Julio Batres introduced Shane Thomson who has over 20 years combined experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. His early career began in Hamilton, working in hospitality, marketing and community development. An alumnus of Mohawk College in Hamilton, Shane's career has led him across sectors working for some of the countries largest employers including Dofasco, Camco,the City of Hamilton and Mohawk College where he sits on the Business School Advisory Committee. His work there with the students entrepreneurs led him to be nominated ACE Canada's Student Leader of the Year and where he has awarded Mohawk's Gold Medal and President's Student Ambassador Award for Business Management

Shane's passion for entrepreneurship has inspired many a poignant message to a variety of audiences, among them, career development seminars, pre-apprenticeship programs, labour action centres, school boards and industry education councils. Shane's private consulting in the not for profit sector explored projects in social entrepreneurship and business planning. Recently his clients have included the City of Brantford Business Resource Centres and The Robotic Certification Standards Alliance. Shane has also lent his expertise to the Brant United Way 's Campaign Cabinet, a cause he continues to support here in St. Catharines .

Shane's Current role in Small Business Consultant in the City's Economic and Tourism Services department where he manages the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre. The Centre's services are provided in partnership with the provinces Ministry of Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

The St. Catharines & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre can help you.

The centre offers a one-stop shop of resources and guidance for small businesses. A business consultant is available, by appointment, to discuss your business and review your business plan. This service is free and confidential.  Business Information Officer can help with your market, competitor and industry research.

Research all the information you need to start or expand your business. You will find information pamphlets and booklets to take home. Directories, guides and magazines are available for in-office use. Four computers with internet access are available, two of which have been contributed directly by the Community Access Program (CAP). The centre can research a number of exclusive business and government databases for you. Seminars feature guest speakers from various professions and provide an opportunity to ask questions about your business start-up, current operations or business idea.

In addition to a personal equity contribution by the owner, there are ways to obtain funding or information about capital resources for businesses as outlined below:

Canada Small Business Financing (CSBF) Program
For the purchase, installation, renovation, improvement, or modernization of equipment, land or buildings necessary for the operation of the business request this specific loan when talking to your loan officer at your chartered bank. Most banks offer this federal program (Industry
Canada ) designed to assist new and existing businesses.

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has v arious financial assistance programs that are designed to meet the specific needs of your business. They also offer business planning information and consulting

Self Employment Benefit Program (SEB) offers i ncome support, training and technical assistance are offered to those who are unemployed and social assistance recipients who wish to start their own business.

Export Development Corporation p rovides financial assistance for exporters of Canadian goods and services.

The centre offer several start-up business programs for young entrepreneurs such as: sumer Company, Business Plan Competition and Canadian Youth Business.

The Niagara Secondary School Business Plan Competition gives opportunity to enhance youths skills through the development of a professional business plan, the competition is designed to challenge the youth's entrepreneurial talents.

The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) and the St. Catharines and Area Small Business Enterprise Centre have established a partnership agreement to offer mentorship, learning resources and business start-up loans to aspiring young entrepreneurs aged 18-34 years in the Niagara Region. CYBF offers young entrepreneurs start-up financing up to $15,000.00 with support of a business mentor.  The business mentor increases the likelihood of the entrepreneur's success through the transfer of experienced business knowledge.  Training and support are provided for the mentoring relationship as well as the young entrepreneur's business.

 A well-prepared business plan is the key in successfully operating a business. It covers research and analysis of the market, customers, suppliers and competition. Other key elements include short and long-term business goals and a solid cash flow forecast. Prepare your business plan in the start-up stage of small business, then consult and revise it on an ongoing basis.

John Teibert thanked Shane Thomson