SMARTstart Entrepreneurial Training Program Returns for Central Alberta

CFCA officials say that while there were many courses the organization could have offered entrepreneurs, what set SMARTstart apart from others was the in-depth nature of the training and the additional support provided by the entrepreneur- mentor.

“Getting started in entrepreneurship is often very intimidating. But having the support of someone who has already completed this part of the journey, and done it successfully, is a value-added benefit to the extensive training and networking opportunities the program provides,” Kierluk said. .

SMARTset officials confirm that the first year of programming, which ran from September 2021 to May 2022, had an impact on the local economy, culminating in the creation/maintenance of 13 jobs, the launch of three new businesses and maintaining four businesses.

ACCP officials credit the support received from partner organizations as a key reason for the program’s early success.

Funding is provided by the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN) and the City of Red Deer’s Lands and Economic Development Department. The program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce and the Central Alberta Economic Partnership (CAEP), who meet regularly to coordinate program marketing, recruitment and selection activities. entrepreneurs and mentors.

Those interested in applying to the program or serving as a mentor can attend two information sessions in August hosted by Community Futures Central. A virtual session will be held on August 11 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and an in-person session on August 17 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce (3017 50 Ave). Pre-registration is required and can be completed by visiting Eventbrite online and searching for Community Futures Central Alberta.

Applications are open to anyone with an idea or business that has been in operation for three years or less with a deadline of Friday, August 26, 2022.

For more information on the program, visit

Community Futures Central Alberta is a non-profit organization that has been supporting small business and rural economic diversification since 1986, and now has 267 offices across the country.

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