OCAD University announces new Imagination Catalyst leadership

Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:00am

Katherine Roos has been named executive director of the Imagination Catalyst, OCAD U’s hub for creative entrepreneurship and commercialization.

Roos is well known in Toronto’s start-up ecosystem. Previously she held management roles in the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture Division and at Toronto Business Development Centre. Katherine is a graduate of the University of Toronto and serves on the boards of LOFT Community Services, Connect Legal and The Learning Enrichment Foundation.

Stephen Tapp is taking the position of chair of the Imagination Catalyst advisory board. In this volunteer position he will work closely with OCAD University’s fundraising team to secure the success of growing commercialization activities. Tapp is founder and chairman of Hercules Media Group (HMG) Inc.

“I’m proud of the new Imagination Catalyst leadership. Its energy and expertise will serve us well by supporting those candidates who successfully compete to transform their innovative ideas, projects and prototypes into a real world business,” said Dr. Helmut Reichenbächer, Associate Vice-President, Research, and Dean, Graduate Studies, OCAD U.

The Imagination Catalyst is benefitting from a year of dramatic growth. In September 2014, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation, Reza Moridi, announced a $950,000 grant to OCAD University as part of the Government of Ontario’s Campus-Linked Accelerator (CLA) program.

Further strengthening the University’s CLA, Relay Ventures announced it is investing $1 million in the Imagination Catalyst Fund over four years. This investment fund will provide seed funding for emerging entrepreneurs in the program. Relay Ventures is an early stage venture capital firm that invests in passionate entrepreneurs disrupting and creating new markets through mobile technologies.

The Imagination Catalyst’s mission is to support and develop emerging businesses among OCAD University faculty, student and alumni as well as among creative entrepreneurs across the GTA. Under the guidance of OCAD University’s Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab), OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst will work with Ontario’s Regional Centres of Excellence to design, develop and implement programming that would nurture creative entrepreneurs across the province.


OCAD U Entrepreneurship

Poster with boxes of text against coloured backgrounds
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 1:00am to Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 12:00am

OCAD U Entrepreneurship Students present a series of socially engaged business activities. Activities are hosted November 11 to 15 at various locations. We look forward to you joining us!



Headphone Helpers are made from 100% recycled wood. This eco-friendly, handmade product will ensure that your earbuds stay organized wherever you go! Starting at a minimum $2 donation, 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada, whose focus is to conserve forests and the species who reside within them.

Find us at our Facebook page for purchase information https://www.facebook.com/headphonehelpers



Join us in celebration of Movember. MOCADU will be hosting a Movember themed event to raise awareness of cancer in the community.

Tuesday November 11, 8 p.m. to midnight @The Local Gest, 424 Parliament St.

Tickets are $3.00 at the door. Purchase ticket with valid OCAD U I.D. for drink and food specials.



Third Time's a Charm presents REDUCE.REUSE.RECYCLE, a charity art show. The event will raise money for the Riverdale Housing Action Group and the fight against homelessness. The goal of this event is to create support services for Riverdale and to create a dialog between the community and artists. All of the artists are creating art for recycled materials, taking used products from the home to help build homes for others. The night will include a silent auction, music, art and warm fall drinks.

Friday November 14th, 6pm till late @ 1075 Bathurst St.

Ticket are $10. Contact thirdtimesacharmshow@gmail.com to arrange ticket sales prior to the event.


OCAD Popped

OCADPopped Presents 49 MaCaul, A silent student auction and art competition. This event is designed to give students a chance to network with community members and colleagues while having the opportunity to sell their work. The students' works will be juried by you and the selected best artist will win a cash prize.

Visit the link below to learn more about OCADPopped http://webspace.ocad.ca/~bl10ko/StressRelief/bubbleWrap/

Friday November 14th, 7pm - 11pm @ 49 McCaul St.

Tickets are $5

Email OCADPopped@gmail.com or call Beatrix Eckley @ 905 808 9027 to reserve tickets.



Get Your Geek On TO is a science fair style event celebrating everything geeky in Toronto. Makers of all walks of life are invited to participate for free as exhibitors and compete for awesome prizes and titles. Non-participants can purchase tickets in order to view our exhibitors' work and partake in light refreshments. We'll also be hosting a ra‑ffe for more fun and geeky prizes!

Saturday November 15th, 2pm - 7pm @ 49 McCaul St.

Tickets are $8 for non-exhibitors; Free for exhibitors

Tickets can be purchased on the day or online at


Venue & Address: 
MOCADU: Tuesday November 11, 8 p.m. to midnight @The Local Gest, 424 Parliament St. REDUCE.REUSE.RECYCLE: Friday November 14, 6 p.m. til late @ 1075 Bathurst St. OCAD Popped :Friday November 14, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. @ 49 McCaul St. GET YOUR GEEK ON TO: Saturday November 15, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. @ 49 McCaul St.
<p>For information about Entrepreneurship at OCAD U, contact Dr. Alia Weston: aweston@faculty.ocadu.ca</p>

Perfecting your Pitch!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 11:00pm to Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 12:30am

mindSHIFT: Unleashing the POWER of Entrepreneurs

mindSHIFT is a Toronto-based business club where CEOs and business owners mingle and develop innovative & insightful business leadership. Every month, we bring in a speaker who will share his/her business visions with us. We thrive to provide you a net-working opportunity to connect and expand your mind.

