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SMARTstart Program Celebrates 2019 Entrepreneurs

AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – Fourteen- up-and-coming local entrepreneurs representing 13 businesses were celebrated on Wednesday, October 30 at the 2019 SMARTstart Program Celebration event in Airdrie.

The entrepreneurs spent the last eight months refining their idea for a new business or working to strengthen their existing business through the made-in-Airdrie SMARTstart entrepreneurial training program.

"This is the sixth year the program has been offered in Airdrie and each year we are blown away by the amazing progress made by our entrepreneurs over the course of eight months,” says Tara Levick, SMARTstart Organizing Committee Member. "The Celebration Event is truly a celebration of all the hard work made throughout the year. Everyone gets something different from SMARTstart and that’s what makes the program so special.”

The 2019 participants recognized at the event were:

  • Chris Lindsey, Leaps N Bounds Inflatables                       
  • Chrissie Rozak, GetintheLoop Airdrie
  • Cigdem Fareed, Distinct Graphics & Software Solutions
  • Colin Bailey, Evolution Performance
  • Danielle Doetzel, Boulevard Home Inc.
  • Kitty Bexson, Things by Kitty
  • Lindsey Coyle, Airdrie Exchange
  • Marla Elms, Grounded Natural Cleaning Services
  • Morgan Sylvain & Kayla McPhail, Smile & Co
  • Nick Davies, Cowork Space/Cocktail Lounge
  • Moonliza Menya, Kirabo Fashion & Interiors
  • Scott Jones, DigiWave Services
  • Tara Reid, Re’Ferbish Group

SMARTstart provided the participants with online business skills training, 11 in-person workshops delivered by Airdrie business experts, and a local mentor. Working with their mentor, each participant completed a business, strategic or feasibility plan.

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate 14 local businesspeople who volunteer their time to be SMARTstart mentors. One mentor was honoured for volunteering for five years, since the program’s inception in 2014. Congratulations to Kari Lines of Budget Blinds Airdrie and thank you for your continued support of the program.

SMARTstart was launched in 2014 and is an award-winning program delivered by the City of Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West. SMARTstart has now provided training to 89 entrepreneurs and has helped a dozen new businesses open.

“One of the best things about SMARTstart is the people. From my mentor Tracy, the other entrepreneurs and mentors, to the program directors,” says Marla Elms, 2019 entrepreneur. “It’s so great to know that I’ve made lifelong connections and that I have a whole group of awesome people rooting for my success. To the people who work so hard to make SMARTstart happen: you are amazing, you are changing lives and I thank you for changing mine.”

The program is made possible with support from local sponsors:
• Seminar Sponsors: BDC, MNP Airdrie

• Entrepreneur Sponsors:  Airdrie Women in Business Association, McKee Homes, Sid Van der Meer, Blessingways Family Wellness
• Friend Sponsors:  Ecole Des Petits Amis, Edward Jones-Derek Lalonde, Kerry Oswald
• Media sponsors: Air 106.1FM, airdrielife, Airdrie Echo, Here’s the Scoop
• In-Kind Sponsors:  Hamptons Inn & Suites, Healthy Meals Made Easy, Noodlebox, Custom Gemini

Applications for the 2020 program are open until December 13, 2019. Entrepreneurs with an idea or new businesses (in operation for less than three years) are invited to learn more at information sessions on November 6 or December 4 at 7 p.m. or November 20 at 12 p.m. at City Hall (400 Main St SE).

To learn more, visit or e-mail

The 2019 SMARTstart participants.

Back Row (from left): Danielle Doetzel, Lindsey Coyle, Nick Davies, Scott Jones, Moonliza Menya
Front Row (from left): Morgan Sylvain, Kitty Bexson, Cigdem Fareed, Tara Reid, Chris Lindsey, Kayla McPhail, Marla Elms
Missing: Chrissie Rozak and Colin Bailey Photo Credit: Kristy Reimer Photography


Tara Levick, SMARTstart Committee City of Airdrie Economic Development Phone: 403.948.8800 x 8481

2018-19 Third Quarter Economic Update for Alberta


Path to Balance


After the worst recession in a generation, Alberta’s economy is recovering. Employment has surpassed pre-recession levels, and real GDP will fully recover this year. But there is more work ahead. The recovery is not being felt at every kitchen table, given the size and duration of the oil price shock and persistent market access challenges. Some indicators have fully recovered including retail sales, employment and exports, but others continue to lag. Last year, Alberta’s economic momentum was interrupted by severe market access challenges, a failure of successive governments in Ottawa. By late 2018, the discount on Alberta’s oil widened to record levels, putting jobs and the value of resources Albertans own at risk. The Alberta government moved quickly and decisively to improve the value of Alberta’s resources. In the short term, the government has temporarily curtailed production, bolstering Alberta oil prices. Over the medium term, it is investing in crude-by-rail, providing critical takeaway capacity until pipelines are built. The government will continue to fight for pipelines and invest in adding more value to our oil and gas resources. Despite ongoing volatility, the government has not wavered in its commitment to return the budget to balance by 2023–24. The government has already made significant progress; in 2018–19, the deficit is expected to be nearly $4 billion below 2016–17 levels. The deficit is expected to come in better than the budget forecast for the second straight year (Chart 1). The government has outperformed on deficit reduction the last two years because of prudent revenue forecasts and careful spending management. Revenue has far exceeded the government’s projections over the last year two years and the Path to Balance continues to be based on prudent assumptions. Sufficient pipeline access is not assumed for budget purposes until the second Chart 1: Deficit lower than Budget forecast for second straight year Alberta Budget Deficit
Source: Government of Alberta; *2018‐19 is an estimate, other years are actuals

Click here to veiw the full Alberta Economic Report :

New Women Entrepreneurship Fund

The WES Ecosystem Fund is now closed for submissions. The deadline was November 22, 2018 23:59 PST.

