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MONEY$TYLE: SMALL BUSINESSES WITH BIG DREAMS

Meet the stars of TD’s most recent ad campaign, which aims to support small business customers
By Al Ramsay

 
It’s no secret that small and medium businesses are an important backbone to most economies—and Canada is no different. In 2014, they accounted for 99.7 per cent of all Canadian businesses, which represents 30 per cent of the overall economy. That’s why it’s important for governments and financial institutions to do their part when it comes to helping entrepreneurs to start up, thrive and achieve their full potential.
 
October was National Small Business Month in Canada and it helped shine a spotlight on countless entrepreneurs while celebrating their success. At TD, small businesses are an integral part of our customer base, so to celebrate we will be hosting approximately 7,000 small business owners at events across Canada through October and November. TD’s “Official Partner of Big Dreams” campaign helps to support and promote our small business customers by sharing our advertising space with them, helping to amplify their brand to a much broader market, and helping them grow.
 
One company we are highlighting is “2 Guys With Knives,” founded by Sergio Pereira and Patrick Carr, a young gay couple in Vancouver. They have a unique business that’s gaining momentum in Vancouver and they’re looking to expand across the country. I had the chance to sit down with Patrick recently. Here’s what he had to say about his starring role in TD’s most recent ad campaign.
 
Tell us about yourself and your business.
Sergio came to Canada 10 years ago after graduating from the Culinary Institute of Brazil, and I’m a Canadian art and fitness guru. Competitive athletics took me on adventures across the world, eventually landing me in Vancouver. I met Sergio there and together we brought 2 Guys With Knives to life. Each Monday we unveil a brand selection of five gluten-free entrees, breakfasts and healthy vegan desserts. Each of our menu items balances lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates and tasty veggie combinations designed around fitness nutrition guidelines. Clients can order from the menu or adapt it to their specific nutritional needs.
 
What sparked the idea?
Both of our backgrounds show our passion for wellness and education, which formed the foundation for 2 Guys With Knives. As a trainer, meal planning is an integral component to the success of my clients. We went from cooking for friends as a fun little side venture to producing over 2,000 meals per week in the span of three years.
 
What were the challenges in starting your business?
Every step was a learning curve for both of us, but having attentive mentors at TD for finance management, along with other business owners who we could bounce ideas off of, was integral to us staying on course.
 
What role did your bank play in starting your business?
Our bank is the reason we are able to celebrate our continued growth and success. The guidance and support we have received from the staff at TD is unparalleled. Every question we’ve had along the way has been welcomed with genuine interest and answered with attentive solutions.
 
What would you say is the secret to your success?
Our food is fantastic, but our service is outstanding. We have both experienced health issues in the past and know first-hand how much it means when someone—out of genuine care—shoulders your dietary concerns with you.
 
What advice would you give to someone who would like to start their own business?
Enjoy and respect the process, but also learn from it. Utilize the knowledge of your mentors and always remain open and adaptable. Trust that your journey will be supported, and throw your heart all the way in.
 
If you could have done anything differently up to this point, what would it be and why?
I think we both agree that we could have let go of being in the kitchen on a Friday night peeling the skin off almonds to make fresh almond milk. But we’ve gained such valuable knowledge from both our successes and our mistakes.
 
Where do you see yourself in five years?
We are excited to expand our platform to incorporate more online interactive video content, while also moving into other major Canadian cities.
 
2 Guys With Knives is an integral part of TD’s “Official Partner of Big Dreams” campaign. What are your thoughts on the campaign?
TD’s Big Dreams Campaign is such a fantastic opportunity for any small business. We were put forward for the campaign by Grant Minish, the regional manager for LGBTA business development at TD Bank in Vancouver, and were ecstatic when we learned we had been selected to move forward. The whole team has been so terrific working with us, and it’s been unbelievable to connect with new people and grow from their knowledge.
 

 
AL RAMSAY is TD Bank Group’s regional manager, LGBTA Business Development, and leads a team of expert advisors dedicated to serving the LGBTA community. For more information or to book a meeting, he can be reached at al.ramsay@td.com or follow him on Twitter at @AlRamsay_TD.

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