Markham on the launch pad: Buckle up

Markham is ready for take off!

Business incubators have become increasingly valuable as economic development tools, stimulating local commercial development of all kinds. Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham (ISCM), MaRS and others provide facilities and services such as business planning, legal, accounting and marketing support which catalyze SME growth. In fact, incubated companies have a dramatically higher rate of survival than an average spinout does (oft-quoted stats say incubated businesses have an 87% survival rate).

Multinational enterprises recognize the value of these clusters of activity — check out the recent announcement that Google will locate its Canadian headquarters in Kitchener to seize the opportunity for creativity and innovation that the region offers.

Clusters all around the province are adopting this incubator model as a way to foster business growth. Markham, Ontario (in York Region), my location, is no exception.

York Region will undertake a bold initiative in 2011 that will see the incubator concept come to the Markham Convergence Centre (MCC). Partners from across our region — from the academic and private sector, plus many levels of government — are set to act on this bold idea and have planned collaborative work which will bring it to life.

The MCC will become a hub of innovative activity in Markham.  We have created a local network of corporations which we can access to align new smart ideas with their best industry sector. MCC and its partners, the York Technology Alliance, the Markham Board of Trade, York University and the Markham Small Business Centre will stimulate ideas, mentor bright business minds and connect all the dots, right here in York Region.  Last May, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti referred to the creation of the Markham Convergence Centre. “This facility will allow Canada to compete globally in the medical devices industry while attracting highly skilled jobs to our community.”

It has happened.

Still early days here, we get a lot of industry traffic already. The MCC offices see some of York Region’s top industry and academic people here on a regular basis. That’s a good sign.

Stay tuned.

And from all of us here at the ISCM Markham, have a great New Year!