Review of Creative Entrepreneurship Conference

Small Business

Gregory Smith

For those that made business education part of their specific intent on the road to business growth and success, the Creative Entrepreneurship Conference in Minto was very rewarding. The event was held at the Harriston Community Centre and boasted a line up of speakers that left everyone in attendance talking after each session.

"Speakers like this all in one room is rarely seen even at large conferences, to have it in Minto where we don't have to drive far to see them, is amazing", stated Joe McLaughlin from McLaughlin Financial.

Thank you to our Sponsors:






Specific Intent

The day began with a Keynote Address from Gregory Smith entitled "Specific Intent".  Gregory passionately presented why it is so important for entrepreneurs to have a clear plan on where they want to go and what they want to get from their business.   After years of trying job after job and business after business, it was with the help of a key business mentor that Gregory was able to learn how to harness his abilities and become the successful speaker and motivator that he is today. Learn more about Gregory.

Surround Yourself With Successful People

As part of Gregory's keynote address, he made it clear that you can't be successful unless you are surrounded by successful people.  Seek out people that will help you grow your business.  With that in mind a Panel of 4 successful businesses shared their stories of overcoming hurdles and failure to achieve great success.

Spaceships and Laserbeams

Stephanie Keeping from shared her story as a stay-at-home mom who left a corporate job that she had to drive over an hour to work, in order to become self employed and work from her couch, Stephanie's main motivation was to be closer and involved in raising her son on a daily basis. As she began to raise her son she realized there were no boy printables online. Items such as birthday party invitations, cupcake wraps and more. There is an abundance of girl-focused items, but to this day she is still the only blog and store on Etsy that offers these items. With over 400,00 pageviews monthly on her website and growing, she has developed a website with multiple revenue streams from adds, sponsored content, sales through her online store and also through her Etsy store. With a goal of 1 million monthly pageviews, Stephanie is continuing to grow her following and build on her product offerings. 


Julian Bayley and his late wife formed Ice Culture in Hensall, Ontario 31 years ago.  From this small, rural ontario town they now ship ice sculptures and ice lounges all over the world.   Success for this small town story has been shining bright for a few years.  The 2008 recession however forced them to revisit everything they do.  Specific Intent was critical to their success shared Julian.   Without a clear plan and a willingness to change their business operations they would have lost everything when there business dropped 60% in 2008-2009.  More focused offerings, new services such as plant tours and customer service turned Ice Cultures into a company that boasts clients in 50+ countries world wide.  Companies such as Disney have hired IceCultures to create a 50 foot Disney Castle in Times Square in NYC and Canadian Tire's Ice Truck has been deemed the most successful marketing campaign ever for the Canadian company.   All thanks to the ingenuity of a small family owned company in rural Ontario.

Intrigue Media

Seth Partridge helped everyone understand that chasing a dream and making it a reality is achievable.  After bouncing around for a few years unsure of which passion he wanted to pursue, drumming, leadership or programming, Seth found a place where he could combine his passions at Intrigue Media.  A Guelph company with a culture that includes weekly leadership sessions around a table to discuss leadership books, blogs and ideas, Intrigue Media has grown rapidly while focused on getting business found and noticed.   Using Video screens that are in communities throughout Ontario, IntrigueMedia has created a unique way of getting businesses found in local areas.

Jungle Heat

After the loss of their best friend life took a dramatic shift for Ron and Adrienne Kelly from Oshawa.  A trip that was meant to give them a simpler life ended up being a life altering journey that created an award winning Hot Sauce.  A few years later and nearly 50 awards later the couple has taken the business they started in the heart of Costa Rica and returned to Canada after 7 years in South America living a dream to run a dream business.  Today they tour around in a decked out hearse and and ship bottles of hot sauce by the shipping container throughout the world.  The story was inspirational and demonstrated that success can be found and implemented from any where in the world.  A trip that began with no plan, a business that began with no plan has resulted in a couple that is closer than ever and a business with seven stores and a growing distribution business world wide.

South Street Cafe Lunch Break

For all of the foodies in the audience, lunch was delicious wraps and salads provided by South Street Cafe.   Simply delicious as always.

Infusion Coffee to Keep Things Going

Delicious blends and roast coffee was a staple at the event to get people focused and rolling in the morning and ensure they were sharp heading into the afternoon sessions.  What a great combo of South Street and Infusion to have as a way to recharge in Minto!

Afternoon Education

Innovation Guelph CEO Jamie Doran

The afternoon sessions began with details on how businesses in Guelph and Wellington County can start, grow and thrive with Innovation Guelph. Focused around the Speedway program Innovation Guelph is not only helping businesses start but helping to ensure they grow and develop and succeed long term.  So far to date the speedway program has helped 515 companies, helped get $12M in investment, and moved 43 clients to their gear up program, and 6 to their SuperCharger Program.  Definitely a way for someone to grow their business and get the coaching, mentorship and investment along the way to ensure success

Ward and Uptigrove Principal John Padfield

With a sprinkling of humour John was able to convey the ways that a business can be structured, financed and succeed in our local area.  Reviewing business structures and funding sources provided the entrepreneurs present with information needed to grow their businesses.  Ward and Uptigrove is an accounting, wealth management and consulting firm located in Listowel Ontario and boasts many clients in the Minto and surrounding areas.  With over 60 team members to assist clients there is many ways to find success in business and Ward and Uptigrove can help guide that success.

WordJack CEO and Co-Founder Matt Jackson

WordJack is a Web Marketing Business for Local Business.  WordJack is based on Collingwood, Ontario and works with businesses to get them online and Matt educated the audience on the importance of social media and what to focus on when working to be found locally.  Google+ and Facebook were key elements when starting off and you can never underestimate the power of great content and blog writing to help you get found in Search Engines.   Being found locally where your customers are will help you Win on the Web.