Wise 50 Over 50 Award™
Suzanne Grant – iBIONICS
I became a military engineering officer while studying physics at Carleton University. The physics thinking and military training pushed me to focus on mission and solve problems creatively. We all have capacity go beyond what we think are limits.
The military surrounded me with exceptional leaders. Their measure of leadership is – would you entrust your life to this person? They handed me opportunities to punch way above my weight, like heading up a pilot as the first technology officer in the North American Air Defence Command Centre. This is where North America’s air sovereignty is defended. I gained an appetite for leading “first of” projects and decided blending technology and entrepreneurship was next.
After 14 years living in an emerging market, coming to do business for the first time in Canada felt foreign and I was starting over again from zero. I had no business network in Canada. This time the opportunity found me… eventually and I met a brilliant inventor who were shopping around an implant and needed some help. At 51 I was invited to become the cofounder and CEO of iBIONICS.
I’m most proud of bringing together an incredible team and together creating a culture where we can punch above our collective weight. We’ve taken a working prototype implant and created an entire solution, and have received awards and accolades from the entrepreneurial community, retina surgeons and other key opinion leaders about the design.
We continue to attract the world’s best to our mission. Our cofounders recently did a series of pitches together in Australia – a surgeon, physicist and entrepreneur and we are currently in due diligence as a result. We’ve all had to grow together. It’s been far from easy – but I am proud of our extended team powered by brains, brawn and heart.
Our mission is all about our community: doing for blind people what Cochlear has done for the deaf, helping hundreds of thousands of people to reignite their senses. Beyond that we support Foundation Fighting Blindness and are getting ready to announce a project with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. Of course there’s always mentoring and helping out entrepreneurs, youth and women – this is always there.