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James Donaldson, CEO | BC Food Processors Association

Hi everyone,

I’m excited to be taking part in the BC Middle Market Growth Conference. You really can’t talk about growth without looking at the incredible things happening in B.C.’s food processing industry. Overall, the industry grew 9% in 2016, which translates to $600 million. To put that growth in perspective, there are now more than 1,800 food and beverage processing companies in B.C. employing more than 28,000 people. Our industry now makes up approximately 20 percent of the province’s total manufacturing revenue and is the largest manufacturing sector in BC. That’s not small potatoes.

What’s most interesting to me is that this big industry is made up largely of small businesses, many of which are family-owned and operated. While many are processing fish, dairy, bakery, meat and beverage products, a growing number are exploring specialty and niche value-added products – something that’s putting B.C.’s industry on the world map.  Natural health products in particular have become part of B.C.’s growing brand.

Our province has so many of the right ingredients for a thriving food processing industry, including our rich geography, high food standards and access to global markets. But growth has also brought new challenges like accessing skilled labour and dealing with rising input costs and squeezing margins – elements that impact our ability to compete with other provinces and on a larger, global scale.

How do we continue to build on our legacy of innovation and support business pioneers as they forge their way onto the global stage? Join me for an important growth discussion with some of the players who have changed the game in B.C. We’ll talk about opportunity as well as challenges, and how both forces are shaping transaction activity. I’ll see you there,

  • James

James Donaldson, CEO

BC Food Processors Association



To register for the BC Middle Market Growth Conference on April 11 click here.


  • Yves Potvin, Founder, Gardein
  • Arran Stephens, Co-CEO and Founder, Natures Path
  • Elana Rosenfeld, CEO, Kicking Horse Coffee
  • James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association

Moderated by:

  • Leo Wilson, Vice President, KPMG Corporate Finance: Leo specializes in providing acquisition, divestiture, capital raising and strategic advisory services to mid-market private companies. He has worked with companies across a variety of industries and has significant transaction and financing experience in the food processing industry.
Top 10 things you need to know about the BC Middle Market Growth Conference

Top 10 things you need to know about the BC Middle Market Growth Conference

The BC Middle Market Growth Conference is less than 5 weeks away. Here’s what you need to know about this year’s event:

  1. We’ve rebranded as BC Middle Market Growth Conference, with engaging, trend-based content – all focused on growth and driving B.C.’s middle market.
  2. Earlybird rates close March 17. If you haven’t already registered, click here. [Lena to insert registration button or link]
  3. Our economic outlook will feature Duelling Economists: Beata Caranci, Chief Economist, TD Bank Group and Jock Finlayson, Chief Policy Officer, BC Business Council. Find out the answer to pressing questions like, ‘Is Trump good for BC business?’
  4. The Feature Panel examines growth through the eyes of two prominent entrepreneurs with a family business dynamic: John Nicola, CEO, Nicola Wealth, and Chris Nicola, Co-Founder and CTO, WealthBar. Moderated by Riaz Meghji, Host of Breakfast Television.
  5. Your participation helps us give back. This year’s Charity of Choice is Take a Hike Foundation, an alternative education program that empowers at-risk youth to forge the path to success personally and academically.
  6. Our Marketplace feature, sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright, provides valuable networking opportunities with 300 dealmakers, business owners and advisors.
  7. Bonus content! This year’s registration includes access to our Blakes’ sponsored President’s Reception: a high-energy evening of networking, great food and live music on April 10.
  8. We know the importance of a strong closing. Our Farris-sponsored closing event features local wines, craft brews and live music at Hyatt Vancouver’s Grain Tasting Bar.
  9. Our list of presenters is bigger and better than ever. Leading entrepreneurs, financiers and transactions advisors will come together on April 11 to drive the growth agenda. Don’t miss out!
  10. Stay connected. In addition to our weekly member communications, make sure to download our mobile app, powered by PitchBook, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for the latest details. #BCMMGrowCon
Financing your Growth: Which path will you choose?

Financing your Business Growth: Which path to choose?

It’s one of the biggest conundrums business owners and CFOs face: they need money to grow, but the array of financing options can be confusing. Decisions have to be made that will have profound short and long-term implications. 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. We’ve gathered a top-flight panel of lenders, equity partners and advisors to help you navigate the sea of options:

1)      Senior debt. Zeeshan Mayeenuddin, Director, Financial Sponsors & Leveraged Finance for TD Bank will represent and share the commercial loan option

2)     Mezzanine debt. Lee Grimshaw, Managing Director, BMO Capital Partners – Equity and Mezzanine will discuss subordinated and mezzanine financing, including a hybrid blend of debt and equity

3)     Royalty Funds. Justin Currie, CEO and Director, Royalty North will explain the royalty financing option – a relatively new market entrant, allowing a company to obtain a form of cash flow financing.

