Author: Trevor McPherson, President & CEO of Mississauga Board of Trade
Let’s face it – the current business and economic climate is downright dizzying. It’s difficult to be optimistic with so many clouds circling above us. In fact, there’s a buzzword to describe what we’re going through and it’s making the rounds in corporate boardrooms and at global thinktanks: the polycrisis. Historian Adam Tooze says this is when economic and non-economic shocks” are entangled “all the way down”. No doubt, many of the challenges we face have been years in the making. There are no quick fixes! No overnight solutions. All of that said, there remains tremendous opportunity for exponential growth and prosperity in Mississauga over the coming decade, but only if we act together to advance a shared economic agenda.
As we approach the three-year anniversary of the onset of the pandemic, it can feel like the multitude of economic and business challenges simply keep mounting, with endless uncertainty having become the status quo. With everything from labour and housing market shortages, to rising interest rates, supply chain disruptions and the economic impacts of the conflict in Ukraine, it’s difficult to think of a time when there have been this many contributing factors weighing on the minds of today’s business leaders. I haven’t even mentioned climate change or the continued threat of COVID-19 and its impacts on society and business. All of it has led renowned U.S. economist Larry Summers to proclaim, “…we’ve got the most complex, disparate, and cross-cutting set of challenges that I think I can remember in the 40 years I’ve been following this stuff.”
We add to this a potential self-fulfilling prophecy that we are poised to enter a recessionary period through 2023. Central banks have the difficult task of walking a fine line on monetary policy in their effort to slow inflation while not triggering a monumental downturn. Many businesses are already becoming more conservative in how they are managing risk. Increasingly, firms are “hunkering down” by curtailing expenditures, slowing or altogether freezing hiring (or worse yet, downsizing) and hitting the pause button on new business activities. For individual businesses, the current environment of extreme ambiguity and volatility has the potential to stifle a critical element of long-term business success: future planning and making regular investments in things like technology, innovation, and top talent. That’s where our future growth will come from!
Which communities and regions have an outsized shot at coming out ahead? It’s hard to bet against Mississauga. We possess a highly educated and diverse workforce. We punch above our weight in areas such as life sciences and health care technologies, fintech, cleantech, aerospace, food processing, information technology, music, film and television, and so much more. It’s a recipe for success, but only if we work together and leverage our collective assets. It’s why I’m so excited about how MBOT’s Mississauga Economic Resiliency Group (MERG) of leading CEOs from the community are working collaboratively across 4 Leadership Tables to lay a foundation for future growth:
- Business Climate and Brand
- Talent and Workforce
- Technology, Innovation, and Productivity
- Sustainability & ESG
I’m grateful that Ken Tencer (Spyder Works), Paul Meo (NTN Bearings Canada), and Alexandra Gillespie (University of Toronto Mississauga) have volunteered to help guide this important work. Together and in collaboration with our government partners, the possibilities are limitless. Watch this space. We’re just getting started!