The SMARTSTART Philanthropy Program

A way to help others. By helping yourself first.

Got a solid business or business idea, but no lottery win or trust fund you can draw on to make the dream happen as quickly as you might like?

Working a side hustle and waking up every morning wanting to hand in your resignation and pursue your business dream full-time?

Tired of seeing others succeed online and thinking “Damn it, that should be me!”

We are currently accepting applications for the interested.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the last time the subsidy will be 90%. Effective May 1, 2019, we are reducing it to 50% — a change that has been a long time coming. Meaning April is the last round of applications with the highest benefit before the subsidy reduction kicks in.


SMARTSTART invests in building profitable, standout businesses for extraordinary entrepreneurs and experts with high potential.

Our innovative philanthropy program makes it possible for business owners to enjoy the rewards of helping others, by first helping themselves.

Past recipients of our support, people of all ages and from many different walks of life, are living their business dreams. You can too!

We have one mission – fast-tracking your business success by providing subsidized access to reliable resources, expertise and professional support that otherwise might not be available to or affordable for you.

Many businesses struggle to survive due to a lack of:

  • funding and working capital needed to support strategic business development,
  • marketing, communications, management, team building and leadership experience, and
  • knowledge of what is truly needed for any business to succeed.

We help prevent business owners from wasting their time, money and energy by filling those gaps as they work on creating sustainable income for themselves from their marketable business ideas.

Our Track Record

SMARTSTART began as a $50M social experiment in 2002 and became available online in May 2007. It quickly grew to helping many thousands of business owners build their dreams in 93 different countries around the world.

No dream is too small or too large to qualify for participating in our innovative philanthropy program.

To date, SMARTSTART has provided close to $12M in support with more than 22,000 hours of subsidized professional services and strategic business development advice, in combination with various levels and types of education, financial aid and other assistance given to entrepreneurs and experts with high potential for business success.

Here are some of their stories to inspire you!

Latest Client Success Story

Perhaps you can relate to our most recent client’s success story. The expert due diligence review revealed she had a new (and viable) business idea, an old website, no significant social media following, a terrible webinar, sales and marketing funnels that didn’t convert, a stale brand and a history of wasting heaps of money on poo-rus and others who delivered very little useful to growing her business. And every month she was paying for tools and applications she simply didn’t need.

Today, 18 months later, she has an awesome brand, two signature programs (one that delivered 6-figures in revenue last year and another solidly positioned to deliver 7-figures this year), a growing social media presence, an expert sales team and the right strategic partner in place to help keep her business moving forward. She is currently streamlining her martech stack and is well-positioned for exponential growth year after year. And she’s not the only one.

This could be your story too …

Here are just a few of the hundreds of other client success stories powered by SMARTSTART to inspire you!


SMARTSTART Success Story 1



SMARTSTART Client Success Story 10

Examples of Assistance Provided

Our program provides a mix of financial support and subsidized expert strategic business development advice based on what your intake assessment shows is needed to best move your business dream forward.

Here are some examples of past support where 100% of the cost is covered by your program sponsor:

  • market research needed to validate your business idea (cost varies by industry)
  • competitive intelligence research to assess your top competitors (cost varies by industry)
  • profiling and other assessments ($2,500 minimum, may also include key team members)

Here are some examples where there is a mix of 100% coverage and shared coverage where 90% of the cost is covered by your program sponsor and you are responsible for the remaining 10%:

  • marketing video production (cost varies depending on requirements, in-house production cost is 100% covered by sponsor; creative review cost is 90% covered by sponsor and 10% covered by business owner)

Here are some examples of business development requirements where 90% of the cost is covered by your program sponsor and you are responsible for the remaining 10% of the cost.

  • website/pages, funnel(s), messaging and avatar optimization (cost varies depending on volume of work required)
  • pricing and offer optimization (cost varies depending on positioning and what you’re selling)
  • revenue and cashflow optimization (cost varies depending on current state of business and market variables)
  • digital asset optimization (cost varies depending on quality of existing assets available)
  • social media marketing optimization (cost varies depending on number of platforms and media channels used)
  • webinar and content marketing optimization (cost varies depending on volume and quality of existing assets)
  • sales page, landing page and email sequence optimization (cost varies depending on volume and current state of assets)
  • promotional advertising and media optimization (cost varies depending on requirements)
  • marketing and sales process evaluation/optimization (cost varies depending of current process, lead flow and past conversion rates)
  • tools, technology and team optimization (cost varies depending on current status and future requirements)
  • strategic relationship development and network optimization (cost varies depending on current visibility and authority)
  • business development strategy optimization (cost varies depending on multiple factors, to be determined)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The length of time needed to build your dream varies depending on the:

