- Adaora OgbueAdaora Ogbue
Adaora is Founder and Principal of Venture Catalyst, LLC, an investment consulting firm that supports investor decision-making and builds the capacity of promising start-ups and entrepreneurs in the fintech, deep tech, and video game sectors. She advises investment teams, performing market analysis and due diligence while guiding early-stage start-ups to investment readiness.
Adaora has deep global experience in early-stage venture capital, with an interest in promoting financial inclusion in both developed and emerging markets, through her management of portfolio partnerships at the Mastercard Foundation, and as an Investment Underwriter for Village Capital. Previously, Adaora also developed a technology strategy for the Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission and led software development teams at the University of Toronto and the Bank of Canada.
Adaora holds an MBA from HEC Paris and a BA (Hon.) from the University of Toronto. She is also an avid gamer and self-confessed language sponge.
- Alex TownsendAlex TownsendInvestment Manager at Angel One Investor Network
Alex Townsend is the Investment Manager for the Angel One Investor Network and is heavily involved in the angel investing community. He is responsible for the screening, selection, and analysis of investment opportunities for the group.
- Alla DarwishAlla DarwishPhD, MBA
Alla Darwish received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Waterloo in 2009, and a Master of Business Administration from Lazaridis School of Business and Economics in 2018.
Alla is currently leading an R&D team at Dalriada Therapeutics (UTM start-up) in efforts to commercialize promising cancer therapeutics (2017 – present). Being one of the earlier pioneers, Alla played an instrumental role in scaling Dalriada’s operation at UTM.
Prior to this, Alla was a commercial associate at the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (2016 – 2017, McMaster University start-up) where he assisted in the due diligence process of novel and promising technologies with market potential.
Earlier on, Alla was a scientist in the discovery department at the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (2011 - 2016). He was the inventor of a novel technology platform (Fast Clear™) that raised over $160 million in series A&B financing to establish the spin-off company Fusion Pharmaceuticals.
- Andres DovaleAndres DovaleI am an entrepreneur and 2nd-year law student looking for volunteer opportunities where I can make a difference to like-minded young business people and creative thinkers. As a part of the U of T alumni network, I would love to help give back to its student community in a volunteer capacity as well.
I have over 4 years of experience in corporate transactions and litigation as a law clerk. I can help founders with not just the administrative and internal corporate structuring of their companies (shareholder agreements, by-laws, share issuances, etc.) but also from the perspective of an entrepreneur myself, with supply-chain and e-commerce challenges, and with regulatory oversight as well. While I cannot provide legal advice directly, I do keep in contact with many qualified and veteran lawyers who mentor me in these matters, and I can provide founders directly with resources for making informed decisions. I have experience as a legal services provider and as an entrepreneur in researching and registering intellectual property by way of trademarks (with patents and copyright and currently scheduled coursework) and the familiarity with the relevant government online portals for these processes, as well as the potential litigation procedures to be engaged in or avoided as the need may arise.
- Asad AliAsad Ali
The willingness to change leads us to 𝐄𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐞 | 𝐃𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦 | 𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫 and that is Asad’s mantra.
Asad is passionate about connecting people, bringing brands to life, building impactful strategies with high ROI, and exploring the ever-changing world of Marketing. In 2021, he was named as one of the top Brand Marketers in the world by The Drum.
In a nutshell, Asad is an agile thinker who loves a challenge and is highly developed at solving complex tasks. He have a great love for the Canadian startup ecosystem and he is always eager to get involved.
- Ashna MankotiaAshna Mankotia
Ashna is based in Downtown Toronto where she works as a Product Manager at BrainStation. BrainStation is an EdTech company that has training thousands of professionals and numerous organizations in digital skills. At BrainStaion, Ashna focuses on the Design curriculum, managing, building and iterating upon the 400-hour UX Design Diploma Program as well as many other products. When she's not at work, you may find her working on a freelance project for a small business, running a Shopify store or for fun, attending a spin class.
