The City’s Economic Development Office (EDO) shared an update at today’s General Committee detailing its progress to date in supporting Mississauga businesses. The Economic Recovery Plan Implementation Update provides insights into the 42 actions identified in the City’s Economic Recovery Plans for Small Business and Broader Industry.
Approved by Council on September 23, 2020, the Small Business Economic Recovery Plan and the Broader Industry Economic Recovery Plan outline the City’s efforts to support Mississauga’s small businesses and broader industry sectors including Advanced Manufacturing, Financial Services, Information and Communications Technology, Life Sciences, Smart Logistics and others.
“There is no denying that our business community, in particular our small businesses, have faced a disproportionate burden during the pandemic. We recognize their sacrifices, and as a City we are doing everything we can to help them recover,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “From helping businesses embrace digital technology to strongly advocating to our federal and provincial counterparts for meaningful relief and investment, we are fighting for Mississauga businesses at every turn.”
From the onset of the pandemic, Mississauga’s EDO moved quickly to respond to the urgent needs of the business community by delivering support, programs and services. As the focus shifted to recovery, the EDO team worked with the City’s Economic Resilience Task Force, which was appointed by Council to provide input and help shape necessary priorities and actions.
“The one constant in this pandemic is change. As such, we’ve tailored our recovery response every step of the way to reflect the evolving needs of our business community,” said Andrew Whittemore, Commissioner of Planning and Building. “While our recovery efforts must adapt, our goal of achieving sustained, economic prosperity for all remains steadfastly unchanged.”
As of August 31, 2021, Mississauga’s small business community has benefited from recovery plan programs and initiatives such as:
- One-on-one free business consultations and expert advisory services that have helped 595 business owners access financial support, implement health and safety guidelines and pivot their business operations.
- Digital Mainstreet which saw EDO’s Digital Squad (in partnership with the Government of Ontario and Ontario Business Improvement Area Associations) help more than 240 businesses use the internet to reach new and existing customers.
- ShopHere Mississauga and #MississaugaMade (in partnership with Tourism Mississauga). Through ShopHere Mississauga more than 870 independent businesses and artists accessed resources to develop and launch an online store at no cost. More than 700 businesses are currently being promoted on the #MississaugaMade website.
- Starter Company Plus and Summer Company – provincially-funded programs delivered by EDO. The Starter Company Plus program provided 18 grants and helped 37 new start-ups and existing small businesses and musicians. Grants were awarded to 12 entrepreneurial students as part of the Summer Company program to help them launch and operate a summer business.
In addition, the EDO team collaborated with the City’s Planning and Building Department on the temporary patio program and temporary Outdoor Business Permit By-law to help small businesses continue their operations when possible during lockdowns.
“Mississauga has an incredibly diverse business community with more than 98,000 businesses across a variety of sectors,” said Bonnie Brown, Director, Economic Development Office. “By creating two economic recovery plans – one for small businesses and one for broader industry – we’ve been able to prioritize the actions that will help Mississauga businesses of all sizes reset and recover. Despite the constantly evolving nature of this pandemic, we’ve made significant progress in moving these plans forward over the last year.”
Progress from the Broader Industry Economic Recovery Plan includes:
- Business investment attraction and retention – EDO continued to generate and secure business investment during the pandemic which exceeded targets in 2020 across key business sectors. Business investment is on track to exceed targets again in 2021.
- Sector support – One-on-one consultations and working groups were held with our key sectors to address impacts related to COVID-19. As of August 31, 2021, EDO delivered 12 sector-focused events including equity and diversity in life sciences and COVID-19 impacts on the aerospace sector.
- B2B connections – EDO led the development of a B2B platform for businesses to crowdsource best practices and build strategic partnerships in response to COVID-19 with more than 75 industry users.
- Workforce development – EDO has launched a new Training, Hiring and Talent portal to help address local workforce challenges by facilitating collaboration between post-secondary institutions and local industry and connecting businesses to workforce development programs and funding.
- Equity and diversity collaborative – Increased focus on inclusive recovery initiatives such as Women in Mississauga Manufacturing and Life Sciences Equity and Diversity Collaborative aimed at increasing the gender balance and diversity and inclusion of underrepresented populations in Mississauga’s workforce.
- Entrepreneurship and innovation – Continuing to position Mississauga as a global innovation centre by developing a business case for the Downtown Innovation Hub and prioritizing investment opportunities aimed at building the Lakeview Innovation District Activation Project.
Both the Small Business and Broader Industry Recovery Plans prioritized extensive outreach and communication efforts, including business engagement roundtables, a COVID-19 Business Support web page accessed by 24,800 users and a COVID-19 Business Relief Portal with over 400 business resources, relief programs and incentives.
As Mississauga’s economic recovery progresses, the City’s EDO team, with the support of Council and key partners, will continue to advance actions supporting sustained and inclusive economic prosperity across the city.
Visit the COVID-19 Resource Centre for more information about Mississauga’s economic recovery efforts.