About Us

Achieve Business Success with 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!

Start, grow and expand your business in Durham Region.  Durham is home to 8 municipalities.  Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Whitby, Scugog, Uxbridge and the Township of Brock.

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 the Regional Municipality of Durham.

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
  • Business Training. Mentoring & Workshops
  • Entrepreneurship Funding Programs
  • Networking Opportunities

We assist clients with skills, knowledge, tools and connections to  launch and grow successful businesses within the Region of Durham. Our office is located in Whitby and we serve all the municipalities of Durham Region (Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Whitby, Scugog, Uxbridge and Township of Brock).  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. Our advisory services are free - if we can help you create a business that's successful and making money - then you have money to spend and invest in the Durham Region. This has a positive impact on our region in many ways including supporting local businesses, creating local jobs and keeping the $ investment here.

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

Meet Our Team


Teresa Shaver, Executive Director

Teresa joined The Business Advisory Centre Inc in 2012; - a non profit organization supporting businesses to achieve business success.  With her leadership, the organizations' outcomes have increased by over 200%.  At BACD, Teresa is responsible for executing the strategic plan, managing operations, over 120 events and a team of 5.
Teresa has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit and has 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 managing Member Services, Sponsorship and over 75 Events per year.
Teresa has also run a number of her own businesses and has been a business coach for over 10 years. In 2014, Teresa received her Registered Business Coach designation from the World Association of Business Coaches and in 2017 received her Economic Development Certificate.
She is an avid life long learner,  loves to read, listen to podcasts, teach yoga and volunteer in her community.

Areas of Specialty: Business structure; operations; employment; market strategy; not-for-profits; retail and lifestyle businesses; eCommerce; importing and exporting; social media; networking; sales process, grants.

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Patrice Esper, Business Advisor & Starter Company Program Coordinator

Patrice Esper HeadshotPatrice 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.

Areas of Specialty: Business process; success planning; real estate; property management; trades; consultants; buying a business; contracts.

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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.

Area of Speciality: Sales strategy, financials; market validation, channels to market; distribution channels; business models; growth opportunities; investment funding, scaleable businesses.

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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.

Area of Speciality: Marketing plans; value proposition; target market; branding; digital marketing; websites; social media; product portfolio.

+1 (905) 668-4949 x224

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, a post-graduate certificate in Human Resources Management and a professional development certificate in Digital Marketing. Ashley keeps busy with reviewing and evaluating business plans, cashflow forecasts and ensuring all guidelines are being met! 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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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.

+1 (905)668-4949

BACD Board
Ex Officios


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.