Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre opens at Georgian; college celebrates $40 million raised for Power of Education campaign.

Students, staff, members of the community, as well as philanthropist Henry Bernick and his family, gathered at the Barrie Campus of Georgian College today to officially open the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre.

It was one of many exciting ribbon-cutting celebrations that have taken place at Georgian recently, as the college continues to grow and evolve its facilities and programs for the benefit of students and employers alike.

“Through the support of generous donors like Mr. Bernick, I am thrilled to announce that $40 million has been raised for the Power of Education fundraising campaign, allowing Georgian to progress and continue to offer the best possible education for our students,” said Brian Tamblyn, president and CEO of Georgian College. “Without the support of visionaries like Mr. Bernick and the rest of the community, it would not have been possible to move forward with the centre, or indeed many of Georgian’s recent accomplishments.”

Bernick, one of Barrie’s first land developers, donated $1.5 million to launch the centre and establish the Ontario college system’s first $1-million endowed chair.

Over the last six years, donors have helped the college build the Sadlon Centre for Health and Wellness and Centre for Sustainable Technologies at the Barrie Campus; new permanent campuses to serve students from the South Georgian Bay and Muskoka regions; and a Boating Centre for Excellence at the Robbert Hartog Midland Campus. Donors have also supported major technological upgrades to the Great Lakes International Marine Training and Research Centre at the Owen Sound Campus and donated millions of dollars to students directly through awards and scholarships.

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre is the latest donor-supported project that will benefit Georgian students and burgeoning entrepreneurs by teaching skills that will help to increase opportunities for self-employment and to create new businesses within the region.

Bernick believes that in the next generation, everyone will need to be an entrepreneur to some degree to achieve career stability and success.

“Jobs with pensions, benefits and security that last the length of a career are increasingly rare,” said Bernick. “Entrepreneurship education is a way for our youth to invest in their future.”

A variety of programs and services will be offered through the centre, including two full-time programs and several FastTrac™ programs through the world-renowned Kauffman Foundation. Georgian is the first post-secondary institution in Canada to partner with the foundation, whose mission is to advance educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.

More than 70 per cent of businesses in Barrie employ fewer than five people, and the same situation applies throughout the Simcoe, Muskoka and Grey economies. To encourage continued growth in this area, Tamblyn announced the launch of a second phase of the Power of Education campaign to raise another $25 million, with $20 million designated for entrepreneurship studies. The remaining $5 million will fund awards and scholarships and other key priorities.

Tamblyn thanked Bernick and all Georgian donors for their vision and leadership in support of Georgian’s Power of Education campaign to ensure Georgian students have the best facilities and technologies right in their own backyards.

For more information on the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre and the educational opportunities it offers, visit

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Media contacts:

Power of Education fundraising campaign Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre
Lisa Eveleigh                                                                                       Gary Boydell
Executive Director                                                                           Program Co-ordinator
Office of Development & Alumni Relations                          School of Business
705-728-1968, ext. 1212                                                                 705-728-1968, ext. 1488

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Cutline: Georgian College Board of Governors member Chris Gariepy (left), Henry and Esther Bernick (centre), and Georgian President and CEO Brian Tamblyn officially open the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre.


Background - Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre

·         Georgian’s focus on entrepreneurship stems from the college’s strategic plan, Vision 2015, which emphasizes entrepreneurship, innovation and small and medium enterprises as common learning experiences that apply across many academic programs. Entrepreneurship will become a model and philosophy that will be integrated throughout Georgian’s programming.

Program offerings include:

  • General education entrepreneurial studies course available to all students
  • Entrepreneurship courses integrated into discipline-specific, non-business diploma programs – because more and more grads are starting their own businesses
  • Two full-time programs: Two-year Business – Entrepreneurship diploma program and one-year Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management graduate certificate program
  • Continuing Education programming aimed at entrepreneurs at varying stages of business development
  • Distributed/online learning for the convenience of entrepreneurs who cannot travel to campus

Services and resources include:

  • Business coach and mentorship programs
  • Georgian College version of Dragons’ Den competition
  • Learning Resource Centre
  • Research and internship programs
  • Social and community projects including Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), which encourages students to form teams and apply business concepts learned in the classroom to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need
  • Speaker’s corner, featuring guest lectures from successful, local entrepreneurs

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