By Mario Toneguzzi
An innovative and creative use of space in a Mississauga shopping mall may well be the wave of the future in the retail and real estate industries.
Recently, Erin Mills Town Centre became what’s believed to be Canada’s first shopping centre to create a co-working office space in the mall.
The MindShare WorkSpace is the brainchild of founder and CEO Robert Martellaci who was inspired by a desire to fill a space void in Mississauga, to accelerate innovation and promote a healthy and vibrant 21st century city ecosystem.
The MindShare WorkSpace is a state-of-the-art innovation space designed to inspire people to work hard, connect with a diverse group of professionals, and have fun.
“I’ve been researching this for the last year and a half, two years or so,” says Martellacci. “The MindShareWorkSpace was inspired by our work in the education space and really redefines the future of work and learning, providing opportunities for Mississauga startups and small business leaders from all sectors to live, work, and play in their own backyard.”
The growth of online shopping and the growth of co-working created a perfect storm for Martellaci to create a space in a shopping mall.
“We’re re-defining the future of work and learning. Our tag line is innovate, connect and grow,” says the founder of MindShare Learning Technology. “We’re working with individuals, consultants, startups, small businesses to inspire them to innovate, connect and grow. Those are our three pillars that we have."
“The original plan was to go into the downtown core but when I presented to the mall management group . . . they immediately got into ‘we want you in here’. They were very, very supportive. Our research showed that Mississauga was under-served when it came to collaborative, innovative work spaces.”
The MindShare WorkSpace special features include:
4,000 square feet of flexible co-working space with state-of-the-art technology, modern dedicated desks, private offices and meeting rooms;
Classroom Innovation Space for leadership training, community outreach programs and lifelong learning workshops;
Professional development and educational workshops;
Regular MindShare meetups, lunch & learn, startup challenges and networking events;
Gourmet coffee, tea and filtered water;
Weekend Robotics, Coding, DIY workshops for kids and adults; and
Martellaci says MindShare WorkSpace is designed for community members to inspire cross-sector collaboration - from individual consultants, to startups and small business.
Susan Amring, Director of Economic Development for City of Mississauga, says the concept “is a great asset for our new and expanding business community looking for office space. With modern design, flexible work areas and current technologies, MindShare creates a great atmosphere for business development and growth.”
Francesca Bourré, Marketing Director for Erin Mills Town Centre, says the idea “will add great value to our customer offering and to the community” as a first-of-its-kind offering in a shopping centre.
“I’ve had since we announced a developer who owns multiple malls in North America approach us about a joint venture because of what they see as being the future,” says Martellacci.
“So it’s been a bit of a shock and a surprise to me just how much interest there is. So it’s really exciting and a little daunting by the same token. We’re really filling a void in many ways.”
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.