Turn your idea into a business.

SmartStart will help you TRANSFORM good ideas into GREAT OPPORTUNITIES. We provide the perfect setting for entrepreneurs to grow ideas into successful businesses. This program goes beyond books and theories, offering hands-on coaching. Entrepreneurs will learn by doing, exploring the operations, funding and marketing needed to launch and grow a business.

You’ll get access to experienced business experts (legal, intellectual property, marketing, research, financial) and the guidance of SmartStart Director Jason Mack. He provides entrepreneurial coaching to help you develop a business value proposition for your technology ideas. His experience in economic growth provides the resources you need to launch your product into the marketplace.

SmartStart provides business counseling, access to office space, workshops and a collaborative process. This experience allows entrepreneurs to:
  • Understand how to captivate a market and identify target customers
  • Learn how to build a team
  • Examine concepts and plans
  • Calculate funding needed and understand ways to access it
  • Protect the idea through trademarks, copyrights and patents
  • Present ideas to investors for feedback

SmartStart’s mentoring and coaching program welcomes community members, students and local business people who are passionate about their ideas. We are always looking for:

  • Existing small businesses wanting to grow or diversify
  • Anyone who has entrepreneurial spirit
  • CEOs are also wanted to help coach and mentor companies, which could result in a partnership
  • Students who are passionate about starting their own business


Our workshop approach is designed to educate and guide founders through process of validating and growing their technology idea. Founders develop essential entrepreneurial skills while building a roadmap that details their business opportunity.

  • Peer groups
  • Hands on workshops
  • Networking events


Our coaches, who are certified in the Wendy Kennedy pre-incubation program, provide step-by-step guidance to help you clearly articulate how your technology idea will fill an unmet marketplace need. Coaching materials include:


Business coaches and industry experts help guide your technology idea to commercialization using one-on-one business counseling and by assessing your business opportunity.


$500 per team. Scholarships available for students.


Click the link below to submit your completed application.

Contact Jason Mack, Program Director at (906) 487-7000 / (906) 281-0618,