16 sessions


Content to expand your knowledge and serve your clients better


Opportunities to network, learn, and share with colleagues

About the SBC Ontario Network Conference
May 7-9th – Novotel Vaughan

The SBC Ontario Network conference will bring together managers, business advisors, and teams from all 54 SBC locations, as well as industry leaders and partners from throughout the province. This in-person gathering offers the chance to acquire new skills, stay updated on emerging technologies and trends, network with colleagues, and gain tools to further support your clients’ success.

We are excited to host this conference, specially tailored to Small Business Centres, with the aim of boosting the success of the clients you serve across the province

SBC Ontario would like to thank our conference sponsors for their contribution to the 2024 Conference

Our Key Note Speakers

Co-Founder and CEO, Willful
Session: May 8th 3:30pm

Named one of Bay Street Bull’s “2021 Women of the Year”, Erin Bury is one of Canada’s top
female entrepreneurs as the co-founder and CEO at Willful. She is also a startup advisor and
former marketer and technology journalist. Drawing on her experience, Bury shows audiences
how to apply entrepreneurial skills to a business of any size, harness the latest digital and
marketing trends for business success, and create a killer personal brand.

At Willful, an online estate planning platform, Bury drives the company’s mission to make it easier for Canadians to prepare for and deal with death in a digital age. She recently went head-
to-head with CBC’s Dragons, securing a deal for her company in season 16 of Dragons’ Den. Willful was also named one of Bay Street Bull’s “Power 50” companies in 2021.

In her spare time, Bury is the co-founder of The County Wine Tours, a bicycle wine tour company based in Prince Edward County. She also advises multiple startups, including podcasting platform Quill. She serves on the board for Save the Children Canada and is co-chair of the #Tech4SickKids initiative for SickKids Hospital.

Workplace Resilience & Network Expert; Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Coach, Consultant
Session: May 9th 11:00am

Allison Graham works with leaders to build daily resilience and amplify their personal capacity to create space for what matters most. She’s been speaking and consulting since 2006 serving audiences of highly-accomplished professionals and business owners. S

he works with teams so that they can keep doing all they do, just without the typical stress and risk of burnout.

You may recognize her from media outlets like Global News, the Financial Post, Breakfast Television, Investment Executive, CP24, and CTV’s Your Mornings.

Her last book Take Back Your Weekends: Stress Less Do More BE Happier! is inspiring professionals across the globe to stress less while doing more; and her next book The Stress Illusion: Reframe Stress to Make it Your Superpower is being hailed as a game-changer in the conversation around how to best deal with stress. 

Our Speakers

OWNR, Excellence Sponsor
Session: May 8th 10:00am

Your business idea is brilliant—you just know it could become something big. But how do you start? Where do you start? What are your sales projections? Should you worry about competition? (Hint: yes) How do you decide your company goals? What even is a mission statement?

Which is where a business plan comes in. By mapping out every last detail of your business, from financial projections and staff and employees, to marketing strategies and mission statements, not only are you minimizing potential hiccups but you’re also providing future financiers a reputable business to invest in. Introducing Blueprint by Ownr.  Blueprint is a free business plan generator that allows entrepreneurs of all stages to create a polished, professional, and complete business plan.

Owner, ByNan Business Solutions, Speaker Sponsor
Session: May 8th 2:30pm

As a business coach, I have the privilege of working with business owners who want to take their business to the next level. People work with coaches because they want to improve elements in their professional/personal lives or they have important goals to achieve. Would you like your business to develop more profit, enhance your team and achieve your business goals? As your coach, I will be working with you in five key areas. My goal is to help business owners spend less time working “IN” their business and more time working “ON” their business.

This workshop is designed to demonstrate why business coaching should be imperative for all SMBs, what effective business coaching entails and the important details to consider when choosing a business coach.

Ungrind, CEPA, Speaker Sponsor
Session: May 9th 10:00am

Through his work in management and strategy consulting, he has been instrumental in helping numerous businesses navigate the complexities of scaling and growth. Spending the last 5 years as a partner at a strategy consulting firm, he has successfully supported businesses as they mapped and executed strategic plans.

His knowledge and strategy acumen have been honed through extensive work with diverse clients across various industries.

Passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to break free from the relentless cycle of business ownership, he is committed to guiding them towards personal clarity. By helping owners understand what they truly want out of life and envisioning their ideal post-business reality, he enables them to design a comprehensive and executable roadmap.

Nicole Haney Business Coach, Speaker
Session: May 9th 9:00am

Nicole Haney is a Business Coach, Professional Speaker, and Business Professor. In 2015, Nicole quit her corporate job to start a health food bakery, without any experience in the food industry. In just 4 short years, she scaled that bakery to a national energy bar company and in 2019, she was named Top 20 Under 40 for her business accomplishments.

