How business can help create a sustainable world will be the focus of the 2016 Canadian small business conference, being held for the first time at the University of Guelph.

The Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE) conference will take place at U of G May 25-27. Delegates from industry and academia are expected to attend the 33rd annual gathering of small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Gavin Armstrong
Gavin Armstrong

Speakers will include U of G alumnus Gavin Armstrong, CEO of Lucky Iron Fish; Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Products Ltd.; Brenda Irwin, managing partner of Relentless Pursuit Partners; and Petra Kassun-Mutch, founder of Eve-Volution.

“We are extremely pleased to have the CCSBE conference at U of Guelph for the first time. It will be an opportunity to showcase how Guelph is changing the landscape of business and entrepreneurship,” said Julia Christensen Hughes, dean of the College of Business and Economics.

“At Guelph, we believe it is our responsibility to properly prepare our graduates to be active, engaged and contributing members of society. Entrepreneurialism plays a key role in that.”

Conference participants will discuss challenges in balancing traditional and social business practices, including enterprise education, gender and enterprise, rural enterprise, international entrepreneurship, business creation and innovation, and social, environmental and ethical enterprise.

Discussing social business and the role of academia is important for Armstrong, who launched his company while a student at U of G.

Lucky Iron Fish makes a product used in cooking water that helps combat iron deficiency. It was the first company in Guelph to receive B-Corp status, a certification for social and environmental performance.

“I am delighted to participate and discuss the critical role social enterprises have in solving some of the world’s more difficult challenges,” he said.