Meet the 2023 SMARTstart entrepreneurs
Over the past nine years, 133 entrepreneurs have completed the SMARTstart program. The 2023 cohort is made up of 13 entrepreneurs – two with an idea for a business and 11 who have already started their journey. Let’s meet them:
Michelle Speranza is the owner of Core Balance Centre, a dedicated upper cervical chiropractic clinic. She follows the NUCCA protocol, which employs a set of chiropractic procedures to specifically assess and treat head and neck injuries. If you suffer from headaches, concussions, dizziness and neck pain, you need to see her at 520 1 Ave NE. What makes her centre unique is that it is the only NUCCA practice between Calgary and Edmonton, which made Airdrie an ideal location to expand to.
Michelle is matched with mentor Tara Pickford of Ambition Performing Arts.
Jennine Kelly took the leap to entrepreneurship during the pandemic and started Jennine Kelly HR Consulting. Human Resources (HR) consulting for a wide range of clients and creating HR solutions that meet each of their specific needs is where she thrives. She’s not one to provide a one-size-fits-all strategy. She offers many services that companies can pick and choose from, including HR support on a monthly retainer, assessing HR needs, recruiting, onboarding, conducting job analysis, salary reviews, planning for the future, investigations, and job seeker services including resume and interview support.
Jennine is matched with mentor Kari Lines of Budget Blinds of Airdrie.
Caelen Haney is an Airdrie resident for over 25 years and owner of Gummi Boutique – Airdrie, a candy destination with locations in both Airdrie and Calgary! They focus on hard-to-find products, including imported confections and beverages, novelty sweets, ice cream and more. They also work with local artisans to curate a collection of specialty items. Moving forward, he is focusing on expanding Gummi Boutique in the fields of e-commerce and wholesale production.
Caelen is matched with mentor Heather Harke of Shoplift Deals.
In 2018, Pamela Payne took some time to clean her car after leaving her job of 15 years. As she was driving home, she wondered if there were other busy moms that would like her to come to their home to clean their vehicle and cross one item off their never-ending to-do lists. She made a post in a local moms’ group on Facebook and 202 comments later, Empire Details was borne, and she was booked through the entire summer. Over the years she has evolved, learned, and grown into both a mobile business and an industrial location.
Pam is matched with mentor Michelle Tennant of LochSmith Consulting.
Gail Fuhr is a certified holistic nutrition consultant and has worked in the health care field for 40 years as a dental assistant and registered nurse. Through Noggin Nutrition, she aims to teach and empower people to improve and balance their health with whole, dense foods and lifestyle and spiritual recommendations. She believes people want to eat better and feel better after two years of COVID.
Gail is matched with mentor Gary Armstrong of Empowered Employee Education.
Growing up helping her mother Heidi create pies, Brianna Horncastle grew to love the art of baking. During COVID, she craved connection and that feeling her parents’ store brought to herself and the community. So she decided to start the journey of creating her own business, Heidi’s Pies, to one day connect with the locals of Airdrie. Her idea is to create a bakery/meeting space providing daily baked goods and refreshments, all while hosting culinary/artistic events.
Brianna is matched with mentor Tracy Goodbrand of Irricana Kountry Kennel.
In 2021 Cheyenne DeWitt was offered a part-time position as a content creator and loved it! Some education and a lot of guts later, she took the leap and ventured out on her own. Mi Social Consulting is an affordable marketing service for small business owners. As a highly trained digital expert and marketing specialist, Cheyenne has the vision to take her company and clients to the next level.
Cheyenne is matched with mentor Jennifer Benner of Benner Database Designs.
Tyler and Richard Baptist are a wife and husband team offering residential and light commercial building services via their company Airdrie Renos. They love to help clients design their spaces so they are not only beautiful but are also functional for them. Richard owned and operated a similar business with a partner for years, which has given him experience with various building projects including basement developments, bathroom renovations, flooring, doors, finishing carpentry, painting, decks, fencing and garage packages. The pair aims to grow their business into a legacy for their kids.
Tyler and Richard are matched with mentor Sid Van der Meer, who is retired from Northwest Equipment Ltd.
As your Travel Professional, Samantha Barnaschone will save you time and money while taking care of the planning and organization for your wellness vacations, luxury vacations and romantic escapes. When using her expertise and the connections she has in the industry, you will get exclusive amenities that are only available to her. Samantha’s goal is to bring your energy to a higher frequency through traveling to beautiful destinations around the world via Higher Frequency Travel.
Samantha is matched with mentor Joan Traub, who is retired from Airdrie Yoga Studio.
Chris Gushue developed a love of craft beer while living in Australia and after moving back to Airdrie he found it a challenge to travel to downtown Calgary breweries with young kids. Having local breweries allows residents to become part of the local community, to meet people and to support local causes. As a new partner at Atlas Brewing, he looks forward to creating something he loves and is passionate about!
Chris is matched with mentor Kelly Paisley of The I.T. Company.
Sharla Crowie has been working in the field of mental health for over 14 years, and it’s her passion to support people in their journeys to healing and growth. Her company, Bloom Narratives Therapy & Wellness, believes that focusing on health holistically is essential. Bloom Narratives offers mental health therapy, dietitian services, workshops, and educational resources to help individuals and relationships thrive with courage and authenticity.
Sharla is matched with mentor Dr. Melanie Beingessner of Blessingways Chiropractic.