Each advisor represents a team of specialists ready to help the Next Step companies with any challenge that may arise. If you want to lend a hand, join the Backseat Advisor contest.
Executive vice-president, ATB Business & Agriculture
Growing up in a family-owned business, Wellington Holbrook learned first-hand about the challenges facing entrepreneurs. He has combined that knowledge with a business degree and 18 years of work as a business investor, lender and banker to help make the dreams of entrepreneurs come true, “whether you have a growing manufacturing business in Calgary or a family farm near Two Hills,” he says.
Holbrook has words of caution for companies that think they want to grow by hundreds of per cent. “Those are the kinds of goals that make banks nervous,” he says. “Dreaming is one thing, achieving is another. You need the right sort of advice.”
Director, Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, University of Calgary
Kimberley Neutens is the director of the Hunter Centre, and says the organization will provide Next Step companies with key advice. “We’re helping shape a new wave of entrepreneurial thinkers – people who go beyond the standard,” says Neutens. “This is what we think will add value to the Next Step program.”
Lawyer, MacPherson, Leslie & Tyerman
Doug Ballou is a partner in the Edmonton office of the full-service law firm MLT, concentrating his practice on mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance and private placements. He acts for a number of large, publicly traded corporations, and for many individual entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses. He says quick growth can change a small business’s relationship with its lenders. “Typically, growth takes you into financing that your principal bank or lender isn’t necessarily interested in,” he says. “That’s where we can bring a fair bit to the table in terms of how you structure those agreements so an equity investor will be comfortable investing.”