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Starting a creative business for newcomers

Blue background with green dots in foreground. Round image of SUHARU OGAWA and PEDRO SUING and diamond image of JASMINE CARDENAS and AOIL RAHARJO on the bottom. Light blue text: "STARTING A CREATIVE BUSINESS FOR NEWCOMERS". Pink text: "MAY 17TH 2024, 1-3 PM 115 MCCAUL, 3RD FLOOR SUHARU OGAWA JASMINE CARDENAS PEDRO SUING AOIL RAHARJO". OCAD U CEAD and ISS logo on top right and left.

Starting a creative business for newcomers

Date/Time: Friday, May 17, 2024 from 1:00-3:00 PM ET

Location:CEAD, 115 McCaul, 3rd Floor 

Join OCAD University’s RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers and the International Students Support Office for a workshop and panel on starting your own business as a newcomer to Canada. 
In the workshop portion, we will cover basic information around how to start your own business in Canada. Following that, a panel moderated by Suharu Ogawa, featuring Jasmine Cardenas,Pedro Suing, and Aqil Raharjo will dive into the lived experience of newcomers and entrepreneurs, providing advice and tips on starting and running your own business. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions. 
Lunch will be served as part of this event. 

1-1:50 PM - Intro to Business Workshop 
1:50-2 PM - Break 
2-3 PM - Panel 


Speaker Bios:


Suharu Ogawa (She/Her) is a Tkaronto/Toronto-based illustrator originally from Japan. 

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art History and Anthropology from Northern Kentucky University and a Master of Art in Art History from the University of Cincinnati, and worked for several years as a university librarian in southern California until her passion for illustration called her out of that career and into the pursuit of a lifelong dream. She joined OCAD University as an international student in 2011 to study Illustration. 

Her illustration practice today ranges from editorial work, institutional projects, and book publishing with clients that include United Way, National Public Radio (USA), the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Ontario Science Centre, Kids Can Press, Owlkids, ORCA Book Publishers, and many more. 

Suharu is an Assistant Professor (Tenure-track) in the illustration program here at OCAD U, teaching a wide range of subjects from design principles, contemporary illustration history, to children’s book illustration. 


Jasmine Cardenas is a Canadian-Ecuadorian multidisciplinary artist, working in sculptural painting, collage, ceramics, and installation. In 2022, she founded Casa Studio, a small-batch ceramics studio based in Hamilton, ON, crafting objects and sculptures that marry form with functionality. Beyond creating art, Casa Studio is committed to fostering accessible art opportunities within their local community. 

In her personal art practice, Cardenas’ work is often influenced by family stories and traditions, lived experiences and her domestic environment. Her work floats between real and imagined spaces. At times culturally specific, and at times intuitively lead by the tactile materials used in her practice. Cardenas holds a BFA from OCAD University (2017) and has participated in residencies at The Maple Terrace (New York City), and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Banff). Her works are held in permanent collections including Global Affairs Canada, City of Mississauga, TD Bank, Scotiabank, Royal Bank of Canada, and The Drake Hotel.  


Pedro Suing is a strategic designer and entrepreneur committed to turning ideas into reality. He enhances the success of organizations by combining innovative foresight with strategic design thinking. His areas of expertise include strategic foresight, innovation, design thinking, and business design. His passion for coffee, the Latin community, and audiovisuals infuse his business strategies, promoting creativity, exceptional client service, and operational excellence. 

Pedro has co-founded and led transformative projects at companies such as Kazkara and Bad Hombres Post Production Inc. In order to deepen his impact within local business communities, he has also participated in consultations at the Centre for Local Innovation and Collaboration. Currently, Pedro is applying his proven ability to shape the future of business through strategic innovation to launch Dtroitr, a new coffee chain in Michigan. Its flagship store is set to open in the upcoming months. 

Pedro holds a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University and a post-graduate diploma in postproduction. He is proficient in various creative and analytical tools essential for modern business design and multimedia post production. 


Aqil Raharjo is a queer first-gen immigrant design leader who believes in the power of design to shape perceptions, evoke emotions, and inspire meaningful connections with audiences.  

Having grown up in Jakarta, Indonesia, he moved to Toronto, Canada at the age of 17 to pursue a career in design. He received the Jan Van Kampen & Al & Muriel scholarship for academic excellence and graduated with distinction from OCAD University. He has since worked in the design industry designing visuals, brands, and experiences in the startup space and in design consulting.  

He’s been honored with accolades including Adobe Creative Jam's People's Choice Award for Visual Design, RGD's Cineplex Digital Media Award for Information Design, and Imagination Catalyst's Pitch Competition Winner. Additionally, he’s received recognition for his creativity at Maker Festival's Best Maker Booth and an Honorable Mention in the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. His design work has garnered attention across platforms such as Mashable, TechInsider, BlogTO, Design Taxi, Business Insider, BestFolio, and Packaging of the World.