Entrepreneurship Program Advisors

Entrepreneurship Program

Entrepreneurship programming at Invest Ottawa helps product or services based entrepreneurs to start or grow their business. The advisors listed below are business experts, offering guidance, advice, and/or resources to help address your needs and challenges.

Affan Mahmud Chowdhury
Business Advisor

A serial entrepreneur and CEO of Notionhive, Affan Mahmud Chowdhury honed his people management skills at the Standard Chartered Bank’s Human Resource team where he started his career. While pursuing an undergrad and subsequently an MBA from the prestigious IBA, Dhaka University, he founded multiple companies in the IT, Hospitality, and Food & Beverage industries boasting modest YOY growths. Chowdhury’s free time is spent consulting and mentoring for startups as he desires to build a community of thriving entrepreneurs who will drive the economy. As an Alumnus of the US Department of State, Chowdhury spent 5 weeks in an entrepreneur exchange program in the USA, which helped him acquire a better understanding of North American businesses across multiple industries

Bill McMillan
Business Advisor

Bill has worked in the service and trade industries for over 25 years. From customer facing, to shared services and executive management, he has experience in all roles within an organization. Bill has worked across Canada, but Ottawa has always been his home base. Bill’s experience in business development has driven organic growth by expanding current and new services to existing customers and new geographic markets. Operationally he has lead change management projects improving efficiency in business workflows and processes. After many years of management experience he completed his MBA through the Executive Program at the Telfer School of Business at Ottawa University expanding his experience even further. In his current consulting role, Bill works with product and service based businesses to strengthen and grow their businesses.

Darlene Moore
Business Advisor

I am a digital strategist, analyst, trainer, and owner of DriveTraffic Digital Marketing. I have been working in the digital marketing industry since the mid 90s. My career began with doing email marketing, affiliate marketing, SEO, and Google Ads but then morphed into managing teams of digital marketers, webmasters, graphic designers and content creators while ensuring a successful client journey.

I’m a huge dog lover, petting each one I walk past, and I also enjoy kayaking, snowshoeing, and cycling depending on what time of year it is in Canada! 

I want to help you build a marketing strategy uniquely suited to your business goals. I want to ensure that you are visible where your target market is looking for the products and services you provide. Working with me, you get an account manager, a marketing strategist, an analyst and someone who views success as seeing their clients happy with the results I have helped them achieve!

Every project and every client is unique — but two things remain the same: I value collaboration and meaningful client relationships. It starts with getting to know you: your brand, your challenges, and your goals.

Josephine Mensah
Business Advisor

Josephine Mensah is the owner of Oneness Career Coaching Inc. and has over 8 years of professional experience in career coaching, employment services and human resources practices. As a career coach, LinkedIn consultant and speaker, she meets clients individually and facilitates workshops for those seeking career changes as young professionals, new Canadians and aspiring entrepreneurs. Josephine also has a part-time role of Project Coordinator for the Foreign Credential Recognition Mentorship Program at Ottawa Community Immigration Services Organization, targeting internationally trained professionals in regulated professions.

Josiane Gomez, CPA, CGA, MBA
Business Advisor

Josiane holds designations as a CPA, CGA and MBA. She is the founder and CFO of Zivo, a registered CPA firm that provides online bookkeeping, payroll, accounting services, and expert financial advice to small businesses, entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, and charities.

Before founding Zivo, Josiane worked at KPMG, one of the Big Four in Ottawa, and a national CPA firm for several years where she had the opportunity to work with a wide range of for-profit and not-for-profit clients. Her work in the private sector-led her to hold several senior leadership positions overseeing the accounting and financial reporting of organizations with multi-million dollar budgets. Josiane’s main areas of expertise are accounting, financial reporting and management, audit, tax, payroll, budget and resource management, business advisory services, and accounting systems optimization.

As an entrepreneur herself, Josiane understands the significant role that finances play in the success of a business. That is why she is on a mission to use her expertise to help entrepreneurs, small business owners and leaders get more out of their company.

Josiane is fluently bilingual and works with clients in the language of their choice.

Karla Briones
Business Advisor

Karla Briones is a Mexican-Canadian serial entrepreneur with retail, food and beverage, and e-commerce businesses. 

