SMARTstart - Hinton and Edson

SMARTstart - Hinton and Edson

SMARTstart Information Presentation


Are you an entrepreneur with a new or young business?  Are you struggling to juggle your personal wellness and your business needs?  Community Futures West Yellowhead hosted a featuring Trevor Haas, the Mental Health Promotion Coordinator for Alberta Health Services.  To view this webinar, click here.

Why SMARTstart?

The harsh reality is that many local small businesses struggle to get started and find it challenging to make it past their first 3-5 years.  Canadian studies show that only 35% of new businesses survive those first crucial years.

There is hope!  Statistics also show that business owners with education in entrepreneurship, or previous entrepreneur experience, have an 80-90% chance of success with a new business.  That's why SMARTstart was developed - to increase businesses' odds of success.

What is SMARTstart?

SMARTstart is an 8-month entrepreneurial training program designed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.  It provides entrepreneurs with tools, business planning, and a mentor.  This program provides the knowledge and skills needed to succeed with your business.  SMARTstart supports the continued growth, development, and success of our business community.

SMARTstart consists of 3 main components:

  1. GoForth's 100 Essential Small Business Skills online training.  It contains 15 modules on a wide range of topics from human resources to marketing to accounting.  For more detailed information, please click here.
  2. In-Person Workshops/Sessions.  Primarily, workshops are comprised of small groups which provide an opportunity to network with fellow participants and mentors.  All workshops are delivered in Hinton by local experts.  Topics range from taxation to branding to insurance.  These workshops supplement the online training.  Workshops will alternate between lunch and evening sessions.  Workshops are an hour and a half long - 11:45 am to 1:15 pm including lunch, AND 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm for evening sessions.  In addition, there are other events and sessions - i.e. orientation sessions for both mentors and mentees, peer-to-peer sessions, community networking event, etc.  
  3. Mentorship.  Past participants think this is one of the most valuable parts of the program.  Participants will be paired with a local, experienced business owner that will guide them through the business plan development process.  Participants will have one-on-one time with their mentors to discuss concerns and challenges, or obtain advice on business development.  Mentors and mentees will be paired based on the entrepreneur's needs and the mentor's experience and skill set.  There will be a speed networking event at the beginning of the program that allows applicants and mentors to meet.

Who is it for?

  • Entrepreneurs with an idea for a business, whether already in operations or still determining the viability of the idea.
  • Entrepreneurs who own a business that has been operating for less than 5 years, including home-based businesses, partnerships, and owner-operated franchises.
  • Residents of West Yellowhead OR entrepreneurs intending to start their business here.  You don't have to live here, but you do need to have the intention of starting your business in West Yellowhead.
  • Entrepreneurs must be at least 18 years old.
  • All types of businesses are eligible.  Big or small - we take them all!

Program Outcome

To complete the program, applicants must submit a final business plan, feasibility study or strategic plan.  The type of plan will depend on their particular situation.  For example, if you have a business idea, it's very likely that you would work on a feasibility study/analysis to determine if your idea is viable.  Research very strongly shows that businesses with a PLAN will be more successful.


As a result of the Town of Hinton, Town of Edson, and the Edson and District Chamber of Commerce's generous sponsorships, we are able to offer the SMARTstart program at a very low cost.  It's only $299 per person.  The application fee includes everything - license fee, online training registration, all workshops, sessions, and events.      

Apply today at, or contact our office for more information.  


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Community Futures West Yellowhead
221 Pembina Avenue
Hinton, AB T7V 2B3

(780) 865-1224

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Communities Served

Big Eddy, 
Bryan Spur, 
Carrot Creek, 
Coal Valley, 
Grande Cache, 
Holloway East, 
Holloway West, 
Medicine Lodge, 
Mountain Park, 
Niton Junction, 
Shaw Fidler, 
Swan Landing, 
Wild Hay, 
Winniandy North, 
Winniandy South, 
Wolf Creek, 


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