Local entrepreneurs spark innovation and bring prosperity to the community. Cities need to provide them with support, resources, and tools to succeed.
Small businesses represent 99 percent of the business community in Mississauga and are a key economic driver. The City of Mississauga is taking the lead in creating a robust innovation ecosystem to support them by providing appropriate resources, tools, services, and space for entrepreneurs and innovators to start-up or scale-up.
Last month, the City launched IDEA, the Innovation District of Mississauga and a new virtual innovation hub — IDEAmississauga.ca — was also recently launched to make it easier for start-ups to connect with service providers and assets they need to help grow their business. The new site features an interactive concierge tool that enables the client to create a customized list of resources for their unique business needs and an interactive Asset Map that aids users in finding innovation assets and information on vital services.
The City of Mississauga delivered the first IDEA Scale-up Program that supported innovative and inclusive companies in growing and overcoming barriers and challenges to growing their sales and impact. “IDEA Mississauga does not represent one specific location in Mississauga — rather, it represents the city’s entire ecosystem made up of industry, government, education, and providers of space and programs that support innovation.” says Bonnie Brown, Director, Economic Development, City of Mississauga. To highlight the success of the program, the City is proud to showcase four winning participants and their innovative businesses:
General Manager, Xiera
Abraham developed the first commercial auto-tuner for fuzzy logic controllers, a type of AI controller, which is 35 percent more energy efficient, saves on raw materials, and produces less air and noise pollution. The idea came from a collaboration between two PhDs working in the field of AI, control engineering, and software — Dr. Talib Janabi and Dr. Alain Marsman. Being a small company trying to sell to big businesses means many bureaucratic hoops to jump through to get a sale. Logistical, knowledge resources and connections to various clients and investors through the IDEA Program helped Abraham move forward.
Kristina Knox and Stephanie Tien
After one of Arbre’s founders acquired a painful scalp sunburn on a summer beach trip, they started to investigate ways to protect sensitive scalps from the sun. Finding nothing on the market, they set out to create a sustainable and functional product to fill that gap. Figuring out how to access the necessary resources to start a company at the beginning of COVID-19 was a big challenge, as was trying to build their prototype and access lab equipment to conduct product testing. Through the Scale-up Program, Abre’s founders learned valuable foundational business knowledge for starting a company plan to launch their first product this summer.
IDEA Mississauga does not represent one specific location in Mississauga — rather, it represents the city’s entire ecosystem made up of industry, government, education, and providers of space and programs that support innovation.
Angad Singh and Prabhpahul Singh
Co-Founder, Business & Sales, TheLeanSuite and Co-Founder, Product & Technology, TheLeanSuite respectively.
The founders of TheLeanSuite understand the link between employee engagement and productivity. Their Digital Suggestion Platform offers a fast and easy way for employees to voice their ideas and suggestions and for managers to provide feedback and act on them. Finding creative ways to minimize expenses while delivering on the platform’s MVP was a challenge, as was the need to keep scalability and quality in mind. Participating in the IDEA Program enabled the developers to gain valuable sales knowledge and make important connections to bring their idea to market.
CEO & Co-Founder, Artcryption
Artcryption is an art-tech platform that uses blockchain technology to help creators and artists manage, protect, and monetize their assets and intellectual property in a secure way without the need for intermediaries. It was developed by an IP lawyer and art agent, whose clients deal with copyright infringements or buying works that are not authentic. Access to IDEA’s virtual community of support systems, that included workshops, talks, meetings with investors and mentors, and feedback, helped the founder to overcome the challenges of networking during COVID-19 restrictions and getting people to understand the technology.