Realigning Economic Development to Support Company Startup and Scale Up: A Burlington, Ontario Case Study


  • Anita Cassidy


In 2015 the City of Burlington developed a new 2015-2040 Strategic Plan: Grow Bold, which tasked Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) with supporting the start up and scale up of companies and making Burlington a start up destination. This article will outline the process that BEDC went through to better understand the local innovation ecosystem and the role that BEDC could play in supporting it. This process resulted in BEDC going from no role in supporting companies to start and grow to launching, TechPlace, Burlington’s new innovation Centre in 2017, which supported over 4,000 visitors in their entrepreneurial journey in year one of operations. 

Keywords: Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Job Creation, Startup Support, Innovation Centre

Author Biography

Anita Cassidy

Anita Cassidy is an accomplished leader responsible for the strategic direction and management of Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). Leading a team that supports companies to locate, start and grow in Burlington, Ontario. Attracting and growing over 1,000 jobs and $100 Million in ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) assessment value per year for Burlington. Anita has worked for BEDC since immigrating to Canada from Europe.  A graduate of the University of Glasgow with a B.Sc. in Earth Science, M.A. Sociology & History and an M.Sc. in Economic Development. Anita blends the perspectives of an extensive background in European and North American economic development practices to deliver unique strategies to support the growth of Burlington.