About Us

Hi there…

I’m Patricia Dent, a business coach who moved to a smaller city north of Toronto, Canada in 2009. I ran across the Grow Vantage business course, which I didn’t think I needed (I did) as I started my new local coaching business.

In my previous corporate companies life (from start up to stodgy… and in between) marketing, communications and events were much of my focus. My favourite corporate gig was running the TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) Broadcast & Conference Centre…. to redesign, rebuild and boost revenue. That said I was happy to leave corporate culture behind.

I thought my corporate background had taught me everything I needed to know about start-ups … that is until the Grow Vantage “Survive an Audit” training showed me, I had to reset my financial record keeping to be compliant. Humbled that I didn’t know everything, I put my head down to learn more (and made it a rule to keep up my research).

The Grow Vantage program started when the rate of business failures was as high as 80% in the first 2 years. Now we work at reducing failure rates with solid business information and just in time support. We have a tradition of teaching people for success.

I loved learning alongside a community of other business owners. I especially loved giving a helping hand to would-be entrepreneurs who were starting and growing their business. I loved it so much, that in 2011 I asked the Grow Vantage program founder if she were planning to exit any time soon…  (I know, it was a bit bad-mannered – especially for a Canadian).  I took over the program in 2013.

It wasn’t always easy – 5 months after taking over, I developed two different kinds of breast cancer. Another hurdle to overcome. The good news is I did – and it strengthened my resolve to direct my own future.

That was over 11 years ago, and my love of coaching and teaching heart-centred entrepreneurs has only grown.

Especially when they want to do the work they love and have a positive impact on their communities and the world.

Especially when not only can I join other experts to train entrepreneurs in the best practices to run a successful business, I can help strengthen their strategic mindset to build a path forward.

Whether I’ve served as a volunteer business mentor for the City, a President of the Chamber, a founding member of the Xcelerate Summit planning committee  for our business week event (now international), a long-time member of the local entrepreneurial eco-system, or a co-founder of a grass roots networking group – serving entrepreneurs has been my passion.

Launching Ask For Directions Training has been another labour of love – and one in which I hope you’ll join us as you start your own adventure into start-up.

Recognition and Awards

  • Finalist, Women In Business Community Impact Award, 2024 and Heart & Soul Award, 2023
  • Arch Brown Entrepreneur Award of Excellence 2022
  • 1st runner up, 2021 Mayor’s Innovation Award, Pivot Point
  • Finalist, Pay It Forward Award 2021
  • Barrie Chamber Ambassador (2019-present)
  • Board Member, Greater Barrie Chamber of Commerce (2015 – 2019)
  • Past President, Barrie Chamber of Commerce (2018-2019)
  • President, Barrie Chamber of Commerce (2017 – 2018)
  • Mentor, Starter Company Plus, Small Business Centre, City of Barrie (2015 – 2023)
  • 2012 & 2013 Investors Group Business Excellence Award, BERN
  • 2012 Barrie Business Award: RBC Royal Bank SOHO Business Excellence Award
  • 2013, Co-Founder Xcelerate Summit 
  • 2012 Co-Founder Small Business Connect Networking Group

What is Ask For Directions Training?

Launching Ask For Directions has been another labour of love – and one in which I hope you’ll join us as you start or grow your own adventure into start-up.

After 11 years and thousands and thousands of hours of coaching and training, this program has been put together to help you build your business as efficiently as possible.

Ask for Directions Business Training is a two-part program that helps entrepreneurs learn and implement the steps they need to take, to create a business. The first part puts in place initial training modules that guide you in creating a structure, market concept, messaging, and establishing a financial framework. The growth-focused program (part 2) takes a different form, as a monthly membership, teaching strategy, and dripping out content to hone tools and techniques that will grow a successful business. 

This is practical and proven advice that helps you grapple with the current business environment. We’re excited to have you embrace a business and strengthen it in time for the uncertainty of the last few years begin to fade. It may not be well known but learning and growing a business in a time of disruption helps new business owners to be more resilient. They are ever-conscious of the current market – and the need to be prepared to adapt. If you can launch in a period like this – you can go anywhere!

Through parts 1 and 2, you will learn through absorbing and applying a total of 41 individual class subjects, and practical guidelines that cover every aspect of launching and growing a business. In part 1, self-paced classes are released weekly to allow you to absorb and apply material, with handouts that are designed to clarify how you are building your own business and weekly coaching calls to clarify any questions, alongside the experts who lead those classes.

In part 2, each month, we will hold strategy sessions to clarify direction and generate ideas. An additional two monthly sessions for Q&A alongside the relevant self-paced classes will unlock specific tools that will also enhance your business. These live coaching calls will help you clarify, strategize, and apply personalized solutions in a community setting. A combination of coaches and experts have your back. So does your community. We mentor each other to be stronger, to collaborate and grow together.

Ask yourself…

Are you tired of working for someone else, and doing work that does not challenge you… and that someone else dumps on your desk?

Do you have a calling to follow? Creative or heart-centred imperatives to contribute to the world or humanity?

Do you want to build a future based on your own ideas, your own directions, and your principles so that freedom of choice and of thought and of lifestyle are yours?

Then, put up your hand and ASK.

What do you want to know?