Scarborough launches biz association

By Gerald V. Paul; 

Marg Middleton, Scarborough Business Association, speaks at the inaugural meeting. Gerald V. Paul photo.
Marg Middleton, Scarborough Business Association, speaks at the inaugural meeting. Gerald V. Paul photo.

“Local businesses need to cluster together, work together and mentor together to grow themselves from the roots up, and this organization has the ability to do it,” Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid told a gathering of 200 people recently at the Scarborough Business Association (SBA).

Speaking at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, Duguid, who plans with Councillor Michael Thompson, Toronto economic development chairperson, to lead a provincial task force on maximizing benefits of the subway extension, said once the route is determined, that group can identify commercial nodes for potential growth.

The SBA strives to bring business education, opportunity and networking events to help grow a prosperous Scarborough community.

Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Scarborough Centre), one of Toronto’s deputy mayors, said his colleagues at all levels of government want suggestions on how to make Scarborough better and more profitable for business. He noted that Mayor John Tory and Thompson were in London, England, learning how to invest around subways.

De Baeremaeker made reference to the transformative $250-million Pan Am Sports Centre and expressed his appreciation to all partners and the provincial government for investing where they live.

“I hope this will have some impact on your business. I want to guarantee you one thing. We are going to get that subway.”

He listed the various locations, adding, “That is going to change this city and you folks as business investors and people who are working and putting your sweat equity into making Scarborough better, you are to feel that change. So we need you still to help us get there and we are all going to get there together.”

A series of discussion papers prepared as part of the 2014 Scarborough Community Renewal Campaign, initiated by the Rotary Clubs in Scarborough, made clear the community wanted to establish a Scarborough business association to enhance and build the network of businesses and business professional in Scarborough.

SBA President Marg Middleton said the response to the launch event sent “a very clear message – Scarborough wants a business association.”

She read Tory’s message: “The Scarborough Business Association will help grow business, create jobs in Scarborough and across our entire city. It takes a community of like-minded people to keep our economy competitive and an association like this will reinforce our support for each other’s success.”

Middleton thanked Dave Hardy, president of Hardy Stevenson and Associates, for his dedication, support and sponsorship in driving the initiative.

The next SBA meeting is set for Nov. 10 at 6 p.m., Main Building, Centennial College, 941 Progress Ave. with the topic How to Use Digital Resources to Improve Your Business.