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With RBC support, Tony Chapman, Canadian marketing and business leader launches a new #SmallBusinessMatters series as part of his Chatter That Matters podcast — bringing together owners and business experts to share insights, advice and tips for survival.

In this new 10-part podcast series, Tony Chapman talks with Canadian entrepreneurs about how their lives have changed since COVID-19. Joined by a panel of experts and thought leaders, #SmallBusinessMatters dives into the challenges facing entrepreneurs to provide timely insights, ideas and much-needed inspiration.

RBC is proud to help give entrepreneurs a voice at this critical time, and access to business experts as they find their way through uncharted territory.

Series 2, Episode Eight: Putting Pen to Podcasting

Fatima Zaidi is CEO and co-founder of Quill Inc., an imaginative podcast agency that gives people a credible and compelling voice. Born in Oman, she provides a unique perspective in story-telling and is a relentless advocate for women in tech, a champion to bring more diversity into the workplace, a keynote speaker, and thought leader. But, can she do it all? Our experts chime in with their insights:

  • Bruce Croxon, Managing Partner, Round 13 Capital
  • Elizabeth Hughes, Commercial Account Manager, KBI, RBC

  • Series 2, Episode Seven: Your Health Means the World to Paul

    St. Francis Herb Farm is a second generation, family-owned business bringing the finest quality therapeutic herbs to retail stores across Canada and online. Now run by son Paul, and his wife, Caitlin, they have ambitions to go global. To do so, Paul and Caitlin are investing in new infrastructure, exploring new channels to market, while still maintaining the roots of their business – certified organic and being in a constant conversation with nature. We asked industry experts to help St Francis Herb Farm capitalize on their growth and attract talent, customers, and capital.

    • Es Rottschafer, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Fieldmarshal
    • Angela Donnelly, Founder, Corethentic
    • Andrew Staniforth, Vice President CFS, RBC

    • Series 2, Episode Six: Sewn in Canada?

      Kathy Cheng emigrated from Hong Kong to Canada in the 1970s with her parents. Over time Kathy’s family saved enough to start their own sewing shop, Redwood Classics Apparel. Within a decade, they employed 500 staff and fast-forward to today, Kathy is now the CEO. Is it possible to defy the odds and keep Canadians employed in designing and manufacturing in the garment trade? Listen to what our panel of experts have to say on keeping the Canadian dream alive in this industry, including advice from some of the world’s thought leaders on fashion:

      • Jeanne Beker, Style Editor at TSC , Author, Keynote Speaker, Host, Freelance Journalist, Creative Director
      • David Kincaid, Founder & Managing Partner, Level5 Strategy
      • Lori Darlington, VP, Small Business & Strategic Partnerships, RBC

      • Series 2, Episode Five: A Mad Scientist Succeeding In a Mad, Mad World.

        Connie Stacey is an inventor with a brain-burning to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Her solar-powered generator, Grengine, addresses energy poverty to support the one-seventh of the world’s population living without power and using inefficient biomass fuels. This episode highlights the challenges entrepreneurs face when marketing and selling their Canadian technology around the world, combined with Connie’s charm and self-deprecating humour.

        To help Connie with her global quest, we reached out to the experts to share their thoughts on how to think and be big:

        • Mairead Lavery, President & CEO, Export Development Canada
        • Dan Sorotschynski, Brand Marketing Executive
        • Sid Paquette, Head, Venture Capital and Innovation, RBC

        • Series 2, Episode Four: Mothers Know Best But Will The Rest?

          Patrice Mousseau, Founder of Satya, started her business after watching her eight-month-old daughter scratch her arms and legs from ezcema. Looking for an alternative to a steroid cream, she researched and identified five natural and organic ingredients. She started marketing her formulation with word of mouth, then a farmers market and fast forward to today and 800 stores sell organic skin cream. How big can Patrice’s business get? She is already doing deals in Hong Kong and the USA. How can Patrice manage her growth? To help, three experts weigh in:

          • Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO
          • Devinder Gill, VP, Commercial Markets, RBC
          • Corby Fine, one of Canada’s leading thinkers on digital activation

          • Series 2, Episode Three: Can Fable Get the Attention they Need & Deserve?

   wants you to buy your dinner plates and cutlery from them online. In the future, Fable Co-founder Joe Parenteau intends to extend the company’s reach to other parts of the home, but it’s both challenging and expensive in a crowded marketplace. Listen as our three thought leaders chime in with different opinions about Fable’s prospects, while offering Joe some incredible advice on creating a world-renowned brand.

