Campus for the Connected World (CCW) Update

The Campus for the Connected World (CCW) will be situated in Toronto’s Waterfront precinct, providing OCAD University with a platform for partnership engagement in an area undergoing intense growth. The Waterfront will be defined by advanced technology – IBM is a partner in the CCW as is Scotiabank – and is a fitting location for the situation of OCAD U’s new Business Innovation Studio (BIS).

Cassels Brock Pitch Competition

Cassels Brock Pitch Competition June 15th
Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 5:30pm

On Thursday, June 15th Imagination Catalyst invites you to the Cassels Brock Pitch Competition showcasing the talented entrepreneurs from OCAD University.

This years’ event feature pitches from OCAD U grads recently accepted into the program who will compete for $5000 in start-up funding.

Come out to meet founders of the startups incubated in Imagination Catalyst – present and past - as well as network with our exceptional up advisors, mentors and investors.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8 pm in the Great Hall at OCAD University.


5:30 to 6 p.m.:   Reception & Networking

6 to 7:30 p.m.:   Pitch Competition & Awards

7:30 to 8 p.m.:   Networking 

All welcome! Click here to register 

Special thanks to Cassels Brock and the City of Toronto for their support.

Venue & Address: 
OCAD University, Great Hall 100 McCaul Street, Toronto ON
416-977-6000 ex 4364

Pitch competition gives budding entrepreneurs a chance at seed money

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 - 4:00am

A washing machine that works on pedal power, an app that lets you find an apartment and pay rent from your phone, a website that connects artisanal food makers with hungry customers. These are some of the products to come out of OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst.

Meet the fresh new group of companies to join this hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization at the Take it to Market pitch competition on Tuesday, July 14 at the Toronto Umbra store. Come for the pitches and product demos; stay to vote for the strongest pitch and meet the celebrity judges and start-up founders.

“The diversity of companies we’re seeing come out of the OCAD U community is remarkable. Design thinking is helping start-up entrepreneurs in every sector,” said Imagination Catalyst’s Executive Director Katherine Roos.

In the July 14th pitch competition, some 20 entrepreneurs selected to participate in the Imagination Catalyst will be given 30 to 60 seconds to present their product to a panel of judges who will score them based on differentiation and innovation, quality of business model and customer validation. Up to three “pitchers” will win cash prizes.


  • Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor, OCAD University
  • Stephen Tapp, Chair, Imagination Catalyst Advisory Board
  • Paul Rowan, Co-founder and Vice-President, Inspiration, Umbra
  • John Albright, Co-founder and Managing Partner, Relay Ventures
  • Leila Boujnane, CEO, Ideé Inc.
  • Pat Lorenz, investor and board member, Network of Angel Organizations

The Imagination Catalyst is entering its third year with diverse new companies working in areas such as design, digital media, consumer products and business services, among others.

Imagination Catalyst Pitch Competition

Tuesday, July 14, 5:30 p.m.

Umbra Store

165 John St., Toronto

The Imagination Catalyst:

The Imagination Catalyst is OCAD University’s hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization. Our mission is to support and develop entrepreneurial talent among the OCAD University community as well as across the GTA. Our goal is to help launch new companies and products that contribute to the prosperity of our community.

OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab in conjunction with Imagination Catalyst is working with Ontario’s Regional Centres of Excellence to design, develop and implement programming that will bring design thinking to entrepreneurs across the province.

Imagination Catalyst is currently funded by the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE), the province’s innovation system for scaling and growing campus-linked entrepreneurial capacity and campus-linked entrepreneurial activities. The Imagination Catalyst Fund, a seed investment fund designed to support Imagination Catalyst companies, is supported by Relay Ventures.


Imagination Catalyst and MakeWorks partner on new incubator space for startups

Friday, October 3, 2014 - 6:15pm

Starting this month, entrepreneurs in OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst Incubator will have full access to MakeWorks, Canada’s leading creative studio for makers, designers and startups.

“This unique partnership will bolster OCAD U’s ability to provide the entrepreneurs in its incubator with more tools, mentors, and space for their entrepreneurial pursuits,” said Helmut Reichenbächer, AVP Research and Dean Graduate Studies. “This partnership will bring an exciting new batch of startups to MakeWorks and further strengthen its culture of innovation and collaboration.”

Entrepreneurs will get access to MakeWorks’ 10,000 sq. ft. (929 sq. m.) facility, which includes a co-working space, a prototyping and electronics lab, a MakerSpace and an event space. Entrepreneurs will be surrounded by over 30 other startups and involved with community initiatives such as “Thursday Demos”, a MakeWorks event held every week where members share their progress and get feedback.

MakeWorks founder, Mike Stern, is excited about the possibilities ahead. “OCAD U is quickly becoming a leading breeding-ground for Canadian startups. Their design-centric approach is producing amazing new concepts, and partnering with MakeWorks is a real opportunity to bring these ideas to life.”

Sprout Guerilla, an Imagination Catalyst incubator graduate from last year, currently calls MakeWorks home. They’ve started to use 3D printers and Laser Cutters to prototype new products and have also benefited from the diverse community of startups here. MakeWorks helped them find a home for their business, and they're now well on their way to commercialization.

Imagination Catalyst:

As OCAD University's entrepreneurship and commercialization hub, our mission is to help maker, digital media, internet of things, and cultural entrepreneurs launch new enterprises or commercialize their designs, products and services, as well as play a strong supporting role in the creation of a deep, collaboratively oriented entrepreneurship culture across campus. Our vision is to play a leadership role in the effort to unite, mobilize and focus the power of the cultural industries, creativity, scholarship and smart entrepreneurship in solving the most pressing social and environmental issues of our time. In so doing, we hope to unleash new basis for economic growth and development.


Community + Innovation = Growth Everything at MakeWorks is designed around this core principle. We're building Toronto's leading workspace for technologists and creatives, and providing the tools, mentorship and community for them to thrive.

OCAD University (OCAD U):

OCAD University ( is Canada’s “university of imagination.” The university, founded in 1876, is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. OCAD University is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinary practice, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD University community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.


For more information please contact:

Christine Crosbie, Media Relations Officer, OCAD University