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It's no wonder that Smak Dab's founder, Carly Minish, ended up in the food industry. With a nutritionist for a grandmother, and a foodie for a mother, her family's life evolved around food. Whether it was a fish fry by the lakeside, making pickles and jam, hunting with her father, combining with her grandfather, or picking crab apples with her grandmother, food was the thing around which the best memories were made. Food has substance; food felt natural, comforting, and most importantly - like home. It was an obvious choice to follow a career path where she could express her passion for food and its nourishment for the soul. Thus, her journey began.



Chef Peter Fehr is the innovator, creator and producer of Gourmet Inspirations. Peter grew up on a small hobby farm in rural Manitoba with a home grown garden and fresh home raised beef, chicken and pork. Peter knows the taste of fresh and quality. Peter also has extensive culinary training and a history in the food service industry. He has served countless plates of food to a wide range of people including kids at camp to guests at a 5-star fly-in fishing resort in Northern Manitoba, Canada. All these experiences combined are what inspired the creation of Gourmet Inspirations. Chef Peter's vision is to see people come together and enjoy quality time with friends and family over a fresh, delicious, gourmet and healthy meal! Gourmet Inspirations was established in 2013 with the purpose and goal of creating gourmet, specialty food products that are versatile, convenient and easy to use. Gourmet Inspirations currently offers a line of delectable 5-star sauces for use at home. Flavours include Creamy Peppercorn Whiskey, Sweet & Spicy Lemon, Strawberry Balsamic with Basil, and Salted Caramel Whiskey Dessert Sauce. All products are Canadian made and contain NO nasty preservatives.

Alan & Johanna McLauchlan - ROCKY LAKE BIRCHWORKS

Rocky Lake Birchworks is a family owned business operated by Johanna, Alan, Andy and Peter McLauchlan.  The primary product of the business is the production of birch syrup.  Secondary products are other Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) harvested on Crown Land in Manitoba. Yearly we tap 1500 paper birch trees on a Crown Land Lease on Rocky Lake.  Birch sap collected is processed into syrup, bottled and packaged in a certified Food Safe facility on the lease.  We produce in excess of 500 liters of birch syrup and have thirty-two Retailers in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. We also sell product in various trade shows throughout the province. Our company is very active on several social media platforms including a web site, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. We have  been featured in a recent video series by The Pew Trusts called "The People of the Boreal" which garnered international attention.  Several magazine and newspaper articles featured our company and the birch syrup making process. Birch Syrup is a fairly new and novel product and as such has generated interest in the minds of people concerned about natural foods.

Ryan Pengelly & Alexandra Lozada - Tamarack Farm's

In 2014, Ryan Pengelly and Alexandra Lozada returned to Ryan's family farm (Tamarack Farms) which was established in the 1970s by Ryan's parents. Their move was motivated by a strong desire to return to the Parkland region, raise their children on the family farm, and explore the possibility of taking over the farm business. Growing quinoa has been at the centre of Tamarack Farm's recent shift from producing native grass and forage seeds to growing, processing, and direct-marketing grain and pastured meat products. Ryan first experimented with growing quinoa in 2009 because of a strong interest in growing local food and Alexandra's connection to Peru - Alexandra is originally from Lima, Peru where they met in 2004. Over the last several years, Ryan and Alexandra have worked significantly with Ryan's parents to slowly develop the experience and capacity to manage and operate the family farm, transition part of the farm to certified organic production, and increase the diversity of its raw and valued-added products. At the moment, Tamarack Farms has several products available at either farmers' markets, restaurants or retail outlets throughout southern Manitoba: "nutty brown" quinoa, quinoa flour, quinoa & flax pancake mix, quinoa brownie mix, whole yellow peas, yellow pea flour, and rye berries. Over the last several years, Ryan and Alexandra have faced several challenges including the development and permitting of their on-farm seed cleaning and packaging facility as well as growing slowly to find a balance between producing a raw product, processing, distributing and marketing within Manitoba. The biggest challenge to this new entrepreneurial family is finding and maintaining a work-life balance.

