SMARTstart

A continuation of our spotlight on the entrepreneurs and mentors currently involved in Airdrie’s SMARTstart program.

The non-profit program is designed and delivered by Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, City of Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West, and offers tools, training, mentorship and business planning for new and prospective business owners.

Entrepreneur: Deborah Proskow
Age: 58
Business idea: Abstract Digital Paintings
Years in business (if applicable): Idea stage
What business or business leader inspires you most: Deepak Chopra (generosity and sharing)
In five years I see my business: as a network of Airdrie artists, designers, photographers, printers and framers proving custom digital drawings and paintings for homes and businesses in Airdrie.

Mentor: Gary Armstrong
Age: 58
Business: Empowered Employee Education
Years in business: 7
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Sales drive business. Sales is not necessarily selling. It is, without question though, serving. 

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneurs: Ashley Williams, Drucilla Heighton
Age: 33, 24
Business: Byoode Bar
Years in business: Opened April 2017, bringing together SugarWink Eyelash Extensions and BrowPro.
What business or business leader inspires you most:
Ashley: Gianna of BrowsByG who got me into the ‘brow’ business. She encouraged and believed in me right from the beginning. She is passionate and dedicated and one of the hardest working women I know.
Drucilla: Jessica Lapuz at Outlash Extensions Inc.
In five years we see our business: Booming! With multiple locations, and teaching and offering more services.

Mentor: Wendy Bates-Wiebe
Age: 45
Business: The Hair Lounge
Years in business: 8
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Business is not built on your craft alone, it takes learning something new every day to run a healthy business. Lead by example, be true to yourself and those who surround you. Work hard and never give up on your dreams.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Margo Drever
Age: 56
Business: Cumberland Accounting & Bookkeeping Consulting Ltd.
Years in business: 1 year in Airdrie
What business or business leader inspires you most: Multiple Airdrie business owners have inspired and impressed me with their generosity, community involvement, marketing ideas and superb customer service. Outside Airdrie, Manjit Minhas because of what she has accomplished.
In five years I see my business: As a well-established and respected business with employees and office space in Airdrie.

Mentor: Sid Van der Meer
Age: 60
Business: Retired owner of Northwest Equipment Ltd.
Years in business: 31
What I wish I knew then that I know now: That there is a lot more to running a successful business then just being a good salesman. Many businesses start out doing what they do best and end up doing what they are not good at “running a business.” 

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Ashton Bennett
Age: I’d rather not say
Business: Lace & Locket Photography
Years in business: 1
What business or business leader inspires you most: I don’t have any yet!
In five years I see my business: Growing to all of Alberta, holding workshops to help teach other budding photographers how to photograph babies, and being asked to photograph babies all over the province and country.

Mentor: Jacqueline Boyd
Age: 41
Business: Access Chiropractic and Wellness Centres
Years in business: 13
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Integrity, commitment to a service/product and building customer relations will see you through the darkest times. Believe in yourself.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Kerri Kuefler
Age: 48
Business: Made in the Shade Blinds & More
Years in business: 3
What business or business leader inspires you most: My dad inspires me most as he semi-retired at age 35.
In five years I see my business: paid for, running with a sales team and me working less on sales and possibly four days a week.

Mentor: Lorelei Talbot
Age: 44
Business: Astoria Asset Management Ltd.
Years in business: 12
What I wish I knew then that I know now: nothing, because I had to go through it then to know what I know now. Growth, everyone has to go through that whether personal or other.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Dana Remillard
Age: 47
Business: Mosaic Learning Solutions
Years in business (if applicable): 2 months
What business or business leader inspires you most: I am inspired by the work of Jane Anderson and the Magic Mountain Development Centres and Footprints for Learning Preschool. I love how this business is a grassroots Airdrie-based business that has expanded and grown to be a great success while caring for our city’s youth.
In five years I see my business: Becoming an established and trusted support for diverse learners and their families in Airdrie and surrounding area.

Mentor: Robyn Pearson
Age: 47
Business: A Friend Indeed
Years in business: 7
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Just relax and enjoy the process. Your need to know everything and its “why” right now will interfere with the fun, and the whole thing will just take longer. Enjoy it, uncovering as you go. Yes, you can still plan but don’t paint yourself into a corner and miss out on the extraordinary.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Barbara Brown
Age: not important
Business: My Myo Smiles Inc.
Years in business: 18 months
What business or business leader(s) inspires you most: There have been several up-to-date dentist and dental specialists in Airdrie , Calgary and Chestermere that have inspired me to follow my path in orofacial myology, believing that it is a genuine  missing link to comprehensive patient care.  People that care inspire me.
In five years I see my business: Thriving, succeeding, but more important, educating the public and impacting lives.

Mentor: Joan Bell
Age: 60
Business: Retired owner of Airdrie Yoga Studio
Years in business: 10
What I wish I knew then that I know now: According to Buddha: what you think, you become, what you feel, you attract, what you imagine, you create.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Paula Collett
Age: 52
Business idea: Organic Market and Wellness Centre
Years in business (if applicable): Idea stage
What business or business leader inspires you most: PachaMama Eco Village in Costa Rica
In five years I see my business: Becoming the No. 1 place for people to go to for healing of the body, mind and soul. 

Mentor: Danielle Kot
Age: 38
Business: Simply For Life
Years in business: 12
What I wish I knew then that I know now: How to create work/life boundaries 

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Emily Fleming
Age: 38
Business idea: The Art of Steel
Years in business (if applicable): Idea stage
What business or business leader inspires you most: Arlene Dickenson because she started later in her thirties as a single mom and knew very little about business but took a risk and went for it. I also admire my grandfather who was in business and lead with generosity and compassion for his community.
In five years I see my business: As a sought-after leader in ornamental design fabrication for residential and commercial applications in southern Alberta. We will be known for our creativity and our contributions to the community through fostering arts and beautifying spaces.

Mentor: Danielle Coulter
Age: 58
Business: Tutor Doctor
Years in business: 7
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Before starting you must have some financial plan in place. Understand your commitment of time is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, selling, providing customer service, managing staff for payroll, collecting from clients and paying bills for a few years! You’ve got to be passionate about your service/product.

SMARTstart AirdrieEntrepreneur: Kara Fulton
Age: 36
Business: Thumbprint Craft Beer Market
Years in business: Opened January 2017
What business or business leader inspires you most: Janine Hartsook from PUSH Cycling Studio – she’s always positive and thinking outside the box
In five years I see my business: Possibly opening another location in a smaller city like Cochrane or Okotoks.

Mentor: Jacqui Jepson
Age: 39
Business: The Pink Wand Cleaning Services Ltd.
Years in business: 8
What I wish I knew then that I know now: Every bump in the road of business that sets you back really, in the long run, helps you grow!

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