- Chris ClayChris ClayDigital & Social Media Specialist at The Mississauga News and The Brampton GuardianChris Clay is an award-winning reporter and social media editor with The Mississauga News and Brampton Guardian newspapers with more than 15 years experience in the media industry. He’s covered a variety of beats including City Hall, provincial and federal politics, courts and crime, education, sports, the arts and business. Proficient in writing, editing and media relations, he’s also an experienced digital storyteller trained in SEO and analytics software including Parsely, Adobe Analytics and Chartbeat. He’s a graduate of both the University of Toronto and Humber College and his work has appeared in a number of publications including The Toronto Star, The Hamilton Spectator, Chill, West of the City and LUXE.
- Chris WardChris WardTechnology Executive, UTM Alumni
Chris is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) with 20+ years of designing and building software products and services. Bringing experience working with startups and large organizations, developing technology strategies that bring new products to market, reduce costs, improve stability, increase efficiency, and maximize the effectiveness of investments.
- Cliff BensonCliff BensonCo-founder & Lead Engineering at VSETA Inc.
Cliff Benson is an entrepreneur with a background in biomedical engineering and a former Blackberry. He is the cofounder and Lead Engineer at VSETA, a Toronto-based IoT company that enables real-time building and facility monitoring through wireless sensor network. He also co-founded a non-profit organization called Brampton Mastermind in 2016, that aims to empower business owners and entrepreneurs within Brampton through community support and networking. He is big believer in giving back to the entrepreneurial community and loves collaborating with aspiring entrepreneurs who love to tackle big problems. Cliff was also honoured in 2017 as City of Brampton’ Top 40 under 40.
- Derrick RaphaelDerrick Raphael
Derrick is a graduate of Princeton University, Duke University School of Law and the University of Toronto - Global Professional Masters of Law Program. During Derrick's professional career he has held a number of titles such as (1) CEO of his own education consulting company which focuses on students based in China and India; (2) CEO of ICON Talent Partners which is a nonprofit which prepares top talented diverse youth for careers in the most competitive sectors such as venture capital, investment banking, technology as well as corporate law and other areas.
Derrick likes to leverage his background in strategy and law as he currently focuses on supporting start-ups and emerging technology companies as they are incorporated while a member of Fasken law firm.
If you have interest in speaking with Derrick please email him at Derrick.Raphael1@gmail.com.
- Diana Al-DajaniDiana Al-DajaniCEO of EduTechnoz
Diana Al-Dajani is the founder and CEO of eduTechnoz, an online curriculum that gamifies and innovates the way children are taught Arabic .
She has over ten years experience in online and B2B business development & international scale-up strategy. She was listed in the Global Index of 50 Makers & Shakers in EdTech, won multiple international awards for her startup, which received international recognition in the media, and participated in international speakerships roles. She also mentors entrepreneurs from all over the world, especially at the critical early stage of their journey.
Diana obtained her Bachelor degree in Applied Science and Engineering (Computer Engineering / Software Development) from the University of Toronto, and her Master’s of Business Administration from Manchester University, UK.
- Dr Ann ArmstrongDr Ann Armstrong
Ann Armstrong received her Ph.D. from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Her thesis examined compensation system innovations designed to re-inforce team structures. Since then, her research has focused on the structures of and dynamics in B Corps and social enterprises.
In addition to co-authoring two textbooks with multiple updates, Ann has co-authored two books on the social economy of Canada and the United States. She has published papers on a variety of subjects from greening curricula to measuring impact in the social economy.
Ann has taught in undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs in Canada and abroad. As well, Ann serves as an academic director at the Intercultural Skills Lab, a program for Internationally Educated Professionals. There, her focus on the change management program.
- Edward RieckelmanEdward RieckelmanPresident, True North Investors & Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Mississauga
Over the course of his 25 years as an investor, Ed has made investments in over 20 private companies and been a director of 9 companies. His private equity investments have resulted in a return on invested capital in excess of 3x. He has focused on investing in small and medium-sized growth companies, most of which were founder or family held.
