The Business of Innovation Mentoring Program was launched in January 2012 and continues to be offered to student entrepreneurs and recent graduates. Following an application process, we connect our mentees with local entrepreneurs who, for four months, offer their guidance to the entrepreneurs in order to meet their business milestones. Mentees have included a musical band, a media company, various websites, a company focused on energy audits, a biodiesel business and a post-production studio.
The program could not be possible without the invaluable guidance of our mentors. Please see below to read about our current mentors, and follow-on to learn about our past mentors.
Summer 2012 MENTORS
Jeremy Berger has been working in the waste and recycling industry for nearly 15 years. He started working in my family’s recycling business, as the fourth generation in this industry. While doing so, Jeremy attended the University of Windsor (B.Comm) and graduated in 2001, and then pursued an MBA from Wayne State University. Jeremy’s business plan for the capstone course was a recycling company, which is now fully operational. In 2005, Jeremy opened his first company, geared at recycling obsolete electronics. Since 2006, he has created and continues to operate four recycling companies, with locations in Ontario, Ohio, and Texas. He currently serves as the group President and CEO.
Green Processing Company Inc. recycles over 20,000,000 lbs of plastic annually and services customers throughout North America. They have quickly become one of the largest plastic recycling companies in Ontario.
Adriano is the owner of WindsorEats.com. His company is the culinary guide for Windsor and Essex County. WindsorEats has become the de facto resource for those looking to have a culinary experience in Windsor-Essex. WindsorEats also creates and manages social media marketing campaigns for businesses, organizations and festivals.
Adriano has been the recipient of many awards, such as:
Canadian Blog Awards, Best Local Blog, 2007
The Windsor Star, Top 30 Under 30, 2008
Biz X Magazine, Best Local Online Business, 2008
Culinary Tourism Experience Award, Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, 2009
Innovator of the Year, Tourism Industry Association of Canada, 2010
Jennifer is the President and CEO of Media Street Productions Inc., a television production company in Windsor, ON. Media Street was named “Company of the Year” by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and has received numerous international awards for broadcasting excellence.
Jennifer is the Chair of the Board of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and 1st Vice Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Windsor. She is also a proud member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland and is a Past District Governor of District 6400 (Michigan/Ontario). She has served as an international volunteer in the Brazilian Amazon, Peru, Haiti, Venezuela and Tanzania.
Jennifer is an accomplished public speaker and regularly travels North America talking about Leadership and Motivation.
Charlie is an owner and ceo (capability expansion orchestrator) of a number of enterprises - Nerds On Site, Tactical Marketing Solutions, The Coffee Office, BeanCounters On Site, Architecttura, One Extra Guy, and Augusta Business Coaching, amoung others. He also works closely with several more Canadian and American based companies. He is a founding Executive Board Member for the Central Business District of Detroit and the Greater Detroit and Windsor Japan-America Society.
Charlie guest lectured for a number of years at the University of Windsor as part of their Co-op M.B.A. program, as well as the University of Michigan. Business operations around the world, coaching, as well as speaking engagements, have put Charlie in direct contact with a wide range of operations in the service, manufacturing, governmental, retail, and educational sectors. His general focus remains the value as well as the responsibility of the “entrepreneurial” contribution to each organization and the global community. Originally from Ottawa Canada, he and his wife Jackie today reside in Lakeshore ON with a couple of their four children.
For more than 25 years, Ed Roach has worked with hundreds of successful small businesses by helping them develop unique brand positioning strategies that differentiates them from their competition. His clients are from Canada, The United States, Ukraine, India, United Arab Emirates and Tanzania.
Ed appreciates working with companies who see the value of going beyond mere slogans and have a desire to sell from compelling positions. Ed consults predominantly with businesses facilitating his proprietary process, "Brand Navigator", that effectively focuses a company's brand delivering a positioning strategy that can be taken to their marketplace.
Stuart Sutton is president of Sylectus – a division of Qualcomm, Canada. Sylectus is the industry leader in web-based, transportation management solutions across North America delivering strategic management visibility, competitive advantage, execution controls and measurable long-term business value across the enterprise.
Sutton also provides his customer base with industry intelligence to help them reposition their businesses and quickly capitalize on new and exciting opportunities. He has more than 15 years of transportation and logistics industry experience.
