YOU WANT TO GROW Your business. WE have a team to help.

AdvanceSMART is a new mentorship program for Airdrie entrepreneurs (Owners, CEOs, Presidents) who are experiencing high growth. This program matches a business with a team of three to four mentors to support building growth strategies, tackling challenges and becoming a better business leader. This team mentoring approach is a unique methodology with proven advantages – providing entrepreneurs a temporary board of advisors to help reach ambitious growth goals and build successful companies.

AdvanceSMART’s mentoring model is licensed from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, and joins a number of programs operating in Alberta (including Edmonton, Calgary and Fort McMurray). MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) program has been successfully operating for over 20 years and Airdrie was the 104th team around the world to be trained on the model.

Program overview

The AdvanceSMART mentorship program includes:

  • Teams of three to four mentors to support you in building growth strategies, tackling challenges and becoming a better business leader
  • Ongoing monthly mentor sessions of 90 minutes in length
  • Access to a diverse and experienced group of mentors including accomplished entrepreneurs, C-suite executives and functional experts
  • Virtual or in-person sessions – you and your mentor team are in charge of how you connect
  • Above and beyond support from our team and your mentors to help you thrive in business
  • Unbiased, conflict-free and confidential advice
  • Opportunities to connect and network with other local entrepreneurs and our entire mentor group

Eligibility & commitment

Who is eligible?

  • Entrepreneurs across all industries who are in a high growth phase of their business, demonstrating notable or consistent revenue (or employee) increases year over year for at least 2-3 years. The guideline is 20 per cent growth year over year
  • Businesses with growth goals that contribute to Airdrie (promoting a strengthened economy and a thriving community)
  • Entrepreneurs committed to their business with at least one co-founder working on it full-time
  • Coachable participants who are serious about learning, making progress and building a business
  • Businesses who hold an active City of Airdrie business license and are located within Airdrie’s city limits
  • Representatives from multi-level marketing companies are not eligible for the program. Independently owned and operated franchises are eligible to participate

Time commitment

  • Ongoing monthly mentor sessions of 90 minutes in length with homework expectations in-between, including setting meeting agendas, sharing meeting notes and making progress on action items
  • Option to renew participation on a quarterly basis; entrepreneurs may remain in the program for up to 15 months with a possibility of extension
  • Mentor team members may change as business needs and goals change

Our mentors

AdvanceSMART consists of volunteer mentors, who are overseen and supported in their mentoring role by Airdrie Entrepreneur Common’s Program Coordinators.

Mentors are selected for their experience in scaling their own businesses, as C-suite executives or functional experts. To provide the diversity of support required by high growth businesses, they live inside and outside of Airdrie. Mentor and entrepreneur teams are formed based on the needs and preferences of the venture and the interests of the available mentors.

To become a mentor, individuals must:

  • Apply and pass a pre-screening evaluation and interview with our Program Coordinators
  • Be empathetic, great listeners, assertive and motivated to help
  • Complete a day-long mentor training program grounded on building coaching skills
Advancesmart entrepreneurs are running fast growing companies and seeking support to develop growth strategies and leadership skills.
To have mentors that can work with you, and guide you, is going to be instrumental to ensuring that our fast growth is handled appropriately and in the most fiscally responsible way. Having somebody to bounce ideas off of that has gone through this process before, I think is going to be huge.
Beckie Ryan

Join AdvanceSMART

Applications to the program are now open! We encourage you to register for an info session or connect with us to learn more.

Don’t meet the eligibility criteria quite yet or unsure if you have the time to commit? Stay connected with AdvanceSMART and receive program updates by subscribing to our e-newsletter.

Watch an info session recording to learn more

Use passcode uG549=B* when you click here to watch the recording.

Airdrie Entrepreneur Common is a non-profit organization proudly operated by the City of Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West. But we don’t do it alone! Thank you to our valued partners and sponsors for your continued support of the AdvanceSMART mentorship program and entrepreneurship in Airdrie.

Let’s Connect


Phone: 403-948-8844