Cassels Brock and OCAD University Partner To Bring Design-Focused Entrepreneurs into Canada's Startup Ecosystem

Startup expert from national law firm appointed by university business incubator to its advisory board to provide practical insight to advance the potential of Canadian innovation

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2016 /CNW/ - Cassels Brock today has been named OCAD U's legal partner for Imagination Catalyst, the university's hub for entrepreneurship and commercialization. The national law firm will take on an advisory role to support the campus business incubator with on-the-ground mentorship to its network of entrepreneurs, startups, and scaleups. Specifically, Cassels Brock will play an integral role in the annual Imagination Catalyst Pitch Competition, held annually in June, where OCAD U graduates compete for $5,000 in funding. Cassels Brock will also participate in incubator demo days, fundraising events, and provide regular on-site legal support to incubator participants.

"As an entrepreneurial firm with strong relationships across the venture capital and private equity sector, we understand what it takes to grow a business and what investors are looking for," says Jamie Firsten, partner and startup law expert at Cassels Brock. "Given the funding challenges start-ups face in Canada, we are positioned to provide the advice and support Imagination Catalyst participants will need to be successful."

With specialization in early stage financing, focused on advising emerging technology companies, Jamie joins the Imagination Catalyst Advisory Board to advise on funding challenges faced by design-driven innovators, and where to find opportunity.

"More of our students are making plans to start their own companies, commercialize major research projects, and develop basic business skills to build successful careers here in Canada," says Katherine Roos, executive director, Imagination Catalyst. "Jamie and his team can help young entrepreneurs structure their ventures effectively, help designers protect their intellectual property, and advise early-stage companies on partnerships, employment, and vendor contracts. This type of legal support is invaluable to emerging companies and innovators."

Imagination Catalyst incubator accepts startup applications from OCAD U alumni and creative-sector entrepreneurs who need the services of a maker-friendly, design-driven incubator.

About Imagination Catalyst
Imagination Catalyst offers a 1-year business incubation program at OCAD University that provides business development guidance and support for maker-based, design-focused startup entrepreneurs. Its goal is to apply design thinking to make lives better, create richer cultural experiences and bring leading-edge innovations to market. The Imagination Catalyst hub for entrepreneurship at OCAD U is funded by the province of Ontario and Relay Ventures. Imagination Catalyst is also part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE).

About OCAD University (OCAD U)
OCAD University is Canada's university of the imagination. Founded in 1876, the university is dedicated to art, design and digital media education, practice and research, and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines.

About Cassels Brock
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP is a leading Canadian law firm focused on serving the transaction, advocacy and advisory needs of the country most dynamic business sectors.

SOURCE Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

Image with caption: "Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP (CNW Group/Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP)". Image available at:

Image with caption: "OCAD University (CNW Group/Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP)". Image available at:

For further information: Jon Packer, Idea Workshop,, 416 504 3977 x24; Jamie Firsten, Cassels Brock,, 416 860 6730; Christine Crosbie, OCAD University,, 416 977 6000 x 4890


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