Ask The Expert

The Province of Ontario is providing funding to Small Business Centres to create a Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. The funding is being used to provide a program that we have named Ask The Expert that offers business planning and coaching, as well as, one on one time with local specialists to assist small businesses on planning for the future.

Through the Ask The Expert program, small business owners can have access to experts in the fields of accounting and bookkeeping, legal, social media, human resources, coaching and marketing, and business strategy, at no charge. To be eligible, the business must be registered as a Sole proprietor, General Partnership or Corporation with 1 to 5 employees. The business needs to be currently operating, earning some revenue and affected by COVID-19.

Not all inquiries will be referred to an expert and we will triage inquiries as required.

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Meet The Experts:


Legal: Michael D. Swindley, Templeman LLP

Michael is a Partner at Templeman LLP and provides a wide range of advice across a varied practice, including advise to business owners on litigation, contractual, defamation, and matrimonial matters.  He has appeared as lead counsel in jury- and non-Jury Trials in the Superior Court of Justice, and appellant work at the Divisional Court level.   He has also been appointed as Dispute Resolution Officer with the Superior Court of Justice in Kingston.   When not engaged in the practice of law,  Michael remains intertwined with the Queens University community.  He teaches Trial Advocacy, an upper year law school course, and each semester is one of a handful of local lawyers honored to act as a mentor to upper year law students as part of the law schools' Clinical (practical) Law program.  

Templeman LLP is a leading regional law firm that offers a full suite of legal services to private and public sector clients, from local start-ups and SMEs to large insurance and municipal clients across Ontario.  A local firm with established roots in Eastern Ontario, the team at Templeman LLP is deeply committed to the economic growth of the region and the long-term success of local businesses. 


Human Resources: Brenda E. Palmer, Palmer & Associates

Palmer and Associates is a Full-Service Human Resources firm that has been operating in the Kingston area, and across Canada for over twenty-years. They offer expertise in Executive Search, Career Transition and Leadership coaching services.  

Brenda E. Palmer has over 35 years of experience in Human Resource Management, Executive Search, Career Transition, and Executive Coaching. Following a successful early HR career in the manufacturing industry, she advanced to senior management roles with two Ottawa search firms. Over twenty years ago she started Palmer & Associates in Kingston. Her clients range from large multinational corporations, small entrepreneurial organizations, to public and not-for-profits. In her role she guides and mentors clients to achieve their goals and connect candidates to perfect career opportunities.


Coaching and Business Planning: Ian Murdoch, Second Summit Group Inc.

Ian Murdoch is the Managing Partner of Second Summit Group and brings over 20 years’ experience to the team. Ian’s focus is based on a magnitude of skillsets related to retail, entertainment, construction, technical sales, Federal and Municipal project management, and engineering consulting services. With a personal and grounded approach, Ian can support businesses by providing customized processes, and roadmaps for better in-house teams that create business legacy.

Whether a business is looking to rollout strategy, penetrate markets or mentor teams; Second Summit Group combines personal approach and tactical focus to ensure your goals are not only measured but exceeded. Second Summit Group, was developed to provide result based business support for more effective market strategies to create longer lasting relationships with staff and clients.


Social Media and Marketing: Jennifer Baker, Jennifer Baker Consulting

Jennifer Baker provides quality training on social media to businesses of all sizes. Using her education-focused degrees, Jennifer goes beyond explaining the importance of social media and gives her clients the skills and confidence they need to attract and retain customers. Through careful attention to each client’s needs, time constraints, and skill levels, Jennifer trains individuals to make social media work for their business. Jennifer is a part-time instructor at St. Lawrence, and a contributor to Social Media Today. She holds a Masters in Education, Bachelor of Education, and Bachelor of Arts in Business & Economics. 

Jennifer Baker Consulting delivers customized, hands-on social media training designed to demystify social media for the corporate world. Training is designed with up-to-date, step by step instructions to aid in the learning process. All participants are provided with a standard handout, covering learning objectives.


Accounting, Tax & Bookkeeping: Justen Roy, JR’s Tax & Bookkeeping

Justen Roy has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, but the core of his educational background includes an Advanced Diploma in Business Administration Accounting. After graduating, he gained invaluable experience while working at a few accounting firms around the Kingston area. He was given the opportunity to work in different departments that relate to the accounting process. While at these firms, he performed many accounting tasks ranging from processing payroll, to preparing financial statements, and performing various data entry.

Since then, Justen has started his own tax and bookkeeping business, JR's Tax & Bookkeeping, and works as a Tax Manager/Accountant. He has been working as a entrepreneur for over 10 years.  His goal is to provide tax and bookkeeping services with a customized one-on-one approach that provides a personal touch not offered by larger corporations. Throughout his time in his career, he has also cultivated a unique network of business owners and professionals within and outside his industry.


Book publishing: Frank B. Edwards, Editor, Author, Publisher

Frank B. Edwards is a local author, editor and publisher who started out in the magazine business before launching Camden House Books for Harrowsmith Magazine. Eventually he started his own full-time children’s book publishing company (Bungalo Books/Pokeweed Press) with illustrator John Bianchi. Together they created 38 kids’ books with sales of two million copies.

As the Canadian book publishing faded, Frank found innovative ways to keep his backlist alive and stay creative by “figuring out stuff himself.” He has toured Canadian schools extensively, created interactive ebooks for kids and adults with Apple, packaged books for institutional clients, wrote features for The Globe & Mail and used his creative/editorial expertise to develop education outreach plans for museums and other government agencies. This year he launched his first online bookstore.

Frank can offer advice on creative partnerships, editorial processes, printing, distribution and marketing – and other aspects of innovative book publishing.


Patent: Angela Lyon, Intellectual Property Expert

Angela Lyon, MSc, is a registered patent agent in the Canadian and the U.S. patent offices who works at Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI).  She primarily works on chemical patent applications that are owned by Queen’s University.  Angela and Stephen Scribner are able to assist local innovators with general questions in the area of intellectual property through a Queen’s University program that is government funded. Angela lives in South Frontenac County with her partner and three sons. She volunteers for Queen’s Women’s Network and La Salle Secondary School Athletics.

two canes

Accessibility-Focused Service: Natalie Shearer & Sarina Cormier, Two Canes Consulting

Natalie and Sarina both live in Kingston and through their business, Two Canes Consulting, offer customized accessibility-focused training, assessments, and solutions to organizations in Southern Ontario in order to help them make their spaces, services, and programs more inclusive of all needs and abilities. Two Canes has led workshops, joined podcasts and radio shows, spoken at conferences, and taken on extensive research projects over the last three (3) years to share their vision of a more accessible world and empower organizations to help bring that vision to life. 

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