  • current stage of your business, messaging and offer(s),
  • quality of your digital assets, sales funnel(s),
  • state of your marketing campaigns,
  • tools you’re using and how well you’re using them,
  • skill sets of your team (if you have one),
  • decisions you make and how you apply the recommendations, and
  • commitment to and time spent developing your business.

Fast learners and action takers make rapid progress in 90 days; others with more to learn and do or who need longer than that will be considered for additional support and assistance contingent on the progress they have made. It isn’t a race, but the idea is to get you the best results possible in the least amount of time.

Who is Eligible for Assistance

SMARTSTART invests in extraordinary entrepreneurs and experts with high potential whose raw idea, concept or existing business has a viable and verifiable market.

We do (and pay for) our own research to validate this using quantitative economic data from multiple reliable sources and global databases.

Your business can be any size and in any stage of the life cycle (i.e., start-up, launch, growth, expansion, or scale).

Your products and services might currently be being marketed online, offline or a combination of the two.

Of course, if yours is a completely new idea or concept, you won’t likely have any marketing in place for analysis, but this does not disqualify you as an applicant. In fact, this was precisely the situation of our most recent beneficiary of the program who came to us with nothing but an idea to work with. We essentially had to start over from scratch.

Also, while there may not be any revenue in your business at the time of your application, the potential for significant revenue growth over time must be apparent (again, as verified by our own independent research).

As the business owner, you can be anywhere on the spectrum of completely inexperienced to highly experienced in your industry, but you must have a certain character and work ethic and commit to upholding high standards of professional excellence to participate in program benefits.

Our goal is to help business owners realize their business dreams as quickly as possible. Depending on the size of your dream and how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it, timelines do vary.

The support offered through our program is unique to the specific needs and strengths of each beneficiary client; there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in SMARTSTART.

To begin the application process, you’ll need to complete one or more online assessments (SMARTSTART pays the cost of these, if applicable).

What We Look For

All applications receive equal consideration during the selection process.

We are specifically looking for businesses and ideas with high potential for successful development. Typically their owners share one of more of the following characteristics, in that they:

  • have an idea or business with a viable market,
  • take consistent action on their own behalf,
  • are open to learning and applying new ways of thinking,
  • demonstrate high standards of professional excellence, and
  • commit to holding themselves accountable for their results.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We do not invest in the following industries: pornography, big pharma, supplements, financial or real estate investing, or multi-level marketing schemes.

How to Apply

We have a two-stage selection process for all applicants:

STAGE 1: INITIAL ASSESSMENT (online application, open to anyone)

The first review involves completing an application form as part of our intake assessment.

Click Here to Apply

There are NO WRONG ANSWERS to the questions. We just need to learn more about you and your business dream(s).

We might also ask you to complete one or more additional assessments at a later stage of the selection process. (We pay the cost of these, if applicable.)

It usually takes no more than 5 business days to learn the status of your application. A short call will be arranged at mutual convenience if more information is required.

STAGE 2: SPONSORSHIP REVIEW (available to selected candidates only)

Those whose applications are selected to move on to the sponsorship round will be asked to additionally provide two references: one personal, one professional. LinkedIn recommendations can serve as professional references.

We invest significantly in our program beneficiaries and their businesses by spending money strategically on their behalf and make it possible for them to have access to professional services that otherwise might be well out of their budget.

Some business development expenses are 100% covered; others are covered at 90%, with the business owner contributing 10% on his or her own behalf.

This helps business owners do the deep work needed to make their business successful, without having to take on huge debt or risk making expensive mistakes in the development period.

It’s Your Choice

Successful applicants receive a follow up call to discuss what we can offer to support their unique needs at the completion of the sponsorship review. There is no obligation to proceed further unless the business owner wants to take advantage of the benefits of our program.

Click Here to Apply

It costs you nothing to apply for benefits and assistance through the SMARTSTART Philanthropy Program. So, if this is something that interests you, do not delay getting your submission in to us for review.

Let’s build your dream!