Innovation was the hot topic at Mayor Frank Scarpitti’s business address, held at the Hilton Suites on May 8. The annual event, presented by the Markham Board of Trade, was attended by hundreds of local business people.
Scarpitti shared his satisfaction with the Markham community’s innovation. With more than 1,500 high-tech and life sciences companies generating 37,000 jobs, he considers the city “Canada’s high-tech capital.”
“Markham drives innovation (and) innovation powers the Markham economy,” he said. “Innovation drives our economy by creating prosperity and jobs. Innovation drives a better quality of life. The companies in Markham are at the core of our changing world, companies like IBM, AMD, Huawei and GM.”
“There’s a company here in Markham, whose innovation focuses on saving the planet,” the mayor told the crowd. “They are trapping carbon dioxide and converting it to useful, healthy products. Pond Technologies is a game changer. They have created a process of capturing carbon dioxide spewing from smokestacks into the air. Their process can grow algae that produces bio products such as nutraceuticals, animal feed and cosmetics. Stelco, St.Mary’s Cement and, now, our own Markham District Energy have chosen to adopt Pond’s technology.”
GM recently opened their new Canadian Technical Centre in Markham. The brand-new building is capable of supporting 1,000 employees at its full-target capacity, including 700 software engineers. Using self-driving technology, advanced driver assistance features and infotainment systems, Scarpitti says, “GM innovators will create the future car.”
“Innovation is serious business,” he declared. “Innovation is entrepreneurial. Innovation drives fiscal success.”
He points to Markham as the first municipality in North America to offer textile recycling. The city was one of the first in Ontario to offer Internet voting. With more than 80 online services, Markham is moving toward becoming a digital municipality.
“Employers in our community need access to talent to thrive,” concluded Scarpitti. “At the heart of my agenda is a vision to make Markham a magnet for global talent by creating a new talent hub: The Centre for International Talent. The centre will be a physical space where talent is nurtured by creating hands-on, collaborative learning opportunities. Where industry connects with learners to develop innovative solutions. Where industry provides training opportunities for new and emerging technologies. The Centre for International Talent is an exciting opportunity, unleashing a world of endless possibilities.”