“Notre Dame is at an exciting crossroads when you consider the intersection of the Gigot Center’s mission, the foresight of establishing Innovation Park, the cross-curriculum ESTEEM master’s program, and the support of the commercialization of the University’s research, among other factors,” Bernel said. “We share the following mantra with our entrepreneurship students: Start small, think big, and dream bigger. This will be the Gigot Center’s guiding polestar.”
In 2001, Bernel established Bernel Investment Management LLC, an industrial real estate investment and management firm that specializes in early stage venture investments. He has been actively involved in a number of industrial real estate ventures, new startups and venture turnarounds in the United States and internationally.
Bernel has taught and designed courses in management, strategy, entrepreneurship and executive education for Mendoza College. He, along with former Gigot Center Director James Davis, created the IrishAngels network that currently lists more than 200 members who support the Gigot Center’s mission of education, launching new businesses and social entrepreneurship.
He serves on the Mendoza Graduate Alumni Board and the Gigot Center Advisory Board and is a former board member of numerous for-profit and not-for-profit businesses. Bernel earned his executive MBA degree from Notre Dame in 1994. He was recognized as the 2002 Distinguished EMBA Alumni Award recipient.
The Gigot Center was established in 1998 with the mission of providing an academically rigorous business education for graduate and undergraduate students interested in entrepreneurship. In keeping with the Notre Dame mission, the center offers a number of programs aimed at furthering social entrepreneurship, including the microventuring certificate program that focuses on wealth creation through small startup ventures. Gigot also conducts the annual Notre Dame Business Plan Competitions, which award more than $100,000 in prizes to top winning teams from among 100-plus entries.