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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


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    378 Talbot St.
    St. Thomas, ON Canada
    N5R 3L7

    Hours of Operation:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
    Thursday: 12 pm – 8 pm