Today he spends his time lecturing at University of Toronto and is involved with a couple charities. Professionally, he continues to invest in small and medium-sized public and private companies and has completed four consulting projects for medium-sized companies. Also, since March 2015, he has held several advisory positions within Kevin Murphy Group, a premium global beauty care company with revenues in excess of $90 million. Currently he is its exclusive financial advisor reporting directly to the Chairman.
From 2009 to 2012, Ed was Vice President of Alberta Investment Management Corporation’s Private Equity Group. AIMCo’s PE Group has approximately $2 billion under management with investments in both private equity funds and directly in private companies. Prior to joining AIMCo’s Private Equity Group, Ed founded True North Investors, a private equity fund focused on acquiring middle market companies. From 2004 through 2007, he was a Partner with ONCAP Management Partners, Onex Corporation’s dedicated middle market investment affiliate. Prior to ONCAP, Ed was a Partner with Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison Incorporated, a Minneapolis-based $200 million private equity fund; he began his career at First Chicago Corporation’s Merchant Bank.
- Gonzalo PiñerosGonzalo Piñeros
Gonzalo Piñeros is a multilingual strategic relation and sustainability Professional with years of experience managing complex relationships between people, technology and society in the private, public and non-profit sectors.
Gonzalo believes that technology and public policy can be integrated to generate sustainable solutions and encourages entrepreneurs to not see public policy as regulation and control on innovation but instead as an opportunity to get ahead of the game and partner with the public sector to generate resilient solutions to societal challenges.
Gonzalo holds a Bachelor of Engineering and an Entrepreneurship Diploma from the University of New Brunswick and a Master in Public Policy from McMaster University.
- Gurdeep SinghGurdeep SinghGrowth Mentor at UnivjobsA Start-Up Business Growth Specialist with more than a decade of experience across the world. Launched businesses from scratch and grew them to be market leaders. Experience across e-commerce, consumer goods, telecom and retail sectors. Gurdeep is currently helping inMotive, a Toronto based start-up to bring an innovative transmission for electric vehicles to market. Prior to that Gurdeep held leadership positions at GoFetch (Canada's leading pet care technology platform) and Ola Cabs (#1 Ride Sharing service in India: #1 Vs. Uber and valued USD $ 7b). Gurdeep is a graduate of Rotman School of Management (Canada's #1 Business School) and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IIT R) (Asia's oldest technical institution).
- Hani Al-DajaneHani Al-Dajane
Hani Al-Dajane, a serial entrepreneur and a lawyer, serves as outside counsel to startups, small businesses, and employees, advising on matters ranging from formation to exit including equity compensation and intellectual property, employment litigation, and purchase and sale of businesses.
An entrepreneur himself, Hani understands his clients and works to ensure they are given the best quality services.
Hani received his Juris Doctor from the University of Ottawa, a Master's degree in Industrial Relations and Human Resources from the University of Toronto, and graduated as the Valedictorian from the University of Toronto Mississauga. Hani has articled at a prominent law firm in Toronto before choosing to launch his own practice.
- John DickJohn DickCo-Founder & CSO at Nicoya Lifesciences
John is the technical co-founder and CSO of Nicoya Lifesciences, a scientific instrumentation company that utilizes nanotechnology-based sensors to lower the cost of protein kinetic assays for academic, biotech and pharma.
For the past 7 years he has taken Nicoya from an idea stage start-up, to an SME with a 30+ headcount currently advancing through its growth stage. John has helped lead Nicoya through the various stages of startup ideation, market validation, pitch deck building and pitching, MVP design, patent writing and initial sales to make it a successful, viable business.
- Kate GrantKate Grant
Kate Grant is passionate about technology, entrepreneurship and showcasing Canada as an innovation leader. With a background in ecosystem development, strategy, VC, innovation and product, she has successfully helped build and grow early-stage companies throughout her career.
