About US


Whether you are looking to grow your small business or have a brilliant idea to start a new venture, the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD) has the tools and resources to help you make it happen. If you are seeking advice and guidance regarding your business, look no further!

VISION:     Every entrepreneur we serve achieves business success

MISSION: To inspire people to build successful businesses


  • Fostering a continuous learning culture
  • Serving with integrity and professionalism
  • Strength through partnerships and collaboration
  • Inspiring innovation and driving change
  • Success through empowerment

The Business Advisory Centre Durham is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1999. We are funded by the Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, and the Regional Municipality of Durham. We are also a part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE Network).

We are one of 56 SBEC’s (Small Business Enterprise Centres) in Ontario and we strive to inspire entrepreneurs to build successful businesses! We guide our clients to increase their chance of success and survival by providing:

  • Business Advisory Services
  • Entrepreneurship Funding Programs
  • One-on-One Meetings & Business Mentoring
  • Business Training & Networking Events

We assist clients who launch and grow successful business within the Region of Durham. Generally our clients are in mainstream businesses account for 85% of Canada’s economy and not creating an invention or product with intellectual property. By helping our clients be successful, we assist them in creating economic wealth through job creation and retention.

To date, we have served over 10,000 clients who have created over 2000 businesses!


Teresa Shaver, Executive Director

Teresa joined BACD in August 2012 and has been working with the board of directors and key stakeholders to bring many new initiatives and programs to BACD. Teresa worked in over 5 start up organizations across 3 countries and moved to Canada in August 1999 to be part of a small start up in Toronto that specialized in Call Centre Staffing. After working in this industry for 7 years, she went to work for the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and spent 5 years there. Teresa loves working with the local business community and helping small businesses to be successful. Teresa was also a business coach for the OSEB program working with new start up businesses for 3 years. Teresa has her designation as a Registered Business Coach from the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches and is in the process of completing her Economic Development Designation through the University of Waterloo.  In her spare time Teresa loves to read, teach yoga and volunteer in her community.

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Patrice Esper, Business Advisor & Starter Company Program Coordinator

Patrice became part of the BACD Team in 2014. She is an experienced professional with a strong and diverse background in management and entrepreneurship having opened and operated businesses ranging from retail to real estate services in three countries. A Penn Foster honours graduate of an Associate of Science degree with a major in Hospitality management, Patrice coordinates the Starter Company Program and helps provide client services support. Patrice is an active member of the Ajax-Pickering Toastmasters Club and enjoys representing the Durham Region as a place to work and play, wherever possible.

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Andrea Rowland, Business Advisor | Marketing Specialist

Andrea joined BACD officially in October 2017, although has worked with the BACD for over 3 years providing workshops and mentorship. She has over 20 years international experience in marketing, branding and communications having graduated with a B.A. Honours Degree in Graphic Design. Andrea's true entrepreneurial spirit expressed itself when she started a craft brewery in Australia which has given her hands-on knowledge of the challenges of starting and growing a business which she now shares with clients at BACD.

She has been running her own branding and marketing business in Oshawa and is now a certified GrowthWheel Business Advisor.

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Ashley McBride, Program Administrator, Summer Company & Starter Company

Ashley McBride joined BACD in January 2016 as the Program Administrator for the Summer Company and Starter Company program. Ashley has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a post-graduate certificate in Human Resources Management. Ashley has kept herself very busy keeping up with all the program requirements and marking of business plans! Her thoroughness and attention to detail helps make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, running and traveling.

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Bryan Kanarens, Business Advisor

Before joining BACD as a part-time Business Advisor, Bryan was the Entrepreneur in Residence for the Spark Centre. Bryan has worked with BACD for a number of years as a mentor for new start-up companies and we are very happy to have him with us. Previously, Bryan worked at OCE as Director, Strategic Partnerships within OCE’s Centre for Communications and Information Technologies. Before OCE, Bryan was Vice President and COO of WSi Interactive Corporation, a Vancouver based, publicly traded technology incubator where he was instrumental in building the company through acquisitions and the creation of new businesses.

At Thomson & Associates Marketing, Bryan headed up a marketing agency focused on the development of marketing and customer loyalty programs for clients that included American Express, Air Canada, HBC, Sears, Imperial Oil and McLean Hunter.

Earlier, he held progressively more senior positions with American Express, relating to responsibilities for corporate planning and marketing, in both Canada and the US.

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Lindy Schultz, Bookkeeper & Admin Coordinator

Lindy joined the BACD team as the part-time bookkeeper in October 2016. She is an experienced professional with a background in Bookkeeping, Payroll and Office Administration having worked in South Africa until moving to Canada in 2015. Lindy has a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Economics.
In her spare time Lindy likes to get out into nature, craft and spend time with her family.

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BACD Board
Ex Officios


  • Fostering a continuous learning culture
  • Strength through partnerships and collaboration
  • Success through empowerment
  • Serving with integrity
  • Inspiring innovation and driving change


We will be the acknowledged strategic partner and leading resource serving mainstream entrepreneurs and small business up to 5 years in business.


We are passionate experts inspiring our clients to become leaders of successful businesses in Durham Region.


BACD provided an amazing source of support, guidance, training and constructive critiquing, both on a business level as well as personal. The experienced in-house business leaders and staff, combined with their appointed mentors and specialized trainers gave me a much clearer understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. Then BACD gave me the much needed tools and confidence, to help set me off on the right paths to success.

Steve B.

BACD is a fantastic resource for entrepreneurs and businesses. The team of advisors and program facilitators are passionate about small business and are very helpful in providing the resources needed to grow and succeed. I have experienced great success working with BACD over the past 3 years. I would recommend all entrepreneurs to network with the team of advisors and find out how they can achieve business success!

Adam J.

Just an amazing resource with amazing people. So much knowledge and they have a genuine interest and desire to help entrepreneurs and business owners. Amazing!!

Angie H.

The Business Advisory Centre Durham is a not for profit organization that helps people start or grow their businesses and we do that through one-on one consultations and seminars and workshops, to be able to give you the skills, tools, and knowledge you need to run your business successfully. The types of clients we’ve looked after here historically ar retail businesses, service-based businesses, marketing consultants, or a web design company, and home lawn maintenance .

We look after clients that have their target market in the Region of Durham, and we work on their business plans or business model and teaching them how to write a business model canvas. We also work with marketing and sales strategies, as well as strategic plans, and what their vision and their mission is for their company.

All of our consultations and most of our seminars and workshops are free of charge so that we can help get you up and running in your business and making a success of it quickly. We like to work with you right through the whole process and be at your grand opening.