Funding decisions are expected to be announced in Spring 2019. See Frequently asked questions (FAQs) webpage for details relating to project start date and incurred expenses before signing of the Contribution Agreement. Please note that we continue updating FAQs on a regular basis to reflect enquiries from applicants.


Western Economic Diversification Canada is pleased to share that the Government of Canada launched the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, a new program under the Budget 2018 Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). This Fund along with the WES Ecosystem Fund is part of a comprehensive, whole-of-government plan to help women grow their businesses through access to financing, networks and advice.

Western Economic Diversification Canada, along with the other regional development agencies across the country, will be working with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to deliver these two funds.

The WES Ecosystem Fund
This $85 million, five-year program will strengthen capacity of organizations supporting women entrepreneurs by ensuring they have the business supports they need to start or grow a business.

Projects must be led by not-for-profit organizations and must respond to the needs of diverse and under-represented women. There is a national/multi-regional stream and a regional stream under the fund.

Applications for the WES Ecosystem Fund close on November 22, 2018. Details on the application process can be found at

The Women Entrepreneurship Fund
Investments under this program will help women-owned and women-led businesses to grow their existing businesses, so they can pursue opportunities in domestic and global markets. It will provide non-repayable funding up to $100,000 for projects that focus on the:

• pursuit of market opportunities abroad;
• scale-up, expansion and growth; and,
• additional activities that support the objectives of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) pages for additional information:

Women Entrepreneurship Fund FAQs
WES Ecosystem Fund FAQs


Government of Canada Announces New Funding and Engagement Plan in Alberta for Western Canada Growth Strategy


Strategy aims to grow the economy and create middle-class jobs by building on Alberta’s unique strengths and competitive advantages.

September 14, 2018 – Edmonton, Alberta – Western Economic Diversification Canada

Our government is supporting economic growth and creating good middle-class jobs in Alberta and across western Canada.

As announced in Budget 2018, the Government is committing $208 million over five years to promote the development and diversification of the western Canadian economy. This is why, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, and Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), today launched an engagement plan to develop a regional growth strategy with western Canadians for western Canadians.
From coast to coast to coast, Canada’s economy is as diverse as its landscapes, presenting unique challenges and opportunities. This strategy will grow Alberta’s economy, create good middle-class jobs, and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity across the four western provinces. It also builds on the Innovation and Skills Plan to make Canada a world leader in innovation and create good middle-class jobs.
Albertans are invited to share their ideas online to help shape the Western Canada Growth Strategy. Over the fall, roundtable discussions will take place in major cities across Western Canada with businesses, different levels of government, thought leaders, Indigenous Peoples, rural communities, women, youth, and new immigrants to develop a new, targeted approach to economic development with a focus on innovation.

“Our government is building a vibrant economic future for Western Canada. The Western Canada Growth Strategy is a step forward in the Innovation and Skills Plan to strengthen Canada’s position as a centre of innovation and grow the middle class. By engaging Albertans in the development of this strategy, we are developing a tailored approach that leverages regional strengths and opportunities to build an innovative and inclusive economy in Western Canada.”
- The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Mill Woods

“Hearing from the very people who will benefit from a stronger economy in Western Canada is an important way to ensure that we remain competitive in today’s global marketplace. The input we receive will shape the roadmap to strengthen Western Canada by stimulating the economy and increasing job opportunities for all Canadians including Indigenous Peoples, women and youth.”
- Randy Boissonnault, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues
Quick facts
• The Western Canada Growth Strategy will be a roadmap to build an innovative Western Canada - one that strengthens the economy, supports innovative and resource-based industries, and increases job opportunities for all Canadians.
• Alberta is home to 37% of the western population and 27% of Indigenous Peoples in Western Canada are located in Alberta.
• Alberta’s GDP increased by 4.9% in 2017 to $304.7B, growing faster than any other province.
• In 2017, Alberta’s exports were second highest in value among provinces in Canada.
• Almost 175,000 small and medium-sized businesses are based in Alberta.
• Two of Canada’s top 15 research universities are located in Alberta.

Related products
• Backgrounder: Towards a Western Canada Growth Strategy

Associated links
• Western Canada Growth Strategy
• Innovation and Skills Plan
• Building an inclusive and innovative Canada
• Backgrounder: Investing in Regional Innovation and Development

Follow the department on Twitter: ,


Nilani Logeswaran, Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Innovation,
Science and Economic Development

Media Relations Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada 343-291-1777

Media Relations
Western Economic Diversification Canada

Climate Action Fund

Volunteer Board of Directors Opportunity

Community Futures Centre West knows that community matters as much as success.

We are recruiting forward-thinking, value-oriented board members with a passion for leadership, community development, and entrepreneurship. Our professional board development program will keep you challenged, stimulate creativity and build leadership capabilities.
Funded by Western Economic Diversification, CF Centre West is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Directors are local community champions and professionals with diverse skills and backgrounds and are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization.
For more information and to apply  go to:
Or contact Patti-Jay Powell, Executive Director e:, c: 403.389.8272 

New Opportunity- Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan- What is Means for Alberta

Projects to Build Prosperous Communities

The governments of Canada and Alberta are working together to make long-term infrastructure investments that will create economic growth, sustain well-paying jobs, build inclusive communities and support a low carbon, green economy-leading to a high quality of life for all Canadians.


Here's the latest news!

On April 1, 2018 all Alberta Community Futures Associations will have a new and improved website!


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Cochrane, AB T4C 0W7


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