SMARTstart businesses are off to a great start!

Eighteen entrepreneurs representing 16 businesses are working their way through the 2017 SMARTstart program.

The program provides entrepreneurs with online business skills training, in-person workshops and mentorship. Connecting the entrepreneurs with a local mentor is one of the most important aspects of the program.

This year’s participants have already completed a draft business, feasibility or strategic plan. By the program end in October, that plan – along with pro forma financial statements – will be complete, providing the entrepreneurs with a solid foundation from which to launch or expand their business.

Let’s meet a few of this year’s entrepreneurs. For a fun Q&A with each, visit


Barbara Brown is one of just a handful of Certified Orofacial Myologists in Alberta. She treats patients with Orofacial Myofunctional disorders, which includes those with tongue thrusts, mouth breathing, speech and swallowing difficulties. Barbara looks forward to growing her clientele at My Myo Smiles one smile at a time. Her mentor is Joan Bell, former owner of Airdrie Yoga Studio.




Paula Collett is set to launch her new business next month! Tulaa is a fresh pressed juice delivery service in Airdrie. Motivated by her personal wellness journey, Paula is producing juice that is 100% fruit and vegetables (organic & local when possible) and unfiltered with no preservatives or sugar added. This is only the first step for Paula. Her goal is to open an organic market and cleanse centre within three years. Supporting her is mentor Danielle Kot, former owner of Simply for Life Airdrie.

Look behind the lens at Lace & Locket Photography and you’ll find Ashton Bennett. Specializing in maternity and newborn photography, Ashton loves capturing moments that clients will remember for years. Ashton has won awards for her work and, through SMARTstart, is learning to further grow her business. Her mentor is Dr. Jacqueline Boyd, owner of Access Chiropractic & Wellness Centres.

Emily Fleming has a passion for art and creativity. She’s also a trained welder. Her goal is to open a custom ornamental steel fabrication business. The Art of Steel will design, fabricate and install beautiful gates, fences, railings, art and furniture. Helping Emily bring her idea to fruition is Danielle Coulter, owner of Tutor Doctor.


Cumberland Accounting & Bookkeeping opened a year ago targeting small and medium-sized businesses in Airdrie. Margo Drever brings a wealth of experience to her home-based business, which offers payroll, bookkeeping, and other consulting services. She joined SMARTstart with the goal of building her clientele. Providing support is mentor Sid Van Der Meer, former owner of Northwest Equipment Ltd.