February Sponsor of the Month



Every month, Startup Zone features one of their sponsors by interviewing them to learn more about the great things they do to help Startup Zone thrive, and recording a video covering all the great things they do. This month, we are highlighting BDO!




To learn more about BDO’s role at Startup Zone, we interviewed Gerry Lanigan, Senior Manager Financial Advisory Services, Valuations M&A for BDO, who serves as a mentor for the Startup Zone community by offering in-house office hours. With over 17 years of experience at BDO alone, the business advisory services that Gerry provides are top-notch!



What is BDO’s role as a sponsor of Startup Zone? 

At Startup Zone, BDO serves as business advisory mentors. Leveraging our experience from working with thousands of business, we are here to help guide these entrepreneurs to sieze opportunities, and avoid the pitfalls. Based on the root of our profession we are often referred to as accountants, however, our role in small business advisory is much more than that. The business world has grown increasingly complex, and with that, business owners require expertise of a business advisor offering a wider breadth of services. In addition to my expertise, I serve as a gatekeeper, leveraging BDO’s bench strength of professionals in multiple disciplines, who have a wide breadth of experience in the startup space and with early-stage companies, especially in the tech and life sciences industries.


What the value of Startup Zone to you, and why do you choose to sponsor them?

BDO chooses to sponsor Startup Zone because of our long-time passion and commitment to the start-up community accross Canada and in PEI. On a personal note, I got involved with Startup Zone a couple of years ago because working with startups is a challenging but exciting space to practice! It’s the culture and commitment that make partnerships with organizations such as Startup Zone a must for us at BDO! Having worked with many business owners, including many hardworking entrepreneurs, it is inspiring and exciting to have SUZ as a resource for them. Startup Zone is many things, but one of its strengths is how it brings entrepreneurial-minded people together along with like-minded professionals to form a hub which supports business ideas, and helps early-stage companies get off the ground. By Startup Zone supporting entrepreneurs and startup culture, we are creating value in our economy in our communities, in PEI, and in Atlantic Canada. It has not only opened channels to the startup and finance/business communities, but it has opened a window to seeking investment (private capital) and helping business owners access various levels of funding which is essential to any startup. Access and visibility to private capital investors is monumental achievement for startups in our community. 

In addition to BDO’s bench strength in this sector, every year BDO hosts a VC Pitch event in 6 cities across Canada in March for up-and-coming entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to some of Canada’s top Venture Capitalists. You can apply here for this year’s event.


In general, what do BDO’s advisors do to help small businesses?

At BDO, we help ensure the entrepreneur gets the right advice right out of the gate, whether it is in the budget or not. We surround the business owner with access to a professional team, and the resources and relationships they need to succeed. This is vital to creating a successful business! At the Startup Zone, our team advises business owners on a variety of elements, including their tax/share structure as well as guiding owners through tax compliance issues including cross border, domestic, payroll, and HST. We advise on raising capital, access to funding, and exit strategies. Navigating unforeseen expenses while retaining maximum corporate and shareholder wealth for reinvestment in the business or owner compensation are more examples of how we add value in working with business owners.


How do you define an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur to me is many things. They are passionate about what they do and why they do it, and they enjoy building. Many are idea-focused and are required to wear many hats (some of which are worn more easily than others). They are hard-working, relentless, and risk-takers. While they are driven in business and in their goals, the successful ones recognize the value of people and their team, and are community-oriented. 


This month, BDO also has applications open for their VC Pitch Day in collaboration with McInnes Cooper. View all the details for this event here. 

Thank you to BDO for all that you do for Startup Zone! Learn more about what they do for Startup Zone here. 


Rachel Adams (Startup Zone Marketing & Events Coordinator)