Currently, Sutton is a permanent board member of TEANA (The Expedite Alliance of North America) and an active member of the local Chamber of Commerce Transportation policy committee. He is also on the board of directors of several other regional not-for-profit civic organizations. Sutton sold Sylectus to Qualcomm (stock symbol QCOM) in 2011.
After practicing for more than 18 years in India, Chintan Virani, and his wife, Anuja Sharma-Virani, immigrated to Canada in 2003. They operate an independent full service architectural design & related services firm in North America and plan to open their India office soon.
Mr. Virani is licensed to practice architecture in both the US and Canada. They provide services for a wide range of projects including commercial plazas, institutions, motel/hotel, restaurants, community centres, residential apartments, bungalows, industrial designs and interior design. Mrs. Sharma-Virani is Director of her independent company VIRANI DESIGN ASSOCIATES INC, which helps in design & project management. Mr. And Mrs. Virani have two younger sons that attend the University of Windsor who are both elected Board of Director’s members for the University of Windsor Student’s Alliance.
Winter 2012 MENTORS
Tom Lucier is co-owner of Phog Lounge (Windsor, ON), voted Best Live Music Venue in Canada in 2009. Tom created the first paid blogger position in Windsor by starting and maintaining the Downtown WO Blog (www.downtownwo.ca) for the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association in 2010, intended to tell new stories and attract business to the downtown core of Windsor, Ontario. Using video, audio, photo, and print, Tom utilizes rich media in all of his projects, building online communities around his events and businesses to connect. His other activities include freelance writing for the daily paper in Windsor (The Windsor Star), CBC Radio One (Windsor), CBC Radio One (Spark - National), speaking engagements at the University of Windsor, and hosting other various exploratory cultural walks and trips in Windsor and Detroit.
Paul Foster, C.A. is the Founder and CEO of The Business Therapist®, an online resource, coach and advisor for personal and business growth. Using first-hand client knowledge from 30 years of experience, Paul Foster provides tools and resources for small business owners, business coaching, and entrepreneur mentoring. He is the author of the Business Activities Management Self-Study Program, a must-have do-it-yourself resource to learn how to monitor your business activities.
One of the founders of Radix Controls & an MBA graduate of the University of Windsor, Shelley has responsibility for planning & strategy execution in the areas of marketing, finance, human resources & business operations. A strong & entrepreneurial leader, Shelley is Vice-President of Operations and part of the management team which lead Radix Controls to be recognized as one of the Profit magazine Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies in Canada, one of Microsoft’s rapid growth independent software vendors and as a leading innovator in the Windsor/Essex region (Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce Innovation award winner). A leader with a commitment to her community, Shelley is President of the board for Workforce Windsor Essex & is a member of the board of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation.
For over 35 years, during careers in Media Management and Financial Management, John has coached, educated and motivated close to 3-thousand small and medium business enterprises; corporations; government agencies; organizations and communities, in Ontario and Newfoundland. A Certified Marketer, John is also a graduate of the Investment Fund Institute of Canada and The Pacific Institute of Excellence. He has been awarded National Recognition by the Dominion Command of the Royal Canadian Legion and is a member of the Quarter Century Club of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. John has also managed his own Financial Planning Practice in two provinces – has been a Financial Advisor and Investment Representative, as well as a Consultant and Associate with Investors Group here in Windsor. John is also a mentor with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation; is a member of the W.E. Tech Alliance; and is a member of the Sun Parlour Amateur Radio Club. He lives with his family in Kingsville.
Louise Saad is a hands-on, multi-unit owner and franchisee trainer who has grown with Quiznos Sub over the last five years. She is the President of Marketing Depot Inc., a consulting firm for Small Businesses. Her sixteen years of Business Management experience is supported by her Bachelor of Commerce degree with strengths in Marketing and Operations. Throughout her career, she has found a true passion and calling for the development of Business Models, and is looking forward to working with, and for, entrepreneurs while sharing her ideas to build the dream.
Peter has been an entrepreneur his entire working career with a concentration & emphasis in sales and marketing. In January of 2010, he and his partners have been building and developing Renewable Solar Energy projects in the Micro Fit category in the Province of Ontario. This is being done though Green Energy and Green Economy Act. These projects, once completed in Spring of 2012 will be in excess of 11 Mega Watts. Peter is a graduate of the University of Windsor and resides in Lakeshore.