Published March 6, 2023

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre Helps Newcomers Succeed In Business 

XcelerateNOW Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre

This Barrie 360 content is brought to you by Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre

Moving to a new country is a huge step. But taking the leap also means you have the strength and motivation to welcome change and make a difference. Both of these are key characteristics of any entrepreneur.

To help nurture these qualities and empower those moving from abroad to Simcoe County, the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College in partnership with the County of Simcoe has launched the XcelerateNOW program and Start Now workshop series. 

Their next event, designed specifically for Newcomer, Refugee and Immigrant entrepreneurs, will take place on March 30.

Xcelerate Now Start Now Event

To learn more about the workshop, as well as the XcelerateNOW program and Start Now series, keep reading.


On March 30, 2023, HBEC's XcelerateNOW program will launch the next Start Now workshop. This workshop will focus on business etiquette & personal branding.


Date: Thursday, March 30, 2022
Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
Location: Sandbox Centre - 24 Maple Avenue, Downtown Barrie, ON
Cost: FREE

Topic: Business Etiquette & Personal Branding

In the upcoming panel discussion, Jan Bailey, a specialist in personal branding, will delve into the essential tools and strategies for effectively communicating, negotiating, building, and sustaining customer relationships. All of which are vital skills for enhancing both business success and personal confidence. 

Jan has 25 years of experience in broadcasting, acting, and adult education. Public speaking is always something she believed could be fun. This led her to found Ovation, a company that specializes in speaker training.

During the event, you’ll also hear from Miguel Abascal, founder of, and Rosa Diaz, Founder of Road Map to Canada Immigration Consulting Inc. Both Miguel and Rosa are immigrant entrepreneurs with unique journeys as business owners. They'll discuss how they overcame various challenges and reflect on what they wish they knew when starting out. They'll also provide tips on how to be an effective "talking" business card when interacting with others.

The workshop will be followed by a networking event with multicultural food, as well as a culturally diverse Marketplace with vendors and products from local and immigrant-owned businesses. If you would like to continue networking after the event, stick around for the Sandbox Centre Social Hour, which begins at 4 PM. 

Content from the workshop will also be distributed on Bernick Online. This will ensure that the XcelerateNOW series continues to be a useful tool for current and future Newcomers, Refugees, and Immigrants. 

To sign up for the next Start Now workshop, head over to the event site.


XcelerateNOW will connect Newcomer, Refugee and Immigrant entrepreneurs to:

  • Resources
  • Supports
  • Events
  • Activities
  • Mentorship
  • Networking
  • Funding opportunities

The goal of the program is to address gaps in service and support for Newcomers in Simcoe County’s growing ecosystem while strengthening our community of entrepreneurs.

Xcelerate Now Start Now Event

“When you move abroad you are faced with different challenges, new job, new culture, new home and new life. Newcomers, Immigrants and Refugees are motivated, strong, brave and active, but they have to remember that they don’t have to do this alone, as there is a whole community and resources available out there that will help them feel supported during this new beginning,” Cecilia Doucette, International and Newcomer Entrepreneurship Coordinator at HBEC. 

Cecilia Doucette is heading the XcelerateNOW program with Sara Bentham, Director of HBEC and with the support of community partners including:

  • Georgian College
  • County of Simcoe
  • The Town of Innisfil
  • Invest Barrie
  • South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre
  • Small Business Centre for Barrie, Simcoe County, and Orillia
  • Nottawasaga Futures

Cecilia continues, “XcelerateNOW is a great program that will help Newcomers, Immigrants, and Refugees connect with our community but will also guide them through their entrepreneurial experience. Simcoe County is a region that has a rich business ecosystem and is always welcoming, this is what is needed when they face new challenges as they make this region their home away from home” 

Start Now Series

A major element of XcelerateNOW is the Start Now Series. This Series, which is funded by the County of Simcoe, includes a collection of workshops and networking events that address topics specific to business owners who are new to Canada. 

In addition to providing information and support, the Series will help Newcomers transition more smoothly to existing programs. This includes programs like: 

  • Further Faster - a 7-week training program that helps entrepreneurs develop their business whether they are just starting out or looking to grow an existing venture. 
  • Ask an Expert - access a diverse network of experts to ask questions about your business and entrepreneurship. 
  • Job Finding Club for Immigrants - connect with mentors in your field of business to access guidance and support. 
  • The Sandbox CNNX Groups - experts share information on building a thriving business culture, attracting talent, supporting your organization, and more. 
  • XcelerateHER - resources and support for women entrepreneurs. 
  • AYBB - Accelerate Your Black Business provides resources, support, and mentorship for black business owners. 
  • DMZ Innisfil - one of Canada’s largest business incubators for emerging tech startups.
  • Other existing mentorship programs

Both the XcelerateNOW program and Start Now workshop series provide valuable resources, support, and mentorship to Newcomers, Refugees, and Immigrants looking to start or grow their business journey in Simcoe County. By fostering entrepreneurship and offering targeted training and networking events, the program helps bridge gaps in services and support while strengthening the community of entrepreneurs in the region. 

If you're a Newcomer looking to enhance your business skills and connect with like-minded individuals, be sure to check out the upcoming Start Now workshop on March 30 and explore the resources available through XcelerateNOW and its partners.

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