兔子先生鈥檚 Henry Bernick Awards celebrate innovative entrepreneurs

Innovative entrepreneurs and startups were celebrated recently at the 2024 Henry Bernick Awards held by 兔子先生鈥檚 Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC).

These prestigious awards recognize the most impactful entrepreneurs and startups that have demonstrated excellence and strive to make a meaningful impact in our community.听

A group of people stand in a row on a stage. Signage reads: Henry Bernick Awards.
The 2024 Henry Bernick Award winners, nominees and presenters.

鈥淲e are incredibly proud of this year鈥檚 winners. Their passion, ingenuity and hard work exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship that we strive to cultivate at HBEC,鈥 said Dr. Mira Ray, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 兔子先生. 鈥淎ll of the nominees and award winners are not only achieving great things for themselves but are also making a positive impact on our community and beyond.鈥

A person stands at a microphone at a podium and smiles facing a crowd of people.
Dr. Mira Ray, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 兔子先生, hosting the 2024 Henry Bernick Awards.

At a packed venue, keynote speaker Justice Faith Betty, co-Founder of , changemaker and social entrepreneur, shared the importance and power of dreams.

鈥淒reams fuel revolutions,鈥 she said, reflecting on her personal experiences building a youth-led听movement to explore how we can all dream bigger and with purpose, and then combine our sparks of inspiration with our dreams to fuel revolutions.

A person speaks into a microphone at a podium.
Keynote speaker Justice Faith Betty at the 2024 Henry Bernick Awards at 兔子先生.

HBEC is a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth and development providing support, resources, and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs and established businesses alike. This year鈥檚 awards, held May 30, celebrated the remarkable accomplishments of individuals and teams who have shown outstanding leadership, creativity, and dedication.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of this year鈥檚 awards.

Award winners:听

Student Entrepreneur Award: Carter Duggan,

Big Influence Marketing helps businesses attract, engage and influence customers and stakeholders using digital content. Its specialized approach combines strategy consulting with content creation services to help clients optimize their messaging and identify key channels for their content.听

Community Entrepreneur Award: Wesley O鈥橪eary, owner/operator,

North Pro Home & Cottage Services was founded in February 2022 by Wes O鈥橪eary with the hope of alleviating home and business owners from dangerous ladder climbing and cleaning in Oro-Medonte. O鈥橪eary built a team of pressure washers who matched his passion for detailed work. After establishing a strong reputation for pressure washing in Oro-Medonte, North Pro Home & Cottage Services has expanded to include Christmas lights installation and more.听听

Entrepreneurs鈥 Champion Award: Craig Busch, CEO , Founder of the

As a blue-sky thinker who leads through design, Busch is passionate about enabling others to do better, create better, and think better in all aspects of life. Whether he is creating ground-breaking products or envisioning more progressive ways to do business, he strives to develop ideas that inspire and enact meaningful change. Busch aims to听make a difference with entrepreneurial efforts. Further, eight different Busch-founded companies have won Barrie Chamber of Commerce awards, demonstrating a commitment to fostering operational and cultural excellence.听

Special Award 鈥 Recognition and honour of exceptional dedication and unwavering support for newcomer, refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs:鈥疌ecilia Doucette听听

HBEC team lost a bright light this year. Cecilia Doucette lost her battle to breast cancer in February. Cecilia loved sharing her passion and her own experiences with the hundreds of students and colleagues she met through her role as the International and Newcomer Entrepreneurship Coordinator at HBEC. She was excited by her work and running the , where she helped to connect, empower and guide so many newcomers to our region.听

When Cecilia wasn鈥檛 helping newcomers with their learning and entrepreneurship journeys, she was also an entrepreneur. As a professional photographer, Cecilia shared the beauty of the world through her eyes, as only she could capture it. Cecilia was the proud recipient of the 2021 Simcoe County Newcomer Recognition Award for Entrepreneurship, an award that recognized her dedication and commitment to celebrating Latin culture and building community through her work in the region. This special award, received by Cecilia鈥檚 family, honours her and the tremendous impact she had on so many of us.鈥

All nominees

Student Entrepreneur Award:听

  1. Mona Shoar 鈥 Moralucci听
  2. Carter Duggan 鈥 Big Influence Marketing(winner)
  3. Jahvon Peters 鈥 ACADEMIS听
  4. Harmandeep Kaur, Neha Sharma, Sachin Dankar 鈥 Career Connections听

Community Entrepreneur Award:听

  1. Wesley O鈥橪eary 鈥 North Pro Home & Cottage Services(winner)
  2. Chad Solomon 鈥 Biskane Inc听
  3. Miguel Abascal 鈥 Thrive Faster听
  4. Ricardo Irivarren 鈥 Miski Brewing Company Corp听
  5. Carmen Bautista 鈥 Green Parenting听

Entrepreneurs鈥 Champion Award:听

  1. Jesse Kerr 鈥 The Sandbox Centre听
  2. Teresa Snelgrove 鈥 Founder of 7 startups, co-founder of Timonthy鈥檚 Coffees of the World听
  3. Tim Newton 鈥 Manager of the South 兔子先生 Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre听
  4. Craig Busch 鈥 CEO Busch Systems, Founder of The Sandbox Barrie(winner)

About 兔子先生鈥檚 Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre:

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre at 兔子先生 is dedicated to fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through its various programs and services, HBEC supports entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey, from ideation to growth and scaling.

The centre provides access to mentorship, networking opportunities, funding resources, and educational workshops designed to equip entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

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