Business summit aims to propel Newmarket to next level: mayor

‘This is what we need to do more and more if we’re going to be one of the communities and towns that excels the most,’ mayor says of today’s Arc Summit

Award-winning entrepreneur Daniel Lewis told a room full of local business owners, students and leaders that they must be flexible and willing to change.

The tea purveyor called up a student on stage for a rock-paper-scissors match, Lewis demonstrated how always choosing the same option would lead to failure.

“We must change, and if you don’t, you’re going to lose,” he said.

The Town of Newmarket hosted a first-ever summit today, Nov. 29, inviting local leaders to be inspired, generate new ideas and learn. The town invited a select number of students and businesses to the Old Town Hall for a day of different presentations highlighting business success and how to make it as an entrepreneur.

Mayor John Taylor said the town and its people should share idealism. 

“This is what we need to do more and more if we’re going to be one of the communities and towns that excels the most,” he said. “This council, this staff, and this town, we’re not interested in managing Newmarket. That’s not enough. We want to take Newmarket to a new level.”

The day was filled with presentations from different key speakers, including Lewis, York University, and local businesses. The summit also featured breakout groups and presentations by students pitching businesses to the gathered crowd.

The town offered a panel with three local entrepreneurs, TIEIT’s Jessica Rawlley, Lotek’s Dave Lotimer and Eco Guardian’s Anil Abrol, to talk about the many paths to success.

The panellists, in part, discussed different challenges facing Newmarket as a business area. Lotimer said affordability and housing prices are an issue.

“That is a difficulty for getting people here, getting people of a diverse background,” he said. 

Rawlley said business often has more downs than ups, and having people you can trust to help you through that is critical. 

“You’re going to have a lot of downs. A lot of punches in the face,” she said. “Find a group of individuals that you could turn to.”

Asked by a local student about facing sexism as an entrepreneur, Rawlley said it happens regularly. 

“As a woman in tech specifically, I can’t tell you the number of times,” she said. “You just got to be confident in what you do, and if there are people who want to treat you like that, you don’t want to do business with them.”

Taylor said the day is a way to build partnerships that can extend into the future.

“We’ll just keep the energy going, and we’ll make sure Newmarket is one of those communities that excels and comes through all those challenges in new and exciting ways,” he said. 


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