We will show you methods for pitching your idea and getting investors for your business idea. The approach is much simpler than you think.

We have actual investors coming to the event with the desire to invest.  See them examine ideas.

A $5 donation is suggested and can be paid at the presentation or online.

This seminar is $10 for non-members – We suggest everybody to join our group.


7:00pm – 8:30pm: Seminar by the expert 
8:30pm – 9:00pm: Q&A and Wrap-up

RSVP to register, limited sitting

Venue & Address: 
CSI Spadina, 4th Floor, The Alterna Savings Meeting Room, 215 Spadina Avenue

StartUp School

Orange logo with black and white text
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 10:30pm to Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 1:30am


Ryerson University is Canada’s leader in entrepreneurship education. The Ryerson Entrepreneur Institute (REI) in partnership with the Ted Rogers School of Management, is excited to launch Startup School, Ryerson’s first just in time, modular learning series to support rising startups and Zone learning.

Startup School is practical education to complete the entrepreneur’s toolkit. Sessions are delivered by top industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs. Additional content and assurances of learning are captured on the REI’s online learning platform.

Each semester, students and founders alike can take advantage of the 13 different, free modules that encompass cornerstone topics curated to accelerate startup’s growth.

To discover more or read full bios of our guest speakers, visit us online.

Venue & Address: 
Ryerson University Digital Media Zone and Ted Rogers School of Management

Aspiring entrepreneurs compete in the Imagination Catalyst Pitch Competition


First place winner: 21 Toys

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with an art or design background, perhaps there’s no better green room for you than a design store. While waiting for their shot at pitching in the second annual OCAD U Imagination Catalyst Pitch Competition, held Thursday, May 15 at Umbra in Toronto, 19 entrepreneurs-in-the-making milled around on the first floor of the store, while audience applause for their competitors rang out from the packed space set up as a presentation hub above.

The Imagination Catalyst is OCAD U’s enterprise and new technology program, and at stake was the chance at a one-year residency in its Take It To Market incubator program for the top applicants, plus cash prizes — important seed funding for fresh, new ideas that fit the five scoring criteria: candidate commitment and overall presentation; differentiation and innovation; quality of business model; customer validation and motivation to invest. But, with only three minutes for a pitch plus just two minutes to answer questions from judges, candidates were under pressure to explain and prove their ideas and projects both confidently and quickly.

This year’s judges were what Petra Kassun-Mutch, Executive Director of the Imagination Catalyst described as “an impressive heavyweight bunch” and included Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U’s president, along with eight leading business founders, organization heads and CEOs: John Albright, Relay Ventures; Atul Asthana, TIE Institute; Bruce Croxon, Round13 Capital; Lahav Gil, Kangaroo Group; Dave Kranenburg, Centre for Social Innovation; Peter McFadzean, OCE; Abigail Slater, Barlow Lane Holdings Limited and Mike Stern, Make Works.

Candidates (who included OCAD U students, alumni and some from outside the university community) pitched a wide variety of projects, services and social enterprises — everything from DIY bespoke electronics to a service promoting local food consumption, to a healthcare app for patient-focused emotional and wellness support.

This year’s winners are:
First Place: $10,000 cash plus two tickets to C2-MTL (including Travel)
Ilana Ben-Ari and Gonzalo Riva, 21 Toys

Second Place: $5000 cash plus two tickets to MESH Conference and a free year on Shopify
Ryan Church (MDes, Strategic Foresight and Innovation, 2014), Biomenergy

Third Place: $2500 legal voucher from Fasken Martineau Dumoulin
Jeremy Bell, Wattage

Top Social Enterprise Award: $5000 (in partnership with the Centre for Social Innovation)
Mojan Jianfar (MFA, Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design, 2014), The PATCH Project

People’s Choice Award: $1000 from Meredith Cartwright of Donbow Capital
Olibiyi Dipelou (MDes, Strategic Foresight and Innovation, 2014), Eekonomy 

Special Jury Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit: $1000
Alex Leitch (MDes, Digital Futures), Mechanism

Diamond in the Rough: Free iPad
Alex Haagaard (MFA, Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design), HXTag
“I thought the calibre of the pitches was terrific this year,” said Kassun-Mutch. “The application process was more formal and rigourous and applicants had to think through their business models carefully and do pitch training. We also opened the competition up to the broader community, considering a wide range of candidates that fit with the incubator’s overall strengths, and we did really well on the representation of women to men, compared to a lot of pitch competitions I’ve seen.”

Find out more

The Imagination Catalyst


What is the Imagination Catalyst?

What is the Imagination Catalyst?
Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 8:00pm

Briefing & Open House

Have you always dreamed of being an entrepreneur or commercializing your design? Are you faculty at OCAD U and have been wondering about what the Imagination Catalyst offers? If you have been thinking about either, you will want to attend this information session and open house where you will learn about the Imagination Catalyst, what we offer, meet our entrepreneurs, mentors, and Entrepreneur in Residence, and get a pre-commercialization look at the innovative products and companies that are currently in the process of being launched.

The event is open to all. If you plan to attend, RSVP at http://imaginationcatalystbriefing.eventbrite.com





Venue & Address: 
Imagination Catalyst 49 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario