ACG Conference delivers key insights for BC’s Middle Market advisors and business owners

BC’s business exit advisory community came together with business owners to learn, share and network.

The ACG BC Middle Market Conference kicked off with dueling economists and delivered a content-packed agenda of panels on financing for growth, disruption in retail, food manufacturing and family business.

Here are 5 key takeaways:

  1. Forecast on BC Economy Panel moderator, Kellie Manchester, Co-Founder & Partner, Sequeira Partners challenged the audience with a quick poll. Sixty-nine percent of the audience were feeling cautiously optimistic about BC’s economic prospects. Panelists Derek Burleton, Vice President & Deputy Chief Economist, TD Bank Group and Jock Finlayson, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer at the Business Council of British Columbia shared their views on the economy and the impact of the #trumpeffect -- uncertainty.
  2. Business owners need money for various reasons; growth, acquisition or divestiture. Moderator Peter Mogan, Partner, Mogan Daniels Slager LLP led the conversation about the financing options business owners have from traditional debt, equity or a less-traditional blended debt-equity scenario. While debt seems costly in the short run, it can be repaid without giving up ownership. Equity often has no cost or drain on cash flow, but longer term it’s usually the most expensive way to fund growth. Today’s marketplace also offers some blended debt-equity options worthy of consideration.” Panel Participants:  Lee Grimshaw, Managing Director Western Canada, BMO Capital Partners; Zeeshan Mayeenuddin, Director, Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance, TD; Andrew Kemper, Partner, Capital West Partners; Justin Currie, CEO, Royalty North Partners and Klemens Wilhelm, Principal, Fulcrum Capital Partners
  3. BC’s hot retail sector has delivered stars in the sector. Moderator, Susan Tomaine, Partner, Blakes led a fascinating conversation with 3 industry leaders. From Drew Green, CEO, Indochino,  “know your customers through digital to create a long-term relationship”. He referred to their physical stores as a customer acquisition strategy delivering experience & driving relationships. Marcello Leone, President & CEO, RYU Apparel Inc said of customer expectations, “customers go in expecting a product and come out with an experience”. Campfire Capital Partner, Brooke Harley, shared what they see at strong retail businesses: brands with a purpose, who are e-commerce-first; innovators who are disrupting their category.
  4. From dynamic father/son duo, industry leader John Nicola and start-up executive Chris Nicola talk about growth, entrepreneurship and family ties. Chris Nicola spoke of their content marketing tactic for building relationships with customers through the sharing of expertise.  From John Nicola, a favorite quote: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."  The Nicola Wealth family business is built on relationships, referrals and extraordinary service.
  5. Successful B.C. food processors are differentiating through innovation and redefining their product categories. Moderator, Leo Wilson, Vice-President, KPMG Corporate Finance Inc. facilitated a discussion with James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association; Yves Potvin, Founder Gardein; Elana Rosenfeld, CEO & Co-Founder, Kicking Horse Coffee and Arran Stevens, CEO & Co-Founder, Natures Path.