Having attended Bio International 2017, it was a great pleasure to represent Mississauga, as part of the Ontario Pavilion at one of the largest BIO conventions in the world.
Many companies were in attendance this year, including: France, Belgium, Russia, the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Hong Kong to name a few. All were competing directly with Canada, Ontario and Mississauga to attract life sciences businesses. I made sure to take the time to learn more about their sectors, and had meetings with two of the top and robust clusters in the United States, Boston and New Jersey. It is important to learn best practices in the industry to leverage our value proposition and make Mississauga’s life sciences sector recognized on a global scale.
I also had the opportunity to attend educational sessions on: genetics and personalised medicine; gamification theory as a tool to treat chronic and mental illness disorders; and how artificial intelligence will change and transform in modern healthcare delivery.
During the Conference, Mayor Crombie hosted a roundtable with business and community leaders to launch our new five -year Mississauga Life Sciences Strategy. This strategy will guide the Economic Development Office’s ongoing efforts to identify new opportunities to strengthen Mississauga’s competitive advantage in the life sciences industry. The strategy was well received and prompted some great discussions about the opportunities and challenges within the sector.
While at the breakfast, BioTalent Canada discussed their new initiative to develop university and college curriculum in GMP to ensure that new graduates have the skill set to meet the demands of life sciences businesses. Rob Henderson of BioTalent Canada spoke at length about how Mississauga’s new life sciences strategy dovetailed with the industry’s push for talent development, which is also in alignment with our Strategy goals.
Mississauga is home to over 450 life sciences companies, employing roughly 22,000 people. We’re the 2nd largest life sciences cluster in Canada by employment, right behind Toronto. Life sciences are one of the four main sectors we focus on as a city for economic development. With significant growth projected for the life sciences sector, it is imperative that we are at this conference to support our local Mississauga-based companies, as well as showcase to the world what we have to offer.