About Smarta

Get ready to get Smarta

It’s not always easy being an independent business. We know, we’re one too. But we love what we do or we wouldn’t be doing it - and it’s time for us all to really shine.

Smarta is a new place for independent businesses who love to learn, grow, and support each other; a community that will shape business products of the future.

Ready and waiting for you right now, we have:

But this is just the beginning. We’re busy working behind the scenes to bring you the innovative tools and business insights you’ve always dreamed of.

And because you’re already in the know, you’ll be the first to benefit.

By joining Smarta now, you’ll help us to create a truly intelligent resource, to help you make business decisions with a whole new level of confidence.

Join for free now

Our entrepreneurial roots

Smarta is from the same team that brought you Transmit Startups, the UK’s leading provider of Start Up Loans for business.

We’ve backed thousands of entrepreneurs with more than £100million since 2013, and we know the strength of startup spirit that charges through the UK.

Our own business was created by three entrepreneurs who thought that the support offered to businesses lacked empathy, enthusiasm, and real creativity. We’re here to change that.

Based in Gateshead, we’re mostly Northern souls working with you and for you. Most of our team have been self-employed before. Some of them still are. So, you know, when it comes to running a business, we just… ‘get it’.

The three amigos

Richard Myers

Richard Myers is a respected expert in the field of businesses startups. A successful serial entrepreneur with numerous businesses under his belt, Richard is the co-founder of Transmit Startups, and the leading brain behind Smarta.

Rich’s experience of starting and scaling several businesses has equipped him with a wealth of expertise to share: from practical advice on growing a company, to life lessons learnt along the way. This - paired with his passion for people-focused business - informs his approach to leadership, lending and life.

With a keen interest in Buddhism and veganism, Rich believes in doing the right thing by people and the planet. But he isn’t ashamed to say business is about making money too. From his initial aims to make money by working for himself, he’s grown to value the flexibility and independence that self-employment offers.

He enjoys using his professional skills to help make people’s lives better, supporting others to follow in his footsteps as business founders. He strongly believes that profit is a by-product of meeting people’s needs with a great product or service.


Damian Baetens

Damian Baetens is a well-known name in the UK startup sector. A former self-employed artist manager with major names in the UK music industry, Damian went on to carve out a successful career as a consultant in the creative industries.

After meeting Rich Myers and Ian Straker, the trio co-founded Transmit Startups, from which Smarta has developed. Damian’s experience of starting and growing his own company means he is ideally placed to advise other entrepreneurs on the practicalities of setting up a new business.

Since his days as an artist manager, Damian has always known his skills lie in co-ordinating the talents of others. At Transmit, he enjoys focusing on staff development and progression planning, so that the business he’s helped grow will be in safe hands in the future.

Damian is inspired by life’s adventures: both his own and other people’s. With two pre-teen children, he’s planning a grand family adventure when they finish school, and loves the fact he’ll have the flexibility to do that. The fact that his business helps launch other entrepreneurs on the path to career success and satisfaction is an added bonus.


Ian Straker

Former DJ and record label owner Ian Straker launched several successful music businesses in his early career, before moving into consultancy in the creative sector. He is now Operations Director at Transmit Startups and the final third of the leadership of Smarta.

Passionate about driving change, developing people, and business performance, Ian is a self-confessed data junkie. Having ditched decks for databases, Ian supports fellow startup founders with his considerable expertise

Ian is a people-focused business coach who enjoys supporting people to achieve their full potential. He has delivered a number of workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs in the North East, such as ‘Show me the money’ and ‘Taking care of business’. He is also a regular panel member at training events in the region.

Driven by a passion for developing both businesses and the people behind them, Ian loves applying his expertise to help businesses, their staff and systems to thrive.