Kate has successfully worked within the North American startup and innovation ecosystem for close to 10-years, during this time, she was able to align companies with the best strategies for raising funds, driving growth and creating impact strategies within their ecosystem. She has become known as a leader within the Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) tech ecosystem, and frequently is asked to speak on various panels, webinars and podcasts on trends related to Canadian Tech. Within the tech industry, she has experience working with B2B and B2C products over a wide variety of sectors including FinTech, LegalTech, CleanTech, SaaS and AdTech. In addition to her time spent in the tech ecosystem, she also worked with an early-stage VC fund in Toronto where she was able to build their platform strategy and helped the fund embed themselves within important tech communities.
Aside from her daily work, Kate is a mentor and advisor to many accelerators and incubators across the North American ecosystem and often acts as a sounding board for entrepreneurs trying to solve the next big problem.
- Kenneth MichalkoKenneth Michalko
· Experienced in identifying and advancing new pharmaceutical product opportunities in the context of applicable Health Canada norms, budget, timelines and the Target Product Profile.
· Collaborated with Project Teams in pre-market development or post-market re-development of branded and generic pharmaceutical products.
· Stakeholder interactions in support of Projects included Board Presentations for funding and approval as well as formal/informal Presentations to Health Canada on the interpretation and integration of data from studies in the public domain.
Past Positions include:
Executive VP R&D & Executive VP Scientific Affairs, Purdue Pharma Canada
Vice President Regulatory Affairs & General Manager CRO Division, Biovail Pharmaceuticals Canada
Senior Director Regulatory Affairs, Teva Canada & Teva Neurosciences
Senior Director Global Regulatory Affairs, Novopharm
Chief, Biopharmaceutics Evaluation Division & Acting Chief, GI-Hematology-Dermatology Division, Health Canada
Director Pharmaceutical Services, Ottawa Civic Hospital Campus
B.Sc,Phm (Toronto), PharmD (Michigan), MBA (Ottawa)
Volunteer Positions include:
Governor, Durham College
Mentor, ICUBE UTM
Past Volunteer Positions include:
Board Member, Durham Family Court Clinic
Preceptor, Hospital Pharmacy Residency Program, University of Toronto
Examiner, Professional Practice Section, Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada
- Kevin AlfredKevin Alfred
- Linda KernLinda KernBCom
Linda is a highly regarded business development professional with over 20 years’ experience helping companies achieve and exceed their sales goals. She has worked in the printing, insurance, financial services, manufacturing, technology and transportation sectors, and is the Founder & CEO of The Kern Group—a company that specializes in sales strategy, training and consultancy.
A graduate of UBC with a BCom, Linda has been married for 26 years, has two children, a yellow lab, and they all live in Mississauga.
- Marko MrkonjicMarko MrkonjicAccount Executive at ChartMogulMarko Mrkonjic is a sales executive with over seven years of experience, mainly in the SaaS/tech industry. He has worked in business development, account management and leadership roles. In his last position, he was the first North American sales hire tasked to grow enterprise sales across the Fortune 1000. Currently, he oversees sales efforts in Canada, the U.S. and Australia for a subscription analytics start-up.
- Michael SamiMichael SamiAssociate at LaBarge Weinstein
Sami first joined the LW team in 2009, dedicating his practice to advising early-stage, growth companies within the Canadian tech sector as well as the VCs and investors who back them. Sami has extensive experience guiding founders from their ideation stage through to Series Seed financings and beyond, and has negotiated numerous exits on behalf of startups including by way of share and asset sales, mergers and other strategic combinations. Select clients include Real Ventures, Canopy, Shopify, Wattpad, Kik, Hubba, etc.
Sami acts as corporate secretary and sits on the advisory board for various clients. He is also a regular guest lecturer at the University of Ottawa and for the University of Waterloo Student Seed Fund.
Outside of the office, Sami is a political junkie and sports fanatic, and has represented Canada at the Mundiavocat (football world cup for lawyers) four times, most recently at the 2016 tournament held in La Manga, Spain.
