Economic Development News & Insight


The Higher ED Blog: Celebrating industry-leading women from University of Waterloo’s professional development and Masters programs at this year’s EDAC conference

Meg Ronson / August 28, 2017

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The Higher ED Blog: Celebrating industry-leading women from University of Waterloo’s professional development and Masters programs at this year’s EDAC conference

This week’s article is one of pride.  

University of Waterloo’s Economic Development Program is proud of each and every one of its participants over the years, and never are we happier than when our current or former students become educators themselves.  

This year in Niagara Falls, many wonderful presenters and panelists will discuss the latest advances in the field at the Economic Developers Association of Canada annual conference. Today we showcase four talks being done by former and current students of our professional development and Masters programs, and how these accomplished women are advancing the profession. 


Bonnie Brown is the Manager of Sector Development and Economic Partnerships at City of Mississauga. She received her Economic Development certificate back in 2002. She will be discussing her involvement in the development of a cutting-edge life sciences cluster in Mississauga. 

It takes a strong and engaged ecosystem to build a life sciences cluster, and was proven in the development of Canada’s first municipal life sciences cluster strategy.  Through extensive research, consultation and industry collaboration, the City of Mississauga launched a Life Sciences Cluster Strategy that will propel the growth and sustainability of the sector over the next five years.  

Through this session, you will learn about the importance of stakeholder engagement in developing a life sciences strategy that will impact an entire industry.  This session will also cover lessons learned and best practices in strategy development and offer a practical understanding of cluster development for your community.   

Gaining trust and commitment from key industry stakeholders is key. Come learn how the City of Mississauga was able to unify, strengthen and grow Canada’s second largest life sciences cluster. 

5 Year Mississauga Life Sciences Cluster Strategy – Connecting the Innovation
Sunday, September 10th, 1:15 pm 


Eleanor Miclette is the Manager of Economic Development and Community Services for the County of Northern Lights. She is receiving her Certificate in Economic Development at the EDAC conference this year! Congratulations, Eleanor!  

Like many rural communities, she hears from her business owners firsthand the struggle of doing business in a rural community. Phrases like “too rural,” “too remote,” and “out of the way” are commonplace.  

Research tells us that 80% of growth comes from what we already have within our regions. Building capacity, growing our strength from within, and enabling our entrepreneurs to succeed has become our main focus.  

In North Western Alberta, they have learned to work collaboratively to see growth happen from within. National award-winning regional partnership projects such as, Move-up Magazine, Peace Oil Sands Conference, and Paddle the Peace have all started here, each with the goals to grow capacity, enhance quality of life and expand markets. What started as a local project to promote thinking local and acting global changed into a provincial success story with 

Think Local, Act Global: Creative Partnerships to Boost Community Economic Development
Monday, September 11th, 11 am 


Alison Anderson is the founder and CEO of Successionmatching, and attended EDP’s Year 1 and 2 back in 2010. She is a passionate data analysis professional dedicated to helping EDOs understand their small businesses’ succession challenges, and take action!  

In a culture that often dramatizes entrepreneurship as a quick and easy path to fame and fortune, we need to do our best to give youth realistic paths for long-term entrepreneurial success. Only ten percent of startups are successful after five years, but seventy percent of people who buy a business succeed during their first five years. 

September is a perfect time to celebrate new beginnings as many Canadians look to take their first steps into business. SuccessionMatching wants to change the conversation and set new entrepreneurs up for success.  

By using data from the website, the company is able to identify pain points that individuals interested in buying a business and business owners experience throughout their transition process. Alison’s presentation will include an overview of the data and how economic development professionals can better attract international investment and youth to their communities.  

Youth Retention and Investment Attraction through Business Transitions
Sunday, September 10th, 1:15 pm 


Gillian Hatton is the founder of Location Strategies Limited, and will be starting her Masters of Economic Development and Innovation with the University of Waterloo this fall. At the EDAC conference, she will be sharing her knowledge of disruptive tech in advanced manufacturing, and how we can all get on board!

New technologies are driving the evolution of higher-value added manufacturing. Additive manufacturing (3-D printing), advanced robotics, nanomaterials, the automation of knowledge work, to the ‘digitization of everything’ have the potential to disrupt existing markets and to create billions of dollars of economic value. These technologies will be significant components of future economic growth through providing higher quality jobs and driving innovation. Communities that do not embrace these trends risk being left behind.

Her seminar will demonstrate ways in which your community can capitalize on new advanced manufacturing technologies to enable its future prosperity. Key takeaways from the seminar will be:

  • The important technologies that are changing the face of manufacturing
  • How your community can align its assets with these technologies
  • Case studies demonstrating best practice with key takeaways for your community
  • Understand how to leverage your region’s attributes to take advantage of new and emerging technology trends
  • Provide the foundation for a roadmap to a successful and sustainable advanced manufacturing strategy

New Advanced Manufacturing Technologies – How Communities Can Capitalize
Monday, September 11th, 11 am


As always, EDP is looking forward to seeing their students in action this September! Stop by our booth to say hi and talk about our next year of programming! And if you haven’t yet, check out our post-conference two-day seminar on value-added agriculture here. 


About the conference 

The Economic Developers’ Association of Canada is hosting its 49th annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario from September 9th to 12th at the Marriott on the Falls. This year’s theme is Canada 150+: New Beginnings in Economic Development. 

About the author 

Meg Ronson is the editor of Higher ED, Outreach Manager for the Economic Development Program and Masters candidate of Economic Development and Innovation at University of Waterloo. Her research involves studying credit unions and co-operative businesses as potential tools for strengthening and diversifying local economies, and is currently engaged in a project investigating co-operative solutions to the small business succession issue in Ontario and Canada. 

About the series 

Higher ED: Insights for the Next Economy is a platform for students, guest speakers, staff and faculty of the University of Waterloo’s professional and graduate economic development programs to share knowledge with the field at large. The series takes works destined for an academic audience and reworks them into a fresh, easy-to-digest blog article. 

Established in 1987, the Master of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) is one of the only graduate programs in Canada focused exclusively on economic development. Students learn economic development theory and practice, and are exposed to leading edge knowledge, tools, and approaches to address contemporary challenges in cities and communities across Canada and internationally. 

The Economic Development Program is a nationally-accredited provider of professional training. It delivers certification programs and seminars that offer a deep understanding of the Canadian context in a convenient block format. Peer learning is combined with informative lectures and practical case studies to provide dynamic instruction that is beneficial for junior and senior-level practitioners. 

Social media 

LinkedIn: University of Waterloo Economic Development
Facebook: Master of Economic Development and Innovation
Twitter: UWaterloo EcDev 

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