            • Sunil Sharma, Managing Director at Techstars Toronto
            • Joe Mimran, President JM&A Inc, Founder Club Monaco and Joe Fresh
            • Lori Darlington, VP Small Business & Strategic Partnerships, RBC

            • Series 2, Episode Two: Is Wonderkind Too Much to Wonder About?

              Wonderkind brings unique & tailored gifts right to your door from over 120 Made in Canada businesses. Founders Tara Cochrane and Shawna Pereira have a burning desire to empower female entrepreneurs and support communities across the country; but, they wonder if all of this good is complicating Wonderkind’s offering and making it harder for the consumer to buy?

              Our expert panel provides on advice on balancing Tara and Shawna’s triple bottom line values of profit, people, and planet:

              Series 2, Episode One: Sheri Allain Has a Dilemma: Sell, Scale or Franchise

              After noticing her children’s school had nights devoted to drama, music, arts and crafts, but not to STEM, Sheri Allain created CODEZILLA – hands-on coding classes, camps, parties, lunch and after school programs for kids ages 4-14,. Sheri’s business takes off but then COVID-19 hits and hands-on becomes virtual. Sheri transforms her business only to find parents all over the world knocking at her door!

              Sheri asks our experts for help on how to deal with her business growth:

              • Paul daSilva, National VP, Franchise Financing, RBC
              • Bruce Croxon, Managing Partner, Round 13 Capital
              • Ken Wong, Professor, Smith School of Business at Queens University

              Episodes Recap: Thirty Thought Leaders Provide Their Expert Advice

              Thirty thought leaders step up with profound insights, compelling ideas, and much-needed and deserved inspiration to help small business owners get to where they need and deserve to go. In Series One, Small Business Matters personalized the stories of 10 small business owners so that we understand their dreams and challenges. Why? Small business is the heart of our economy and it is in our collective interest to keep them beating strong. In this episode, Tony Chapman shares some of the insights, wisdom, and thought leadership we can all benefit from.

              Episodes Recap: Meet the Heroes of Small Business Matters Series One

              Each week, during the darkest days of COVID, we produced a podcast featuring a small business owner, and three thought leaders who help them get to where they need and deserve to go. We went remotely across Canada to explore many sectors of our economy. We talked to startups, established businesses, first-generation Canadians and family-owned companies that spanned decades. Every one of them inspired me with their resilience, resolve, and ability to reinvent. In this podcast, I revisit each one to pay tribute to these heroes and to share what I learned along the way.

              Episode Ten: Can Made with Local go Global?

              Sheena Russell is the co-founder of Made with Local, a Certified B Corp food business that sources local ingredients and employees who have barriers to the mainstream workforce. When COVID hits, the government orders this ‘high risk’ segment of the population into isolation, leaving Sheena with a ton of orders to fill and no one there to help her. Sheena makes a trademark entrepreneurial move – she jumps in with her family to bake, make and ship products, and fast-tracks a new product that is perfect for these times.

              Sheena turns to our expert panel for advice on competing in the competitive food market while staying true to her vision of balancing purpose and profit:

              • Sheena Russell, Founder, Made with Local
              • Andrew Black, Founder Managing Partner, Brand Project
              • Bobby Sahni, Partner & Co-Founder, Ethnicity Matters
              • Kellie Sauriol, Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC

              • Episode Nine: Will Surmesur Fit in a Post-COVID-19 Economy?

                François and his brother Vincent, founders of Surmesur, understand customer service better than most. Instead of selling a suit, they train their staff to sell into a moment that someone wants to own –walking down the aisle, presenting in a boardroom, or looking sharp for that first date. They’ve combined this insight, with a personality led shopping experience and state of the art technology. The result is fabulous, fitted, and affordable made-to-measure fashion for men and a loyal customer base. Their skills as entrepreneurs lead them from one store in Quebec City to expansion across Canada and into the United States and Mexico. Then COVID hits. We asked our expert panel to help François chart a profitable path forward:

                Episode Eight: Bedridden by COVID, Can Ernesto Save His Restaurants?

                Ernesto Gomez is a first-generation Canadian who fell in love with food helping his mother and grandmother prepare meals in their Mexico kitchen. His restaurant business is a case study in entrepreneurship in terms of restaurants formats, culture and community. He and his business partner Victor, had set their sights on a new location in Spain when COVID-19 attacks. They have to shut down their restaurants, and Ernesto catches the virus. This is a story about resilience, reinvention and catching dreams served with compelling advice on how to engage the head, heart and wallets of customers. Can our experts help keep Ernesto’s dream alive and jobs for his employees?

                Episode Seven: Events are Cancelled, Jennifer Needs to Pivot Staff Shop.