- Natalie YeadonNatalie YeadonCo-Owner/Managing Director, Impetus Digital
Natalie Yeadon worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 18 years. The U of T Mississauga grad held a variety of roles in sales, marketing and early brand commercialization management both in Canada and in the US. A veteran in the pharmaceutical industry, Yeadon dedicates herself to work she strongly believes in—improving healthcare by providing an easy-to-use, always accessible, online platform for healthcare professionals and industry leaders to connect, communicate and collaborate.
She has led product launches, include “first in kind” product, FluMist, an intranasal flu vaccine for AstraZeneca, and Herceptin for HER2+ early breast cancer with Genentech.
Yeadon began her career as a radiation therapist treating cancer patients at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital where she treated babies with tumors and nueroblastomas. She says that experience plays a big part in how she considers issues in her current work. “Facing life-or-death situations daily made me realize that my day-to-day concerns paled in comparison to big health issues,” she says. “I worry less about the “what if” than the average person, which allows me to make successful, risky strategic decisions for Impetus.”
- Nathan CornNathan CornFounder at FlexPro MealsNathan Corn is a food tech entrepreneur from the United States who bootstrapped his online startup, FlexPro Meals with only $10k into a multi million dollar company. He is a sales driven individual who specializes in online marketing strategy, building websites, and straight up hustle. Nathan is well versed in spending capital on a tight budget, buying overseas, and managing a large team of employees. He has spoke at multiple Entrepreneur Events at the world wide known Kauffman Foundation and enjoys giving back to those less fortunate empowering them to create a better life through entrepreneurship.
- Nick KurylukNick KurylukChief Executive Office at ColdBlock Technologies Inc Principal Virtus Insights Inc
Nick Kuryluk is a graduate from the University of Toronto. He is a Principal at Virtus Insights Inc., A Strategic Management Professional Services Firm. Nick worked in the Bio-Pharmaceutical Industry for 24 years — 22 of them with Amgen Inc., a biotechnology company that discovers, develops, and manufactures human therapeutics. While at Amgen, Nick was Director of the Strategy and Program Management Office. In his role, he governed Amgen Canada’s approach to 1) Strategic Planning, 2) Program Management, and 3) New Products Commercialization. Nick was selected as one of the University of Toronto’s Mississauga’s Top 40 Alumni and he received an Arbor Award for his dedication to volunteerism. He is a member of the Governing Council at the University of Toronto where he serves on several boards and committees. Nick is an active volunteer advisor, specializing in commercialization processes and marketing frameworks.
- Paul BrandnerPaul BrandnerDirector of Marketing at Carta Worldwide
A brand-driven marketing leader, multi-disciplinary communications strategist and trusted leader with a proven track record growing brands, relationships, teams, campaigns and bottom lines. Driven by ideation, collaboration, communication, creativity and playing a role in the success and growth of colleagues, clients and companies alike.
- Paul ChippertonPaul Chipperton
Paul Chipperton is an award-winning serial entrepreneur in the Tech industries with a proven track record of start-up successes, most notably as 2008 Co-Founder & CEO of Profound Medical Inc., a prostate cancer medical device company. As CEO, he raised over $16M of Venture Capital financing and the firm subsequently went public on the TSX Venture exchange (TSXv:prn) in 2015. Under his leadership, the company also received the prestigious Ontario Premier’s Catalyst Award for “best start-up” in Ontario.
A 20+-year veteran of entrepreneurial financing, he has raised capital at almost every stage of a company’s growth cycle, from recent crowd-funding and “friends & family” rounds in the tens of thousands, all the way through to Canada’s largest Medtech Series-A VC syndicate for C$10.3M in 2011. Paul also serves as an independent strategic reviewer to the Canadian Federal Government's Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF).
He is a board member and/or advisor to several private companies, including Intronix Technologies and Viryl Technologies. He is a part-time lecturer and author of multiple innovation, entrepreneurship and marketing courses at Queen’s, McMaster and Ryerson Universities.
