Innovation Ecosystems: Fueling Progress through Collaboration

The Institute of Southern Georgian Bay > News/Newsletters > Newsletter > Innovation Ecosystems: Fueling Progress through Collaboration

In this newsletter:

  • Collective Leadership – Our Design Teams
  • Main Street Meaford
  • RECON (Regional Ecosystem Collaborative, ON)
  • Habitat for Humanity SGB seeks an Executive Director

Collaboration in Motion: Meet one of TISGB’s Design Teams

We are thrilled to celebrate the exceptional individuals in our community who are spearheading our “Achieving Sustainability through a Green Economy” event coming up on October 20th – see upcoming newsletter for registration info. Comprising diverse talents and representing a range of organizations, this Design Team embodies the collaborative spirit of the Institute of Southern Georgian Bay. Together, they are responding to problems with solutions in the form of Community Conversation.

Let’s meet the members of our Design Team:

Sally Leppard (Climate Action Now Network- The Blue Mountains, TBM)
Nicole Yardy (Climate Change Specialist – Town of Collingwood)
Nicholas Cloet (Sustainability Coordinador – TBM)
Kay Schaltz (Climate Action Now Network – TBM)
Dale Biddell (TISGB Board Member, Philanthropist)
Eric Ennis (TISGB Board Member, Meaford)
Gerard Dusastre (Wasaga Beach Climate Action Team – Communications support)
Jessica Flynn (The Flynn Collaboration, The YOU Power Project)
Jeffery Fletcher (Manager of Solid Waste and Environmental Initiatives- TBM)
Kathleen Caswell (Wasaga Beach Climate Action Team, Founder)
Sean Mullin (Georgian Bay Forever)
June Porter (Councillor, TBM and TISGB Board member)
Rosalyn Morrison (TISGB Board Chair)

Each member brings a unique set of skills and expertise to the table, creating a dynamic synergy that promises impactful outcomes. With a shared passion for sustainability and a commitment to driving positive change, they are already hard at work shaping an event that will inspire, educate, and ignite discussions around building a regional sustainability table and a greener economy in SGB.

As we continue to bridge connections, share knowledge, and nurture collaborative activities within our community, we invite you to think about how you might contribute to our work in the future! This is your opportunity to be a part of the exciting journey towards a more sustainable future for Southern Georgian Bay.

Stay tuned for updates as we approach the “Achieving Sustainability through a Green Economy” event on October 20th.

Main Street Meaford

By Rob Voigt, Director of Development Services at the Municipality of Meaford

Main Street Meaford logo

Downtown Meaford is more than an economic engine, it is also a place in our hearts and minds, and part of our community’s identity.  This is why the Municipality of Meaford is currently collaborating with the community to launch a citizen-led non-profit organization focused on downtown economic opportunity and cultural vibrancy.  The organization will be based on the “Main Street” model used by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Trust for Canada.  This time-tested framework is focused on building local capacity and success in historic downtowns. 

The health, well-being, and sustainability of all our communities are linked to the success of our downtowns.  This is why Main Street Meaford welcomes citizens of all ages, businesses, and supporters from across Meaford, and the broader region, to join together as active participants and catalysts for the downtown they love. 

The Municipality has hosted a few events including a recent Idea Jamming to share information, celebrate our stories, and gather insights about building the future we want while focusing on what makes us strong, not what’s wrong.  The next steps will include doing a series of pilot projects under the four points of the framework (Design, Organization, Economic Vitality, and Promotion) before the first AGM of Main Street Meaford later this fall, when the board will be elected from its membership.

If you care about downtown Meaford and are interested in being part of this exciting project connect with the project team at [email protected] or reach out to Robert Voigt, Director of Development Services at the Municipality of Meaford, [email protected].

RECON (Regional Ecosystem Collaborative, ON)

By Brandon Houston, Founder & President of The Collingwood Foundry

RECON event in the summer 2023.

“This summer Collingwood hosted RECON, The RECON group acts as a regional ecosystem collaborative across Ontario and brings together resource providers and business support organizations that support regional business growth at federal, provincial, regional and municipal levels.

It’s a great example of the powerful cross-pollination that can happen when organizations work together and share knowledge.

The Foundry has been a part of this group since its inception and last month we were able to share what our own region of Southern Georgian Bay has going on. The Foundry, GB Accelerator, Small Business Enterprise Centre, and Community Futures South Georgian Bay spoke to the impact and support they provide to our entrepreneurs in the region.

These four organizations are only a small part of what makes up this region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. As Brad Feld describes in his book The Startup Community Way, these organizations, including others like Georgian College and our Municipalities are Actors in what makes a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. That entrepreneurial ecosystem is part of a larger innovation ecosystem that drives economic and societal impact.”

Read the full blog post here!

Community Initiatives: Habitat seeks an Executive Director

By Jack Vanderkooy, Board Chair at Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay

Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay is seeking an Executive Director to champion the vision and oversee implementation of the strategic priorities as identified by the board of directors. This affiliate has built 17 homes since 2002 and provides a unique opportunity to partner with local families to build and acquire affordable homes. Our Collingwood Restore actively sells donated used home goods to support the administrative functions of the organization and environmental reuse/recycling programs. The combined proceeds from sales, donations, gifts-in-kind, and volunteers deliver a low-cost model for future house-building programs. Plans are underway to build our 18th home in Clearview, ON. Our current strategic plan envisions growing our affiliate from our current level of building, to building multiple homes annually.

More information on Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay can be found at

Jack Vanderkooy, Board Chair at Habitat for Humanity South Georgian Bay
p 416-725-9497