Cornwall Ontario – The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre celebrates 20 years of servicing entrepreneurs this year.
The Centre provides help to entrepreneurs on a wide variety of issues and while things have certainly changed over the past two decades, many of the questions are the same.
“The most common questions are specific to how to register a business and for the most part, the process really hasn’t changed that much,” says Candy Pollard, Business Consultant. “Many entrepreneurs are also looking for help with their business plans and marketing ideas, and that is where the landscape has changed.”
The Business Enterprise Centre was opened in 1997 by the City’s Economic Development Department, and funded in part by the Government of Ontario. At the time, it was known as the Small Business Self-Help Centre and the first business consultant was Mark Kulick, a well known and respected member of the business community.
“Mark had a very warm personality which was backed by a strong background in industry and business,” says Bob Peters, Division Manager, Economic Development. “He was able to quickly establish the Centre as the go-to place for entrepreneurs looking for advice on how to start a business.”
The Self-Help Centre provided one-on-one consulting sessions in addition to organizing seminars and providing a resource library that included a computer workstation. The Centre also formed partnerships with area organizations such the Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures that exist to this day.
“The Business Enterprise Centre continues to offer an important service to small business owners, and people looking to start a business for the very first time,” says Lezlie Strasser, Executive Manager of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce. ” Small business is the life blood of our community, and helping small business owners is an investment that makes our economy stronger.”
After Mr. Kulick’s retirement in 2006, Jason Gadbois and Alyssa Blais would add their personal stamp on the office before Candy Pollard took over in 2011.
“There have certainly been highlights throughout the years, including 5 successful years of running the ARTpreneur Conference, and launching a stand-alone website in 2008,” notes Ms. Pollard. “Our Summer Company and Starter Company programs have also helped dozens of entrepreneurs get off the ground with $180,000 in funding over the past three years alone.”
The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre is one of 57 small business enterprise centres across the Province which help make up the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).
The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre is located at 100 Water Street East (Cornwall Civic Complex) and can be contacted by phone at 613-933-0074 or online.