- Pete SprukulisPete Sprukulis
Pete Sprukulis is a sought after Executive Trainer, Facilitator and Coach specializing in Enhancing Performance of Teams and Individuals with a particular focus on innovating for the future. With an MBA from the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management, and a BA Honours from Victoria College at the University of Toronto, Pete has held senior leadership positions with companies like Oracle, IBM, Bid.Com, First Canadian Title, Ontario Power Generation, Bell Business Markets and a number of start-up and early stage companies. In addition, Pete is on the Faculty of Sheridan College, is an Entrepreneur in Residence with Haltech, a Growth Coach with Communitech and MaRS and has recently published his latest book entitled “The Scaling CEO’s Field Guide to Marketing”. Pete is a Certified Business Coach with Focal Point International and is the President of Sprouticus Business Coaching.
- Portia AsliPortia AsliFounder & Executive Director at Px Venture Services
Portia Asli is a thought leader, 4-time entrepreneur and engineer having built businesses from the ground-up in healthcare wearables, online education, digital marketing, and advisory services. She has 10+ years of leadership & management expertise in: bringing new innovative ideas to market, building and managing high-performing teams, negotiating for optimal resources, bootstrapping resource-constraint businesses for success, closing ambitious B2B deals, establishing digital marketing strategy for B2C revenue stream and building exceptional partnerships across sectors to meet a shared agenda.
Portia is passionate about creating entrepreneurial ecosystems where emerging leaders can build sustainable and scalable businesses. She has coached over 200 startup founders across diverse sectors (FinTech, EdTech, CleanTech, IoT, AR/VR, Food, e-Commerce, AgriTech, Health) on investment strategy, product-market fit, lean product development, customer acquisition, B2B/B2C sales and online/offline marketing strategy. She has been a speaker on startup related content at conferences hosted by USAID, the Asian Development Bank, featured on live TV talk show and authored entrepreneurship articles for the Cambridge University.
- Robert MartellacciRobert MartellacciFounder & CEO at MindShare Workspace Inc. & MindShare Learning Technology
Robert Martellacci, MA, EdTech, is a proud resident of Mississauga who has over 25 years of expertise in startup ventures in the technology and learning space. His latest venture, the MindShare WorkSpace, was partly inspired by his close association with the MaRS Discovery District Innovation centre in downtown Toronto, one of Canada’s leading business incubators. He was part of Kevin O’Leary’s (Dragon’s Den star) team that launched The Learning Company School business in Canada that was sold to Mattel, Inc. This inspired Mr. Martellacci to launch his own business, MindShare Learning Technology, where he’s consulted to startups, large and small companies to support their innovative efforts in meeting the very complex needs of K12 & post-secondary learning institutions.
As founder of Canada’s 8th Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit, Mr. Martellacci thrives on helping entrepreneurs make vital connections to thrive personally and professionally. A former university administrator, Mr. Martellacci is committed to giving back to the community through hockey coaching, scholarship donations and currently serves as the president of the Credit Pointe Community Association.
A passionate lifelong learner, Mr. Martellacci augmented his skills as a mature student by completing his Master’s in Learning Technology at Pepperdine University. His signature tagline is, “keep the digital learning curve steep!”
- Samuel PeraltaSamuel PeraltaFounder and Chairman of Incandence
Samuel is founder and chairman of Incandence, co-founder and director of Cobalt Blockchain(TSXV:COBC), director of Noble Mineral(TSXV:NOB), and principal of the MintraxJV of COBC/DLT Labs. He's an executive mentor at Everwise, and an advisor at the ICUBE(University of Toronto), BlockchainHub(York University), and Startup Here Torontoaccelerators.
Previously, he co-founded and served on the boards of POET Technologies(TSXV:PTK), Windrift Bay, OPEL International(TSXV:OPL), Envergence, and Qvadis; he served on the boards of Peat Resources(TSXV:PET), Axiom NDTand the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries(OCNI). Samuel was CEO of Qvadis, CTO of OH Solar, chair of Windrift Bay, chair of Envergence, corporate treasurer at OCNI, and served in executive roles at Kinectrics, Ontario Power Generation, Ontario Hydro, and the Ontario Laser and Lightwave Research Centre.
