Danby CEO Jim Estill on how to start a new business:

Apr 27, 2017 | Events

“There is no such thing as an original idea.  When 99% of business are thriving on existing concepts, this is where I look for the majority of successful new business start-ups.

Entrepreneurs do not necessarily have a unique idea, they succeed by using competitive advantage to thrive.

Guelph has many large companies with existing needs, and it is within these businesses or in partnership with them, that new start-ups will find the greatest opportunities to launch or grow a new enterprise.

Many large companies do not have 100% utilization of resources; consider how you could leverage existing infrastructure such as:

  • warehouse space
  • certified kitchens
  • quality control
  • accounting departments
  • outsourced services that you could bring in house
  • transportation and much more!

One of Guelph’s great success stories did just that: Frank Hasenfratz launched Linamar in 1964 while working at Woods / Danby Appliances. He saw that they were paying $10 for a part.  He asked if they would buy them from him for $8 if he could supply them.  The deal was struck.  He bought a machine and put it in his garage and the rest is history with Linamar exceeding $116 million in net earnings in 2016.

Instead of local business looking outside for start-ups and new technologies, we are inviting you to look inside Danby and other companies to leverage internal opportunities and find your spin-off or expansion opportunities.”

Entrepreneurs and business owners are invited to take part in a Reverse Collision Day with Danby Appliances, North America’s leading refrigeration and specialty appliance company, at Innovation Guelph May 25, 2017, 8:30-11 a.m.

Learn more and register.


Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Appliances, is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. Jim started a computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university. He turned that modest business into a company doing $350,000,000 in sales before selling to SYNNEX in 2004. He then became CEO of SYNNEX Canada and grew sales from $800,000,000 to $2 Billion over five years, including a founding board member of Research in Motion/Blackberry, before the company went public.

He is the author of Time Leadership – Lessons from a CEO and Zero to $2 Billion: The Marketing and Branding Story Behind the Growth, which became the subject of his TEDx talk.

He has most recently been in the news for his sponsorship effort to settle 50 Syrian refugee families. Financial Times, BBC News, The Guardian, and Toronto Life have all covered his story. You can follow Jim on his blog CEO Blog—Time Leadership, which documents his philosophies on leadership and time management. Jim lives in Guelph, Ontario.