IDEA Mississauga – Supporting and driving an entrepreneurial ecosystem
This panel will discuss the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mississauga, with a focus on IDEA Mississauga. IDEA Mississauga, launched in February 2022, is a collaborative approach to entrepreneurship building led by the City of Mississauga’s economic development office. This panel will share the research undertaken with community partners, the outcomes of that research (Entrepreneur and Innovation Report 2019), what has been implemented since that time, and where we need to grow. We will set the stage with the background and research conducted, share the implementation over the last two years and some of our future plans and will discuss opportunities for growth compared to similar cities nationally and internationally, along with the challenges and roadblocks we have faced.
About the Speakers
Donna Heslin is a life long learner, a mom and a constant driver of collaboration and innovation. In 2015 she founded ICUBE, U of T Mississauga’s entrepreneurship hub, and is now leading the Entrepreneurship and Innovation portfolio for the City of Mississauga. Donna has over 20 years of experience in roles related to higher education, entrepreneurship, economic development, external relations, experiential learning and executive education. Donna holds a BA in sociology, a BSc in biology, an MSc in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and a PhD in Higher Education from the University of Toronto
Bonnie Brown is of Director of Economic Development for the City of Mississauga. Bonnie is responsible for leading the implementation of the City's economic development strategy ensuring that Mississauga harnesses its assets to drive the next generation of economic growth and prosperity.
Bonnie has held a number of progressive leadership roles since joining the City of Mississauga. These include Strategic Leader for the City Manager’s Office, Manager of Cultural Planning, and Manager of Sector Development and Economic Partnerships. During her leadership roles in Economic Development, Mississauga’s Life Sciences strategy was adopted representing the first of its kind in Canada; the creation of IDEA Mississauga - a brand to promote the city’s innovation district, and the approval and establishment of IDEA Square One, an innovation hub in Mississauga’s downtown that will service entrepreneurs and scale-ups.
Bonnie holds an Honors B.A from Laurentian University, an Economic Development Certificate from the University of Waterloo, and Economic Developer Certification from the Economic Development Association of Canada and is a member of the International Economic Development Council. Throughout her leadership term in Economic Development, Bonnie and her team have been recipients of numerous international, national and provincial awards and recognition for their work to support the growth of businesses and a strong and sustainable economy.