Capital Ideas Business Profile

Kim Smith

KimSmithCapital Ideas Community Manager


Office Guardians: Please tell everyone about what you do at Capital Ideas?

I joined the Postmedia team in December 2014 and I am currently the Community Manager for Capital Ideas in Calgary. My primary role is building relationships with entrepreneurs and organizations that support the local business community as well as providing a platform in which to share their knowledge and experience with other business owners. Our tagline is “Business owners helping business owners by sharing what they know”. It’s a great privilege to be able to talk with people who are helping shape and grow a strong business presence in our great city. I currently host and moderate a monthly panel and we also feature advice from entrepreneurs on our Thursday page in the Calgary Herald FP section. Check out the podcast here: Capital Ideas Podcast 



Office Guardians: How did you end up teaming up with Capital Ideas?

Kim: To be honest, I was looking for a new challenge. I came from a long career in the theatre business, and had a lot of experience in event planning, staff training and leadership development. When the opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to give it a shot. Having no journalism training or experience was a huge hurdle for me, but it has been very rewarding to jump in and learn something brand new! I am an entrepreneur at heart, so it’s easy to be interested in all that I do with Capital Ideas.

Office Guardians: It is no secret that Capital Ideas is getting some serious attention from the Business owners in Calgary, what has the journey been like for Capital Ideas to start getting such great exposure? 

Nov panelPostmedia, by Jenn Pierce for Capital Ideas 


Kim: First of all, we are fortunate to have a great partnership with our sponsor ATB Business, who supports entrepreneurs in a big way. We also seek out opportunities to link up with other great organizations in our city, like the Chamber of Commerce, Business Link and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, to name a few, in order to reach a broader audience. We have a great platform to use in the Herald and online as well.

Owning a business can be very lonely and isolating at times, and I’ve found that people want to know that there are others out there experiencing some of the same challenges.  There are some business owners who want to freely share their thoughts and advice and there are some who really need that advice! Whether the conversation takes place on the pages of the Herald or at one of our live events with a fellow attendee or panelist, it is a valuable one.

Office Guardians: Are there any new initiatives coming from Capital Ideas that will help business owners in the next couple months? 

Kim: Just a couple weeks ago, my colleague Kelly and I decided to hit the streets in Kensington to introduce ourselves to some local businesses and share what we do at Capital Ideas. We were amazed at how many  owners were available to chat and also happy that we would take the time and energy to visit them in person. This was such a great experience, that we are planning to visit other communities in the months to come. We are also experimenting with some new podcast ideas, so stay tuned. You never know where we will show up!

crowd at backPostmedia, by Jenn Pierce for Capital Ideas 


Office Guardians: In the last season we have seen some major changes happening throughout Alberta; whether through the staggering number of lay offs to the Fort Mac Fires. Situations like this have already caused an increase in the number of businesses being started. What changes have you noticed in your industry? 

Kim: There’s no question that these situations have been incredibly challenging for our city and our province as a whole. Here in Calgary, I have found that people are open to new business ideas like never before and are willing to put what they know behind them to try something new. It takes bravery and resilience to not fold under some of the pressures being faced, and I’m finding that people in record numbers are exploring the path of entrepreneurship. Many of the business workshops, seminars and classes being offered are filling up quickly. The sense of community being felt and talked about is at an all-time high for many, and I believe the business landscape in Calgary will probably look quite different in 5-10 years.

Office Guardians: Office Guardians has had the privilege of answering some of your questions in the Calgary Herald. Where did this idea come from? What have you learned from the input from these entrepreneurs? 

Kim: Capital Ideas started in Edmonton at the Journal a few years ago. The idea was co-founded by Karen Unland & Brittney Le Blanc, who decided they wanted to experiment with engaging audiences in a new way. There have been countless words of wisdom shared from small business owners, and I’ve found everyone has a valuable story to tell. It’s so cool to get a glimpse of the real person behind the business and find out what they have to say on a particular topic. It’s also really interesting getting input from startups who are just getting going, to businesses who have been around for a long time and have weathered some storms. The perspective is sometimes very different and a really good read. There are always great takeaways.

Jenn Pierce, Calgary Herald Calgary, AB; FEBRUARY 25, 2016 -- Kim Smith, Capital Ideas community manager and panel host, left, moderates the event at the Glenbow Museum's ConocoPhillips theatre in Calgary on Thursday February 25, 2016. (Jenn Pierce/Calgary Herald) For Capital Ideas.Postmedia, by Jenn Pierce for Capital Ideas 


Office Guardians: What has been your biggest failure? Looking back at that failure, what have you learned and would do differently now? 

Kim: For me personally, I don’t know that I would call it a ‘failure’, but a stumbling block that I always need to keep in check is to not get in a hurry to reach the finish line. My personality type is one that likes to jump ahead, and one thing I have learned is that it is so important to enjoy the journey. Some of the greatest blessings and unexpected wins come when we slow down and pay closer attention to what’s going on around us. At this point in my life I try to do something everyday that blesses someone that I cross paths with.

Office Guardians: What services does Capital Ideas offer? and how can these services better the every day business owner? 

Kim: Besides attending our events and providing an opportunity for business owners to share and receive advice, we also take the time to highlight many business events throughout the city through our online calendar, newspaper, social media and weekly newsletter. There are many organizations who are offering great services and we want others to know about them! We also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to submit a question that they would like to ask the business community in the Herald. Our podcast is pretty cool to check out as well.


Postmedia, by Jenn Pierce for Capital Ideas 


Office Guardians: Since working with Capital Ideas what has been your highlight? 

Kim: There have been many, but the best part of my job is getting to meet and talk with people who are passionate about what they do, whether it be on a panel with an audience or one-on-one over a coffee. I had no idea of the level of talent, ideas and innovation that exist right here in our own backyard. Many times I have thought to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that? It’s brilliant!”  If I could find a way to have my office part-time in a coffee shop, I’d do it.

Office Guardians: Is there anything you would like to add? What should we know about you, that we haven’t touched on? 

Kim: Just to brag a little, I really should mention that our Capital Ideas teams in Edmonton and Calgary recently won an International News Media Association  (INMA) award for ‘Best New Concept to Incubate Products or Ideas’. The awards were given out in London, England on May 24, 2016 and we are thrilled to be the winner in this category!



Jenn Pierce, Calgary Herald Calgary, AB; FEBRUARY 25, 2016 -- Capital Ideas at the Glenbow Museum's ConocoPhillips theatre in Calgary on Thursday February 25, 2016. (Jenn Pierce/Calgary Herald) For Capital Ideas.


The Collaboration Section


We like to ask all of the companies we profile for some insight into what they use to stay on top of what the latest trends are. Here is what Kim from Capital Ideas shared with us:

Kim: Since our focus is on local business, we tend to keep our go-to business resources local. Here is a list of a few of Capital Idea’s faves:

ATB Business

Alberta BoostR

Calgary Economic Development

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Business Link

Startup Calgary

Innovate Calgary

Alberta BoostR


And here is a link to the Capital Ideas online calendar of some business events happening in and around Calgary.

Office Guardians would like to say a big thank you to Kim for taking part in this month’s business profile. Please take a second and connect with Kim and Capital Ideas online today!

Twitter: @capitalideasyyc @RiotgirlKim
LinkedIn: Capital Ideas Alberta Kim Smith
Email: moc.aidemtsopnull@htimsmk

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