AIRDRIE, ALBERTA –The 2022 SMARTstart entrepreneurial training program officially launched on Wednesday night with an enthusiastic and dynamic group of local entrepreneurs and mentors.
“The launch is such an exciting part of the program,” says Jessica Williamson, SMARTstart Entrepreneur Coordinator and Organizing Committee Member. “It was the first opportunity for the mentors to meet this new group of entrepreneurs and everyone was excited to connect and learn about each other. We’re very excited to see where they will be in eight months when they complete the program.”
Launched in 2014, SMARTstart has assisted 125 local entrepreneurs with their new business or business ideas. As a result, 23 new businesses have opened their doors and 34 businesses have expanded their operations or services. Ten entrepreneurs, representing nine businesses, have been accepted into this year’s program.
Entrepreneurs with an idea:
Chelsea Dunlop, Ecology of Ease
Martin Linlove, Emotional Intelligence Coaching & Training
Emalyn Plazo, Cheng’s Bubbler
London Richard, Bella & Bourbon
Becky Urban, Warehouse Spin & Barre
New business owners (in operation less than three years):
Jessica Abramyk, Jesa Travel
Jonelle Beaulieu, Bright Little Minds
Jay Raymundo, NRG Fitness Inc.
Courtney & Jaret Steranko, Bonfire Shades
Over the course of eight months, the entrepreneurs will complete the 100 Essential Business Skills online training from GoForth Institute, participate in 11 workshops and work with a mentor on the completion of a business, feasibility or strategic plan. Mentors are volunteers from the Airdrie business community.
The 11 local business leaders volunteering in 2022 are:
Gary Armstrong, Empowered Employee Education
Dr. Melanie Beingessner, Blessingways Family Wellness
Jennifer Benner, Benner Database Designs
Michelle Carre, LochSmith Consulting
Ankur Goklaney, La Capitale Financial Security
Tracy Goodbrand, Irricana Kountry Kennel
Heather Harke, Shoplift Deals Limited
Kari Lines, Budget Blinds of Airdrie
Tara Pickford, Ambition Performing Arts
Joan Traub, former owner of Airdrie Yoga Studio
Jo-Anne Yau, Robertson LLP
“SMARTstart mentors tell us they get just as much from the program as the entrepreneurs,” says Jodie Eckert, SMARTstart Mentor Coordinator and Organizing Committee Member. “It ignites their creative enthusiasm and they reflect on and appreciate the support they received when first starting their own businesses. The mentors welcome the chance to pay it forward.”
The Launch Event was held on March 2 at Woodside Golf Course where the 2022 participants and mentors were introduced. A “speed connecting” session was held to provide the opportunity for program mentors and entrepreneurs to meet.
SMARTstart is an award-winning program delivered by the City of Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West.
The program is made possible with support from the following sponsors:
Seminar Sponsors: BDC, MNP
Media sponsors: Air 106.1 FM, Airdrie Echo, airdrielife
Entrepreneur Sponsors: Beckie Ryan, Blessingways Family Wellness, NWEL Holdings Ltd. (Sid Van der Meer)
In-Kind Sponsor: Woodside Golf Course