to apply for the 2021-2022 class run from Sept. 2021 – April 2022

 


 

FAQs

What is SMARTstart?
An entrepreneurial training program with three components: online learning, in-person seminars, and mentorship.

Interested in learning more about the program?
Click here to view an online recording of our information session. Password: 8b&3M50&
Who’s it for?
People with a business idea and new business owners in their first 3 years of operation.
How much does SMARTstart cost?
The cost to participate in the intensive, 8-month program is $305. Participants who complete the entire program will receive a 50% tuition fee rebate from the Town of Canmore.
Why take the program?
To increase the chance of a new business surviving those first crucial years.
If I already have a business plan, what plan do I create?
You can work on updating and enhancing your Business Plan. Or, you may choose to work on a Strategic Plan instead.
Can I save my application and come back and add to it later?
While the program we use allows you to come back and edit your form (provided you are on the same computer/device each time), we recommend you complete your form all at once to ensure you do not lose any of the answers you worked so hard to write.
After I apply, can I change my application or submit additional materials?
No. Your application is final after you submit it. Therefore, please take the time to ensure you’ve uploaded any supporting materials and answered the questions in full before you hit submit.
Are franchises eligible for SMARTstart?
Franchises independently owned and operated are eligible for SMARTstart.
Are multi-level marketing businesses eligible?
No, unfortunately we do not accept businesses who are part of a multi-level marketing, networking marketing or referral marketing organizations.
Can I have a day job and be part of SMARTstart?
Yes, many of our entrepreneurs also work full or part-time jobs. To accommodate this, the program is run over the course of 8 months. We also alternate our in-person seminars between lunchtime and evenings to accommodate work/personal schedules.
Who are the program’s mentors?
Mentors are local business owners with 5+ years of experience.
How are mentors and entrepreneurs paired?
Matching is based on the Mentor’s strengths and the Entrepreneur’s needs. Before they are paired, Mentors and Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to briefly meet at a networking evening. While both entrepreneurs and mentors have the opportunity to tell us who they would like to be paired with, SMARTstart organizers make the final matches.
Who Should Mentor? 
We are looking for Mentors who have:
Experience running a business for more than 7 years (Retirees welcome)
Approximately 30 hours (spread over 8 months) to volunteer their time with a new entrepreneur
Are Canmore locals
Understand and value the importance of business planning
What Does a Mentor Do?
The Mentor provides support and input as the Entrepreneur builds their business acumen. The Mentor’s role is to guide, not solve problems, or take on the Entrepreneur’s business dilemmas. Over the course of the 8-month program Mentors will:

Meet with their entrepreneur at least three times and be in regular touch by phone or email
Attend the welcome event, celebration event, and at least one peer-to-peer session
Be welcome to attend any of the in-person seminars for the entrepreneurs (optional but encouraged)
Be instrumental in assisting the entrepreneur as they create a plan (business, feasibility or strategic)
Participate in a mentor training/orientation session
How Does Mentoring Work? 
Mentors are paired with an entrepreneur for the duration of the program. Matching is based on the Mentor’s strengths and the Entrepreneur’s needs. Before they are paired, Mentors and Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to meet at a networking evening. Once paired, the first task is to complete a Mentor-Entrepreneur agreement to outline expectations, goals, and work out other details about the relationship.
How Do I Become A Mentor?
Mentors are chosen through an application process. Click here to apply now!

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