Information sessions to be held in August
Community Futures Central Alberta is accepting applications for SMARTstart. (Contributed)
Community Futures Central Alberta is now accepting applications for the entrepreneurship training program SMARTstart.
Applications are open to anyone with an idea or businesses that have been operating for three years or less.
The goal of the program is for participants to complete a feasibility study, business plan, or strategic plan depending on what stage of operation their business has reached.
SMARTstart includes access to an online, self-guided 100 Essential Small Business Skills Program from GoForth, 11 workshops led by local industry experts, three peer-to-peer sessions, and one-on-one mentorship from an established business owner.
“It is often very intimidating to take the leap into entrepreneurship. But having the support of someone who has already completed that part of the journey, and done so successfully, is a value-added benefit to the extensive training and networking opportunities the program provides,” said Kelly Kierluk, general manager with Community Futures Central Alberta, in a statement.
The program, originally developed by Community Futures Centre West, the City of Airdrie Economic Development, and Airdrie Chamber of Commerce in 2014, was first available in central Alberta from September 2021 to May 2022.

Community Futures Central Alberta said by the end of that session 13 jobs were created and/or maintained, three new businesses were launched, and four businesses were maintained.
Program funding is provided by Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network, and the City of Red Deer’s Land and Economic Development department. The program also receives in-kind support from Alberta Innovates, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, and Central Alberta Economic Partnership.
Community Futures Central Alberta will host two information sessions for anyone interested in applying to the program, or serving as a mentor. A virtual session will be held on August 11, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., and an in-person session on August 17, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce.
Pre-registration is required and can be completed by visiting Eventbrite online and searching Community Futures Central Alberta. The application deadline is August 26.
For more information on the program, visit www.smartstartyourbusiness.ca/community/red-deer.

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