The Academy

Deep learning + new connections

 SBW Breakout 790x283

Finding the time for professional development can be hard if you're a busy entrepreneur. Enter the Academy at the Small Business Calgary Conference, and over the course of one day you'll learn all you need to take your company to the next level alongside 250 of your fellow business leaders.

What's in it for you

  • Exclusive deep learning sessions, where each one will give you a minimum of 3 tangible takeaways you can action in your business the very next day.
  • Small, intimate session sizes, guaranteeing you one-on-one access to the industry leader sharing their expertise. 
  • Lunch AKA your opportunity to fuel your mind as you digest all the information you've taken in.
  • Structured networking with your peers. 


Plan your day in advance to make sure you get a chance to visit every session you're interested in!

  Room A Room B Room C Room D
8:30 – 9:00 am Session registration open
9:00 am – 10:15 am Business Model Canvassing: Creating a 30-minute business plan Cybersecurity: Managing and protecting your business' future
Session presented by ATB Business
Connecting your business with customers
10:30 am – 11:45 am The business case for market research Measure what matters
Presented by BDC
11:45 pm – 1:30 pm Lunch + Keynote happening in the Expo
1:30 pm – 2:45 pm Mind mapping: Unlocking your brain for innovation Harness digital marketing to grow your business Structured networking Session presented by McLeod Law
3:30 pm – 4:45 pm UX 101: Designing user and service experience Session presented by Chambers Plan  Structured networking


Business Model Canvassing: Creating a 30-minute business plan

HOSTED BY John Vardalos, FOUnder and CEO of JFIVE

This interactive and engaging workshop is based around the content of the international bestseller book Business Model Generation which is a visual management tool that allows people to quickly describe, design and pivot their business models.

It is composed of nine essential building blocks that describe how a business creates, delivers and captures value. A single-page business model is much easier to share and use, meaning that it will be read by more people and updated more regularly as changes inevitably happen.

There are no PowerPoints in a JFive workshop. Instead, sharpies, post-it notes and visual frameworks are used to generate understanding, empathy and strategic thinking in this hands-on workshop. Everyone participates and everyone contributes; bringing ideas forward in an environment that is purpose built for innovation and creativity.

Cybersecurity: Managing and protecting your business' future

Hosted by Justin Fong, Cyber Risk Services Partner at Deloitte

This session has two objectives in helping you navigate cybersecurity and the evolving landscape. The first component to this session is to provide a brief update on cybersecurity from the lens of an attacker and what it means to us as business professionals today. Discussion on current trends and areas of interest will be critical to setting the stage.

The second component will be to perform a high level table top simulation of a breach, designed to help you think more critically as a business leader on top areas of concerns, potential oversights and to better prepare for an incident when they happen. A review and lessons learned in this interactive session will be discussed as a wrap up. 

Connecting your business with customers

Hosted by Jordan McGill, Director of Strategy at William Joseph Communications

Part of William Joseph’s recently launched WJ University, this strategy-focused seminar led by William Joseph’s Director of Strategy, Jordan McGill will dive into the details of strategic marketing and connecting your business with customers.

Join him as he discusses how to better understand your business’s strengths/weaknesses, industry, environment, competition, as well as your customer, and how to position your company to showcase its unique value.

The business case for market research

Hosted by Alexandra Frison, Director, and Howie Thomson, Vice-President of Studio, at National

Looking differently at how you can research your customer needs can help you uncover gaps that may be impacting your business’s ability to grow and improve.

In this workshop you’ll be introduced to digital ethnography and key influencer targeting – two types of research that will help you understand how your product or service actually fits into a customer’s routine and culture so that you can develop more intuitive products and services and more effective marketing strategies.

We’ll demonstrate through some real examples how these types of research can offer a value-add to more traditional types of research. 

Measure what matters

Hosted by Carla Heim, Senior Advisor Social Entrepreneurship at BDC

The Measure What Matters workshop will introduce entrepreneurs to a global community called B Corp.

This community believes that all stakeholders play a role in their success. The B Corp certification reviews your entire business including governance, employee engagement, social responsibility and environmental practices. Come and learn how to measure everything that matters to you.

Mind mapping: Unlocking your brain for innovation 

Hosted by Kate McKay and Les Mottosky from Zen & Inno

Mind mapping is a powerful graphic tool that unlocks the mind. A Swiss army knife for the brain, mind maps are the easiest way to put information into your brain, and take information out of your brain.

Especially renowned for organizing ideas, memorizing ideas and generating a greater volume and quality of ideas, this energising workshop introduces the fundamentals of mindmapping and then has participants up and doing it for themselves.

Harness digital marketing to grow your business

Hosted Kevin Wilhelm, president of Pod marketing

Attendees will learn all about digital marketing and how to develop an effective strategy for their business.

Whether the goal of their business is to increase brand awareness, increase their online presence or increase lead generation - digital marketing should be at the forefront of that strategy. Learn how to build an effective website in today's mobile world and how to drive potential customers to that website.

Topics covered will include Website Development, Pay-per-Click, Display Advertising, SEO and Display Advertising.

UX 101: Designing user and service experience

Hosted by Danielle Christopher, client lead at Levitate Digital

UX 101 is a high-level hands on introduction to the world of user experience. In this session you will be shown best practices that can help your business save time and money while reducing risk. In this workshop, you will learn about what UX is, how to recognize UX problems, and why improving the UX in your digital experiences will help your business.

Levitate Digital will take you through each concept and ask you to reflect on how it relates to your business and your specific problem so you have a clear idea of how to move forward with the information you’ve learned.