Remember when you were just starting out in business? Your enthusiasm, the long hours and just how much you wished you had someone to talk to?

SMARTstart is your chance to share your wisdom, business expertise and lessons learned with entrepreneurs who are just getting into the game.

We’ve been told time and time again by our participants – mentorship is one of the most valuable parts of SMARTstart.

About the Mentorship Program:

Mentorship is an opportunity for experienced business owners to give back to a new or soon-to-be business owner. The goal is to increase the likelihood of success for local aspiring entrepreneurs by providing mentoring and guidance over an 8-month timeframe. Mentorship is just one part of the program. Learn more about the SMARTstart program.

Who Should Mentor?

SMARTstart recruits mentors who have:

  • experience running a business for more than 7 years (retirees welcome)
  • about 30 hours (spread over 8 months) to volunteer with a new entrepreneur
  • are local to the Airdrie area and are knowledgeable about business in Airdrie
  • understand and value the importance of business planning

What Does a Mentor Do?

The mentor provides support and input as the entrepreneur builds their business acumen. The mentor’s role is to guide, not solve problems or take on the entrepreneur’s business dilemmas.

Over the course of the 8-month program (March – October) mentors will:

  • meet with their entrepreneur at least three times and be in regular touch by phone or email
  • attend the Welcome Event, Celebration Event and at least one Peer-to-Peer session
  • be welcome to attend any of the in-person seminars for the entrepreneurs (optional but encouraged)
  • be instrumental in assisting the entrepreneur as they create a plan (business, feasibility or strategic). The mentor reviews drafts of the plan (and financial statements), and provides timely feedback to the entrepreneur.
  • participate in a mentor training/orientation session

How Does it Work?

Mentors are paired with an entrepreneur for the duration of the program. The matching is based on the mentor’s strengths and the entrepreneur’s needs. Before they are paired, mentors and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to meet at a networking evening. Once paired, the first task is to complete a Mentor-Entrepreneur agreement to outline expectations, goals and other details about the relationship.

How Do I Become A Mentor?

SMARTstart requires up to 20 mentors each year. Mentors are chosen through an application process. Apply Now!