4)     Private Equity. Over the past 20 years, private equity has largely replaced the public markets as a source of equity for the middle market. Klemens Wilhelm, Principal at Fulcrum Capital Partners will explain how private equity can provide a stable source of capital and much more.

Our panel features moderator, Peter Mogan, Managing Partner of Mogan Daniels Slager, a leading mid-market M&A law firm in B.C. and advisor Andrew Kemper, Partner with Capital West Partners, a top-tier M&A advisory firm in Western Canada. For any business leader or CFO seeking to raise capital, this is an invaluable opportunity to learn from industry leaders and to gain clarity about how to finance your company’s growth. To register for the BC Middle Market Growth Conference on April 11, click here.

The Retail Revolution: Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar

The Retail Revolution – Meet our retail industry experts helping to shape the landscape in B.C. and beyond 

This year, our BC Middle Market Growth Conference is going where the growth is, and where better to start than the province’s red hot retail industry. Online retailers have been a major force of disruption for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, with their unparalleled convenience and access to valuable personal data. But retailers with a physical presence have their own tangible advantages and have effectively begun to embrace technology for a more experiential approach. Think digital storefronts, automated purchasing and pricing, and implementation of analytical intelligence that tells retailers who’s in store.

Want to know what’s driving the rise of retail in B.C. and how B.C.-based brands are participating in industry disruption? How retail is driving deal activity locally? Join us for the BC Middle Market Growth Conference on April 11. Register here to secure your seat today.

Brooke Harley, Partner, Campfire Capital

Brooke founded Campfire Capital in 2014 – a venture capital firm financially-backed by more than 30 former and current lululemon executives, all of whom worked together to create tremendous value for lululemon during its high growth period from 2002 to the present, as well as other consumer and retail industry leaders across North America. Previously, Brooke served as lululemon athletica’s Director of Business Development, where she oversaw the negotiation, valuation and acquisition of the company’s franchises and international joint ventures. She also headed market entry operations for lululemon’s debut in Asia and Europe. Before joining lululemon, Brooke worked as an attorney in mergers & acquisitions. She brings more than 10 years of experience in the retail, corporate acquisition, and venture capital space.


Drew Green is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in managing fast-paced, high-growth companies. A visionary leader, Drew joined INDOCHINO in 2015 and, within months, set the made to measure menswear retailer on a path to success. His focus, dedication and decisiveness has led to the company achieving record growth, expanding its retail showrooms in North America, and dramatically increasing its product assortment to become the undisputed leader in made-to-measure menswear. Prior to INDOCHINO, Green spent his career connecting online audiences with retailers through advertising technology and e-commerce and marketplace platforms, helping create billions of dollars in shareholder value.

Susan Tomaine, Partner, Blakes

Susan advises companies on a broad range of corporate transactions, focusing on cross-border corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.  Susan advises boards and special committees on corporate governance and strategic matters.   She also represents strategic and private equity investors in majority and minority investments, joint ventures, negotiated acquisitions and take-over bids.  Susan has experience across multiple industries, including the resource sector, retail, technology, biotech and manufacturing. In the area of corporate law, Susan assists clients with preparing and negotiating ongoing commercial relationships.

Launching the 2017 BC Middle Market Growth Conference:  What’s in a name?

A lot, it turns out. Many of you will recognize Capital Connection as the leading M&A Conference in Western Canada, with close to 300 attendees, engaging speakers, a popular exhibitor trade show and valuable networking opportunities. Mark your calendars for April 11, 2017. This year, building on our strong foundation, we’re calling it the BC Middle Market Growth Conference and here’s why.

In business, the ability to innovate and adapt predicates success. As we entered the 16th year of our industry-leading conference, we realized both the impact and the potential success of this anticipated annual event. The issues we’re covering aren’t just for dealmakers, but for business owners, entrepreneurs and financiers. And our purpose extends far beyond facilitating connections. We’re onto something bigger: fostering growth and helping to drive the most important section of the B.C. economy – the middle market.

Over the next few weeks we’ll share a sneak peak of this year’s expanded content, including our line-up of high-profile speakers. We hope you’ll join us for a bigger, better version of your favourite annual event. Registration officially opens today and we’d love your help in spreading the word!

Already, enthusiasm for this year’s event has overwhelmed us. Our trade show is filling up and sponsorship opportunities are close to sold out. In addition, we’re thrilled to welcome a new partnership with this year’s Official Event Sponsor Nicola Wealth Management Ltd.

For more information, and to register for this year’s event, click here. We look forward to seeing you there.



Erica McGuinness           Denise Nawata
Event Co-Chair                Event Co-Chair

@ACG_BC Twitter

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