A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

New small business support program launching in central Alberta

A new support program for entrepreneurs and small businesses is set to launch in central Alberta.

SMARTstart, is aimed at providing real-world business skills, tailor-made advice, and connection to the local business community to support the success of new businesses in their first crucial years.

It’s being launched by Community Futures Central Alberta, in partnership with the Alberta Regional Innovation Network.

“We are excited to participate in the success of the SMARTstart program with our upcoming launch in Red Deer and central Alberta which will provide opportunities for learning, networking, and mentorship to small business owners in our region,” said Kelly Kierluk, general manager, Community Futures Central Alberta.

“This will in turn contribute to economic development and strengthen our local economy.”

Anyone with a business idea, a recent launch or someone who has been in business for less than three years may be eligible for the program.

Over the course of the eight-month program, entrepreneurs will work through a combination of online training and in-person workshops facilitated by local experts.

Each participant will leave the program with a complete business plan, feasibility study or strategic plan they have created along with their mentor to set their business up for success.

“SMARTstart is an essential program focusing on new small businesses and entrepreneurial ideas to develop key strategies for success,” Rick More, CEO, Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce.

“I have witnessed many passionate business plans stall from lack of professional preparation. This is an excellent opportunity to avoid common pitfalls that can derail your dreams.”

Applications for the program need to be submitted by Aug. 29. More information on the program can be found at www.smartstartyourbusiness.ca/community/red-deer/.