startSMART

In this program, you will be applying your learning to a business of your own. In the first phase, you will be learning everything from how to take an idea and turn it into an opportunity, through to the development of a fully researched business plan.  We help you develop your entrepreneurial acumen into a management skill set that will help you make solid business decisions.  You will meet people who can help you in your business like a lawyer, accountant, insrance agent, sales professional, bankers, funders and people in government who can help you navigate the regulations that you need to know about.

In the second phase you are supported by entrepreneurs through a coaching process that will help you develop the skills needed to "report to yourself" since you are now your own boss.  And because you all want to continue to connect with your fellow entrepreneurs, we have a few more workshops that help in the launch phase of a business.

In the final phase, we provide less frequent coaching because you are a busy person running your new enterprise.  But we are there to make sure you develop the skills to meet your targets and make the difference in the world that you want to make.   

We currently have two methods of taking the program:

Most people want to take the shortest program which is the self directed, however, we only recommend this for people who have had a successful business in the past, are in a remote area and can't come to the classes without creating undue hardshop, or have recently left work and have clients ready to purchase from them right away.  The full time day program is the best choice for most people but regardless of which stream you are in, you will have access to us 24/7 through our Citrix based technology platform.

We have four intakes throughout the year - in January, April, July and October.

phase 1: business development

During this phase you will be taken through the 12 main instructional units of the Program. Within each unit there are between 3 and 7 modules each of which will take, on average, between 1/2 hour and 3 hours to complete. They include work on the business idea and work on yourself as a business owner. There are also tasks to be completed at the end of each module which can take up to 3-4 weeks to complete (e.g. market survey collection). Completion of each task results in a component of your business plan being completed or information being collected to make decisions needed for your business development. As you develop sections of the plan, you facilitators will give you feedback so that you can make changes as you progress rather than waiting until the end of phase one.

 

You will also meet weekly with a coach where the focus will be on your idea, developing strategies, highlighting areas that need attention and developing a checklist of tasks to complete for the next meeting.

At the end of this phase, you will present your plan to a panel of business advisors. The panel will provide a written assessment with one of three outcomes: recommendation for entry into phase 2, recommendation into phase 2 with conditions if there are specific concerns about the business model, or recommendation to pursue other career/training options should the business model not be considered to be viable at this time.  This latter decision is rare but if made, it is done in concert with the entrepreneur.  Sometimes, it is just not the right time for someone to get a business idea started.

Time allotted to complete this phase: 12 weeks.

phase 2: business implementation

During this phase, you will implement your business plan activities according to the timeline you developed in Phase 1. This will include activities such as locating financing; developing brochures, a web site, news releases, business cards & other promotional material; purchasing equipment; purchasing insurance; developing your space; hiring employees if required; setting up and completing your books and joining relevant associations.

Weekly coaching sessions will continue noting progress, making changes made where necessary, discussing challenges, and brainstorming done to generate continued new possibilities. Checklists will continue to be developed, recorded and used as tools to help you attain your goal of start-up. If you are a home-based business, you will be expected to open your doors within 4-6 weeks. If you are opening a venture requiring commercial space or significant financing, this could take up to 14 weeks.

Three to four additional workshops will be held during this phase relevant to getting your venture off the ground.

At the end of this phase, you will present a status report on your activities to the same panel of advisors, highlighting challenges and accomplishments (let's celebrate!) and setting out goals for the next 12 weeks. They will in turn provide a written recommendation regarding entry into phase 3 of the Program based upon your progress. These are again one of three recommendations: recommendation for entry into phase 3, recommendation into phase 3 with conditions if there are specific concerns about the business model, or recommendation to pursue other career/training options should the business model not be considered to be viable at this time.

Time allotted to complete this phase: 14 weeks.

phase 3: business operation

During this phase you will be provided with ongoing support while you are in operation. It is expected that you will have opened your doors and be actively selling your product or service.

Coaching sessions will continue every two weeks in order to review problems you are encountering, discuss new ideas you have, measure how you are performing compared to your plan, make changes where necessary, and identify any areas that may pose potential problems in the future so that these issues can be monitored and plans developed to cope with them.

Two workshops will be held during this phase on issues relevant to operations.

You will also be required to provide financial statements on a monthly basis with a report on actual vs. forecasted performance. In addition, we will assist you in identifying additional resource people that may be of more assistance to you in the start-up stage as issues are identified. At the end of this phase, you will present a final status report to the same panel of advisors on your activities running your business, highlighting challenges and accomplishments and discussing how well you achieved your goals from the last report. They will in turn provide written feedback and recommendations to you for future sustainability.

Time allotted to complete this phase: 12 weeks.

Cost
$15,900 - Regular full time day program
$9,400 - Self-directed distance education program

To apply for this program start here.