Samuel is a leader in technological innovation, business development, and corporate re-engineering. He's built mobile software companies, fabless semiconductor firms, manufacturing plants for solar power. He's overseen blockchain and A.I. projects, streamed the Internet over power lines, engineered robots and laser tools for inspection of nuclear reactors. His businesses have been honored in the TSX Venture 50, and Canadian Business Magazine's Top Tech 100.
These contributions build on Sam's Ph.D. in physics, honed through a career applying cutting-edge technology to real-world challenges.
When he's not tinkering with Ruby on Rails or sensors, Samuel is a Palanca Award-winning poet, an essayist and short story writer, who's helped produce numerous indie films - one nominated for a Golden Globefor Best Foreign Film. He's a Wall Street Journaland USA Todaybestselling author and publishes The Future Chronicles, the #1 bestselling SF&F anthology series on Amazon. Recently, he curated an art exhibit exploring allegorical visions of the future, at the 33 Contemporary Gallery in Chicago.
- Smruti PatelSmruti PatelDirector, Business Operations Risk and Governance at RBC
Smruti has extensive global experience across a range of organizations including start-ups, scale-ups and large corporations. She graduated with a Masters in Law from the UK before moving to Dubai in 2006 to help found a financial institution (Dunia Finance), as part of a joint venture between two sovereign wealth funds. She then joined a tech scale-up to lead strategic initiatives across multiple countries aimed at increasing brand awareness and market share, before heading back home to Toronto. In 2013 she graduated with an MBA from Ivey before joining RBC. Since joining RBC, Smruti has held a progressive series of roles, responsible for the design and implementation of strategies, as a consultant, co-lead of a transformation initiative, and risk director.
Smruti continues to be passionate about entrepreneurship and enjoys volunteering with youth organizations to support the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs.
- Vanessa HoldingVanessa Holding
Having grown up on-set, Vanessa Holding has always been fascinated by the power of video. Now her award-winning company helps corporate communicators, marketers, and learning & development professionals get across their important, complex, and sometimes dull content in a way that gets attention and compels action. She is also helping small business owners harness the power of their smartphone to create influential thought-leadership videos. It's never a dull day on-set!
Vigen Nazarian is a serial entrepreneur and the President of Naprico Inc. – a consulting company providing advisory services to early-stage startups, SMEs and educational institutions.
A graduate of the University of Toronto in molecular genetics, Vigen started his career in 1989 as a researcher in the biotechnology industry working at companies such as Allelix, Pioneer Hi-Bred, and Dupont.
In 2000 he joined University of Toronto to commercialize innovations arising from life sciences research. In 2005 Vigen left U. of T. to co-found his first company – Amorfix Life Sciences (now ProMIS Neurosciences TSX:PMN), followed by Algopix Technologies and Antvibes Inc.
Vigen currently serves as a board member at various for and non-profit organizations. He is also a well sought after mentor and advisor at several educational institutions and technology incubators.
- Zahra QureshiZahra QureshiCPA,CMA | Principal at Optinum Professional CorporationZahra Qureshi started her career as an accountant, completing her CPA, CMA designation. After gaining some valuable experience in accounting and corporate finance, she shifted gears to entrepreneurship and launched Optinum Professional Corp. in 2018 to provide finance and business planning support to entrepreneurs. She expanded her expertise into social enterprise and completed Canada’s first certification for professionals specifically serving the social enterprise sector, Community Development for Good. She also became an ICUBE UTM member herself to launch Social Venture Circuit, a non-profit organization supporting the social enterprise community within the Region of Peel. This year, she hosted the first local Social Enterprise Day celebration with a conference for entrepreneurs and professionals working in this space. She also contributes her time to mentoring for CPA candidates, and EDGE and ICUBE UTM members in learning about finance and social enterprise.