In her consulting role, Karla coaches new immigrants on how to become successful entrepreneurs in their adopted country. Karla provides business advisory to immigrant entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs who are building main street businesses from ideation through growth stage.   

Karla hosts Immpreneur Canada, a podcast that interviews successful entrepreneurs about their journeys of building successful businesses as immigrants.  

She is the recipient of 2018 City of Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Award, given to an immigrant who has made an impact in local economy and entrepreneurship ecosystem. 

She is also a business mentor for Futurpreneur Canada and for several local community groups.

Kevin Sterling
Business Advisor

Kevin Sterling has done more than just study the world of small business en route to earning an MBA. Over the past 20 years, he’s also lived through the intensive effort of starting and growing his own companies, as well as being a part of a major acquisition.

Currently, Kevin operates two businesses focused on supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses: Centrosome Inc, a bookkeeping and business consulting company and Sterling Spaces, a coworking and event space. He also runs a couple of local Meetup groups as well as serving as a mentor with Founder’s Fund.

Rob Brown
Business Advisor

Rob has spent nearly 30 years in the finance industry working with organizations across Canada, putting together credit facilities for a wide cross-section of businesses. His approach has been holistic in providing clients with a complete understanding of how the credit process works and setting expectations to get results.

During his tender, he has been successful in cultivating relationships with a wide network to gain access and generate new sales growth opportunities, delivering smart business solutions for common issues. Along with this, he has also been recognized for the development of key accounts, execution of corporate strategies, and surpassing financial and performance metrics.

Along with the finance industry, Rob has spent time in both Information Technology and E-commerce in a consulting role.

Ryan Gencarelli
Business Advisor

Ryan is a seasoned marketing professional turned entrepreneur. He pivoted from the corporate world to co-found wild idea co. Offering tools, resources, and training, wild idea co. helps Canadian entrepreneurs take their business from wild idea to wild success.

Ryan has advised and mentored hundreds of aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs. He’s passionate about supporting the entrepreneurial community and your success as a small business owner.

Above all else, he’s a people person. Building and nurturing relationships is central to his business philosophy. Ryan advises on many areas of business development and specializes in marketing, sales, project management, networking, and early-stage growth.

Sarah Gencarelli
Business Advisor

Sarah is an awarded brand strategist, copywriter, instructor, and entrepreneur. She’s a founding partner of wild idea co., a remote brand consultancy and creative studio based in Ottawa.

Sarah works closely with founders and marketing teams to clarify and amplify brand stories. She’s known for her ability to straddle both strategic and creative thinking and is a sought-after partner to agencies and start-ups for this reason.

She’s worked with brands large and small, from national brands like KitchenAid, Creemore Springs, and The Ritz-Carlton, to start-ups like Unity Wellness (CBD) and Air Matrix (drone technology), among others.

She’s passionate about supporting the entrepreneurial community. She has led workshops at Invest Ottawa, Women Mean Business, Energia Ventures, and Algonquin College.

Stephanie Hault
Business Advisor

Stephanie is a dynamic life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about commerce. She founded her first business at the age of 24 and never looked back! Since then she grew her first brick-and-mortar store to a second location, a successful online store, the largest retail social media following in Ottawa as well as millions in revenue and five private label brands.

Her expertise lies in driving sales, developing exceptional brand strategies and implementing commerce trends. Stephanie has negotiated and fostered 60+ partnerships with the globe’s most recognized brands including Levi’s, Canada Goose, Corkcicle and New Balance.

Currently, Stephanie works for Shopify and supports their largest merchants to increase their online presence on the Shopify platform and beyond. She has worked with brands such as Steve Madden, Conde Nast, Warner Brothers, Purina and Nestle.

In her role, she coaches merchants to grow their business by partnering with them on goal development and provides tailored and structured recommendations to achieve those goals.

When not working she enjoys playing with her goldendoodle, Georgie and travelling with her husband. Some of her favourite destinations have been Copenhagen, Bogota and Moscow. Next on her list is Tokyo and Johannesburg.

This program is made possible through funding from the Government of Ontario.

Ontario logo