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  • SBEC – Small Business Enterprise Centre

    TaraTara McCaulley

    Hi, I’m Tara McCaulley, Manager at the Small Business Enterprise Centre for the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation.

    Having strong roots in St. Thomas, I am dedicated to working with our community to strengthen our economic climate.  I take pride in living in a community that is resilient and that has overcome many challenges and I am thrilled to have a role that allows me to further contribute to positive economic growth and development. I am passionate and excited to watch the evolution of the small business community as it grows and thrives in St. Thomas and Elgin County.

    I’ve had the opportunity to work for a large banking corporation for 15 years and started from the ground up. I have in-depth experience and knowledge on business planning, creating and cultivating a strong customer experience, sales,  partnership development and  project management.  My husband is entering his 5th year of business ownership and together we have built the business from a hobby to a full-time business with 1 employee.

    I am committed to ongoing personal growth and continuing education and I am currently focused on obtaining my  Certificate in Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. In addition to the in-depth training received at the bank, I also have taken courses in strategic leadership, sales process management, economic development, and people management courses at the University of Western Ontario, University of Waterloo and Fanshawe College. In 1995, as a single mom with 2 young boys, I graduated with a diploma in Office Administration from Fanshawe College in St. Thomas.

    I am passionate about providing the best possible opportunities to youth in our community and I am a mentor for the Elgin/St. Thomas Junior Achievement Program. I am a board member of the Youth Employment Counselling Centre and work closely with the Talbot Teen Centre. We have an amazing network of young entrepreneurs in our community between the ages of 20 – 40 and watching them help to build and strengthen the small business community is truly a joy to watch. They help me to see opportunities with new eyes and I am excited to see where this will take us from an economic development perspective.

    Phone: 519.631.1680 ext 4503
    Email: tmccaulley@SBECinnovation.ca

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    Mike Kerkvliet
    Business Advisor

    Hi, I’m Mike Kerkvliet, Business Advisor at the Small Business Enterprise Centre.  I assist entrepreneurs at all stages of business. I also coordinate the Summer Company program; helping students turn their business aspirations into reality.  I have been involved in business and entrepreneurship from a young age, and have a natural love of both teaching and learning.

    I grew up on a dairy farm in the beautiful Elgin County countryside, with a St. Thomas mailing address and a Fingal phone number.  Living with one foot in the agriculture of Elgin County and the other in the City of St. Thomas, I’ve developed a unique and holistic view of our economy and I understand the important role that small business plays in tying it all together.

    An entrepreneur myself, I believe it is by inspiring and supporting the aspiring young entrepreneurs of a community that small business grows and flourishes.  In this spirit I founded the St. Thomas/Elgin Young Entrepreneurs Networking Group to help bring the start-up community together.  The group meets most months at various local businesses to share ideas, build connections, and learn from each other’s experiences and mistakes.

    As the owner of Talisman Guitars, and a part owner of Portable Studio Productions, I have extensive experience in the trenches of entrepreneurship.  I’ve learned first-hand the challenges of “going it on your own,” and the importance of having support structures in place to help you when the going gets tough.  As a graduate of the SBEC’s Starter Company program, the SBEC was one such support structure for me and I am proud to now be delivering support to the next cohort of entrepreneurs in St. Thomas and Elgin County.

    Phone: 519.631.1680 ext 4504
    Email: mkerkvliet@st-thomasedc.on.ca


    Wes Bailey
    Business Advisor

    Hi, I’m Wes Bailey, Business Advisor at the Small Business Enterprise Centre for the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation. I am a proud Elgin County resident who calls Aylmer home.

    I previously worked as a Business Counsellor at the Elgin Business Resource Centre in St. Thomas, helping entrepreneurs navigate the complex process of starting and operating a sustainable business. As a young entrepreneur Program Coordinator at Community Futures Oxford in Ingersoll, I provided youth with training through the Starter Company program. I also provided opportunities for youth to develop business networking skills at monthly events through the Oxford Young Professionals Group. As a member services representative for the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce, I helped members and the community connect and discover the many business owners and professionals throughout St. Thomas & District.

    As an entrepreneur, I have firsthand experience in the trenches of entrepreneurship. Having gone through the common struggles every small business owner faces, I am well positioned to relate to and guide entrepreneurs to avoid the same challenges.

    My expertise includes website development and design, social media, email marketing, and online advertising through platforms like Google Adwords and Facebook ads. I help local businesses realize how much the Internet has changed the way people find products and services.

    Phone: 519.631.1680 ext 4505
    Email: wbailey@sbecinnovation.ca

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    Business Advisor

    Amy Hiscox
    Business Advisor

    Amy is currently on leave of absence. Please call or email Tara or Mike for assistance.

    Hi I’m Amy Hiscox, Business Advisor, at the Small Business Enterprise Centre. I have a BA in Political Science from the University of Windsor and trained in Results Based Management and Supported Employment. I am a proud Elgin County resident who calls Rodney home.

    I previously worked as a business liaison at Youth Opportunities Unlimited in London, helping to provide youth with programming to start their careers and access funding. As an educational aide at Fanshawe College, I provided students with the support they need to see their unique capabilities and in turn realize their own goals. As a skills development specialist at Leads Employment Services I helped clients with barriers find employment.

    Through years of work with many different stakeholder groups I have developed the ability to intuitively create mutually beneficial relationships. I do this by accurately recognizing where others are at and harnessing their abilities.

    As an entrepreneur and artist, I bring a passion for business and growing our community. I help create collaborative groups that inspire creativity to form a fabric of expression that weaves us together. It can act as a lynchpin between individual dreams and the broader community and is where enterprise fits. It becomes a vessel of creative expression.

    Through these roles my style has surfaced and it’s become clear that I am a relational communicator that excels at connecting ideas and people. My mind finds connections between things and I am great at helping others draw connections between their learning, relationships, businesses and careers. I very quickly see unique qualities and factors in the individuals in front of me. This allows me to facilitate learning and coach in impactful ways. I love taking the world we know and turning it upside down to view it from a new angle!

    All of these roles and experiences have led me to where I am now and things I am involved with in our community. Currently I am a mentor through Junior Achievement and a member of the St. Thomas/ Elgin Young Entrepreneurs group. Other local groups I am active with include the Elgin Business Women’s Network and Business Before Breakfast Networking Group.

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    10 Mondamin Street
    St. Thomas, ON Canada
    N5P 2V1