                Jennifer Menard’s life has been about reinvention, regardless of her circumstance. She found her path through a mentor who employed her and then subsequently encouraged her to buy the business she helped build. She rebrands, brings in a partner and Staff Shop is now staffing events across North America and even the Caribbean. Her business is guided by purpose and all is promising until COVID-19 cancels every event.

                Listen to how Jennifer responds by pivoting her business, earning the admiration and advice from our experts:

                • Stephen Shaw who has produced for the Rolling Stones and Oprah Winfrey;
                • Joe Jackman who has helped some of the words largest brands pivot;
                • Kiruba Sankar, Global Leader, Global Procurement – Corporate Social Responsibility, RBC

                Episode Six: Can Hoot Reading Get the Attention They Deserve?

                After a five-year stint with Sesame Streets Labs in New York, and getting her Masters in Education at Harvard, Carly Shuler created Matching students with real teachers along with Carly’s proprietary technology and teaching methods, her business takes off. But will it draw attention from multinationals and steal her market share with their deeper pockets? Our team of experts steps in to help:

                We ask experts to weigh in:

                • Lisa Kimmel, Chair & CEO, Canada & Latin America – Edelman
                • John Ruffolo, Founder, OMERS Ventures and Co-Founder – Council of Canadian Innovators
                • Eric Leblanc, VP, Knowledge based Industry, RBC

                Episode Five: Mother Raw battles the food giants

                Kristi Knowles carried on the legacy of her company’s Founder with a bold rebrand to gain market share against international giants. Mother Raw continues to innovate into a lineup of plant-based, organic salad dressings, and condiments, proudly manufactured in Canada. In just over a year, Mother Raw is in 5,000 locations, including Target in the USA and Walmart in Canada. But can Kristi finance this growth? Is Food Service a new opportunity? What role does Manufactured in Canada play?

                We ask experts to weigh in:

                Episode Four: Can Joe O’Brien keep his boats afloat?

                Joe O’Brien is a gifted entrepreneur. His Newfoundland & Labrador tourism operation, O’Brien’s Boat Tours, includes three boats, two restaurants, gift shops, and shuttle buses as he captains his guests to the edge of the world where they get so close to a whale that they can smell its breath. Joe’s philosophy on how to create experiences for his guests and employees that last a lifetime is a masterclass for the service economy. But could this economic storm capsize his business? We called in some experts to help lift his spirit and his boats back into the water:

                • Ujwal Arkalgud, a cultural anthropologist, Motivbase
                • Alexandra Blum, a talented tourism marketer, Silverlining Marketing
                • Kellie Sauriol, Regional Vice President, RBC who considers small business operators as heroes for their advice.

                Episode Three: A powerful insight leads Lisa Taylor to reinvent the future of work

                Lisa left the security of a great job to launch the Challenge Factory, a research-based, process-driven 100 person consultancy that help companies create productive cultures where people work with a higher purpose. Moving from the uncertainty of a startup to the complexities of leading a growing business, her business is turned upside down by today’s economic uncertainty. Our experts lean in with insights on branding, positioning, and building a more robust social presence:

                • Kelly Peters, CEO & Co-Founder, BeWorks
                • Beverley Hammond, Chief Business Officer, Brokenheartloveaffair
                • Caroline Paxton, Media & Strategic Initiatives, RBC
                • Lori Darlington, VP Small Business & Strategic Partnerships, RBC

                Episode Two: From renting to reinvention – but is HealthHub Solutions running out of time?

                Paul Hemburrow and his partner bought a profitable business that rents TV sets to patients in hospitals and expanded it to offer a suite of innovative tools that patients can access at their bedside. COVID-19 arrives and no one is focused on the future. HealthHub knows that putting the future of healthcare in the patient’s hands is the right vision, but they are running out of time and money. Our panel steps in with expert advice:

                • David Kincaid – Founder & Managing Partner – Level5 Strategy
                • Trung Ngo – Clinic Director and Doctor of Chiropractic – Nova Healthcare
                • Laura Davy, National Director, CFS Client Strategy – Retail and Health Care, RBC
                • Sid Paquette, Head, Venture Capital and Innovation, RBC

                Episode One: What happens when the wheels come off Traci’s business?

                Traci Shepheard left a very successful 24-year career to pursue an entrepreneurial dream in the health and wellness space. Her idea was a mobile meditation studio and put her life savings into, outfitting an Airstream Trailer along the way. Then, as she started the ignition, the wheels fell off of her business. Traci talks to Tony about managing stress, and then gets expert advice from:

                • Denise Rossetto, Broken Heart Love Affair
                • Corby Fine, one of Canada’s leading thinkers on digital activation
                • Lori Darlington, VP of Small Business at RBC