Jim Estill of Danby Appliances named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 Ontario winner

Ontario entrepreneur transforms home appliances with smart home technology

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(Toronto, October 25, 2019) Jim Estill, CEO and Owner of Danby Appliances — a North American leader in the manufacturing and marketing of refrigeration and speciality appliances — is this year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Ontario winner.

Jim started reselling computers out of the trunk of his car before going on to build multiple profitable companies and investing in over 150 technology start-ups. Jim purchased Danby, a 70-year old business that makes everything from washing machines and dishwashers to fridges and air conditioners, in 2017. His creativity and innovative thinking completely revitalized the company in less than three years.

Geoff Chutter
Jad Shimaly, EY Canada Chairman and CEO, Stuart Lombard, ecobee President and CEO, Jim Estill, Danby Appliances CEO and Owner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Ontario winner, and Paula Smith and Craig Roskos, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Program Co-Directors.

 

“Jim is the definition of an unstoppable entrepreneur — he fearlessly experiments with new ventures while never losing sound business judgement in evaluating new opportunities,” says Craig Roskos, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Program Co-Director. “He understood every risk and took immediate action to eliminate unprofitable channels to lay the groundwork for Danby’s future growth and success, leading to a sky-rocketing spike in Canadian revenues.”  

As a serial innovator and tech entrepreneur, Jim leads by example to encourage employees to think differently and experiment with products and processes. That’s led to breakthrough inventions like Parcel Guard — the first smart mailbox to hit the market — and ShipperBee — an environmentally friendly way to ship packages. His use of e-commerce and smart home products is propelling Danby to strong revenue growth.   

“Jim took a traditional company that makes “big metal boxes” and turned it into an innovative business that’s revolutionizing the industry,” says Paula Smith, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Program Co-Director. “It speaks volumes to the entrepreneurial and creative culture that he enables within the organization.”

Jim’s belief in doing the right thing for his company, community and around the world led Danby to become the first Canadian business to obtain a Sponsorship Agreement Holder designation from the Government of Canada to help resettle refugees moving to the country. He approached this philanthropic venture like a business, hiring refugees on to prepare them for joining the Canadian workforce. These efforts, Jim’s commitment to local charities and his engaged leadership style, all make up the Canadian DNA of Danby.

Also recognized at the gala were Derek and Jennifer Woodgate of cuddle + kind with a Special Citation for Social Entrepreneur and Annette Verschuren of NRStor Inc. with a Special Citation Award for Master Entrepreneur.

What’s next?
As the Ontario region’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019, Jim Estill will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies, Québec and Atlantic regions for the national honour of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Canada, to be presented at a gala celebration on 28 November 2019 in Toronto. In June 2020, Canada’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

More information
Follow @EYCanada and #EOYOntario on Twitter for the latest event updates. Visit ey.com/ca/EOY for more program details and a complete list of category finalists and gala dates in other regions.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 Prairies category award recipients:

 

Business-to-business Products and Services

Waste Solutions Canada | London
Jason Wilcox

Business-to-consumer Products and Services

Danby Appliances  | Guelph
Jim Estill

Emerging Entrepreneur

Borrowell | Toronto
Andrew Graham and Eva Wong

Health and Life Sciences

EHN Canada  | Toronto
Joe Manget

Manufacturing and Construction

Aecon Group Inc.  | Etobicoke
John M. Beck

Professional Services

Calian Group Ltd. | Ottawa
Kevin Ford

Technology

Fleet Complete  | Toronto
Tony Lourakis

Transportation and Logistics

Fleet Optics Inc.  | Mississauga
John Mann and Vince Buckley

Young Entrepreneur

Viral Nation Inc.  | Vaughan
Joseph Gagliese and Mathew Micheli

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About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year®
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/ca/EOY

The 2019 Ontario independent judging panel consists of Alan Quarry, Chairman, Quarry Integrated Communications; Anne Sado, President, George Brown College; Bruce Poon Tip, Founder, G Adventures; Code Cubitt, Founder & Managing Director, Mistral Venture Partners; Kim Mason, Senior Vice President, Business Distribution, Strategy & Performance, Royal Bank of Canada; Lee McDonald, President & CEO, Southmedic Inc.; Lori O’Neill, Independent Director; and Teresa Lee, Director, OMERS Private Equity Inc.

This year's program national sponsors are ICI RDI, The TMX Group, The Globe and Mail Inc., Air Canada, Media One Creative and The Printing House Limited. Ontario regional sponsors are Captivate and Steam Whistle Brewing.

About EY
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For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

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