Having built a six figure national brand, Nicole now runs an international Coaching Business and speaks for organizations and academic institutions around the world, including Ivey Business School, California State University, and SBDC New York. She also teaches in a post-graduate business program and is incredibly passionate about helping other entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and reach their business goals.

Business Basics, Speaker
Session: May 8th 1:30pm

A cash flow statement is more than just an account of the ebbs and flows on money in and out of a business, or a key financial statement. In its lines hides the core of a business’s operations and the thought processes of its owners. When read and assessed correctly, it can locate flaws in a business model and projections, pinpoint the underestimation of costs, the overinflation of revenues, and the costing and pricing of the products and services that drive business growth. More importantly, it can find the flaws in the assumptions about the business’s production and sales capacity, capital need, and owners’ time management. Its power far exceeds the correct mathematical summation of its rows and columns.

So let’s learn how to read between the lines to help our small business clients.

, Speaker
Session: May 8th 10:00am

Neil Horner is an independent food industry consultant.  As a trained Food Technologist Neil has spent over 25 years supporting food businesses around the world.  Neil’s breadth of experience and passion for food is frequently used as a catalyst to accelerate growth and change in food businesses. 

Over the last 10 years Neil has focused on start up food businesses in Canada, Australia and China, leading projects which include facility development, product innovation, development, ingredient and packaging specification / sourcing and process development.

, Speaker
Session: May 8th 10:00am

Trissia Mellor is a dynamic economic developer who has led innovative initiatives within the agri-food sector. With a proven track record for fostering partnerships and entrepreneurship, Trissia spearheaded the study which catalyzed the building of a $2.5M municipally-owned-and-operated food processing facility.

Over the last 5 years Trissia has focused on leading business growth and transformational change at the Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre, and supporting food entrepreneurs in the Consumer Packaged Goods Sector.  Trissia serves on the Board of Directors George Brown College’s Food Research Innovation Studio and the Northumberland Federation of Agriculture.

Opportunity Group, Speaker
Session: May 8th 11:00am

Opportunity Group has been a growing and evolving business consulting practice since 2012. Lead consultant, Karen McDonald-Hurley, is always on the lookout for new opportunities to create a cohesive plan that will achieve results. She has an extensive background owning multiple businesses and working in non-profits.   Through Opportunity Group, she uses the expertise of established entrepreneurs to help businesses plan so they can maximize success faster.

In this presentation, Karen will explore 2024 trends in business and consumer behavior and share her experience evaluating trends and how they can be leveraged into business decisions.  Using case studies, based on businesses she has worked with, she will demonstrate where trends fit into the business plan and the caveats to using them.

Mastercard, Speaker
Session: May 8th 11:00am

Nishant Raina is the Director of Product Management for Small & Medium Enterprise Solutions at Mastercard Canada. In this role, Nishant is responsible for developing the SME segment strategies within Canada. This includes commercializing new products and services and supporting new product development with partners. 

Nishant is passionate about making an impact within the SMB community, empowering businesses and Mastercard customers with opportunities through innovation, mentorship and connections.   

Prior to Mastercard, Nishant roles at RBC involved shaping the product line strategy and ongoing product management of the business cards portfolio, and the modernization of retail consumer products. Nishant holds a Master of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario, and an Honors Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University

Coach and Consultant, Speaker
Session: May 8th 2:30pm

Claire Bouvier, a forward-thinking business coach and consultant leading the charge in integrating artificial intelligence (AI) to uplift small businesses and empower meaningful human connections.

Drawing from her rich background as a former high school visual arts teacher and multidisciplinary artist, Claire seamlessly fuses technology with creativity to reshape the landscape of modern entrepreneurship.

Beyond simply streamlining operations, Claire’s approach emphasizes the profound impact of AI on fostering genuine connections and driving positive change in communities. Through her guidance, entrepreneurs discover how to leverage AI not just for productivity, but also to amplify their influence on causes that matter most.

One of Claire’s specialties lies in harnessing the power of generative AI for text and image creation. By unlocking the potential of these cutting-edge tools, she helps businesses craft compelling narratives and captivating visuals that resonate deeply with their audience.

Join Claire Bouvier on a transformative journey where AI isn’t just a tool for efficiency, but a catalyst for human connection and creative expression. Experience “The New Way to Work,” where technology and humanity converge to redefine success in entrepreneurship.


Small business is the backbone of Ontario’s economy. In recognition of this vital role, Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBECs) were created in local communities across Ontario to deliver services and programs to entrepreneurs. The SBEC core programming dates back to the mid-1980s with a few pilot offices and has now grown to include 54 SBECs across Ontario.


Funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, we work directly with small business owners to fulfill the mandate of growing the economy and creating new jobs by delivering programs, services, resources and expert advice. We also partner with multiple federal, provincial and municipal organizations to offer a single portal for small business support. Learn More