Taunya Woods Richardson - Nail The Numbers

With over 25 years of entrepreneurial experience, Taunya's reputation in startup circles as the "Cashflow Queen" is built on her ability to dive into the uncomfortable topic of finance with tremendous empathy, transparency and humour. She is cited as a change-maker, solution-architect and financial empowerment evangelist. With the rare ability to both motivate and equip them with actionable change strategies, Taunya helps entrepreneurs to better control their financial futures. An entrepreneur herself, Taunya is the creator and chair of Nail the Numbers. She credited with three successful exits, and a current portfolio which includes founding and chairing two non-profits, controlling interest in three startups, and an equity position in two others. Taunya has contributed to launching and growing hundreds of startups across western Canada, in part through her work with Futurpreneur where she managed a $4 million dollar loan portfolio. And, through Powerhouse International where she tirelessly advocated on behalf of hundreds of Alberta-based startups for over eight years. Taunya continues to ensure the voice of the startup is heard and supported through her extensive community involvement with organizations including BDC, SHAD International, First Nations University, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Capital Network and numerous other initiatives fostering entrepreneurship, financial empowerment, and economic development.


Jana C. Knight - Cross-Town Motors

Jana C. Knight is the fourth generation to own and operate Cross-Town Motors in Roblin, MB.  In a world of large dealership corporations, Cross-Town Motors is unique. Having capitalized on what makes this dealership different has made this 93 year old company thrive in today's competitive market. Jana has worked in every department of the dealership. After high school, she went on to graduate from both Georgian College and Northwood University. She received an honors degree in Business Management / Automotive Marketing. Recognized by General Motors of Canada, Jana was honored to be asked to be a part of a dealer group consisting of 20 female GM dealer owners and managers. The objective of this group is to exchange ideas and best practices with colleagues from across North America. Jana was one of two dealers asked to participate from Canada. Choosing to operate a franchised business in a small town was a huge decision. Managing marketing, guiding employees, and market feasibility were all hurdles to overcome.  Constant attention and putting the customer in the center of everything she does is what has made this business successful.

Ellen Arnott - CRAVE

Ellen Arnott was born and raised on a small, mixed family farm near Roblin, MB.  After attending the University of Winnipeg, where she studied geography and environmental studies, a trip to Vancouver Island which was supposed to be 2 months in duration ended up being a 21 year stay.  In Nanaimo, she worked for a small import company which wholesaled handmade clothing and accessories from Central and South America. It was while working for World Folk Art Imports that she gained experience in all aspects of running a small business from customer relations, purchasing, sales, promotion, bookkeeping and everything in between. Although Vancouver Island has its charms, missing family, small town living and the prairies Ellen made the choice to return to her roots in Roblin. She decided to take a risk, use the skills and experience she had acquired and open a small clothing and gift boutique. Since opening Crave in July of 2016 she has enjoyed working to grow her business and meeting challenges as they present themselves. Ellen believes rural Manitoba has a lot to offer and there is no place like home.

Crave style retail

Dan Debreuil - Sales Trainer, Sales Management Consultant

Since 2004, Dan has helped lead numerous B2B sales teams become more organized, focused and effective. One area Dan focuses on when first connected with a new client’s sales team is the sales presentation and closing sequence. He has learned through experience that the essential role of a business development or account manager is to make an effective presentation when it’s needed.

- Active Board Member of The Manitoba Marketing Network, currently serving as Past President
- National Sales Manager for Western Storage (2004-2014) Increased sales 340% during his tenure
- Hired to write the sales and marketing curriculum for the Small Business Development branch of the Federal Government and the Province of Manitoba


Amanda Reimer - ETSY

Amanda Reimer is from Landmark, MB and started selling jewelry on Etsy in 2013 when she opened her shop called Silver Moose Arts. In 2014 she started Etsy Sellers of Manitoba on Facebook and Instagram to help promote and support other Etsy sellers wanting to grow their small businesses. In 2016 Etsy Sellers of Manitoba became an official Etsy Team. She hosts Etsy workshops, markets and helps other sellers one on one while growing her own shop and parenting her 11 month old daughter with her husband in the middle of the beautiful prairies. Her background is in non-profit, business, and marketing having worked for Salvation Army, and Goldenwest radio to name a few.

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Jeff Reimer & Andy Varcoe - CHARLESTON & HARLOW CANDLE CO.

Charleston & Harlow Candle Co. was born out of a love for travel and a desire for a home fragrance product that was green, fit in with any decor, would not break the bank, but most importantly performed as expected. We use only the finest ingredients, including 100% soy wax, pure fragrance and essential oils, eco-fabric wicks, design-inspired vessels, recyclable packaging, and charm. The scent library is as wide as it is unique, both accurate in their essence and true-to-scent, producing an enveloping fragrance for your home that is never overwhelming. Charleston & Harlow has its sights set on reshaping the candle industry, and the mindset of the candle user. Jeff Reimer and Andy Varcoe started August 2016. Jeff is full-time and Andy works part-time and have been Brandon-based from start to finish.

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  • Address
    Take the Leap Conference
    Box 668
    Gilbert Plains, MB, R0L 0X0
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