Skip to main content

Your Browser is out of date and is not supported by this website.
Please upgrade to Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, or Microsoft Edge.

$11K in Awards presented to OCAD U Students and Grads to launch their Creative Businesses

Purple text with text "Winners of OWNR Career Launcher for Creative Entrepreneurs, Semi circles in pink green and red on rigth side. OWNR and OCAD U CEAD Logos on bottom left in white.

Congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural Ownr Career Launcher for Creative Entrepreneurs! The RBC Centre for Emerging Artists & Designers and Ownr are ecstatic to support the following creative businesses by OCAD U students and recent grads:

Since launching in late fall 2020, the OCAD U community expressed a tremendous amount of interest in this opportunity for early-stage creative businesses. From among 100 initial applicants and then 50 long-listed entities, ten exceptional finalists were selected to develop and present their pitches to a jurying panel on March 16. The jury was comprised of Derek Hopfner, Chief Revenue Officer of Ownr; Jalisa Luces-Mendes, entrepreneur and Founder of Toni Marlow Clothing; Itah Sadu, entrepreneur and co-owner of A Different Booklist; Ilene Sova, Ada Slaight Chair of Contemporary Drawing and Painting at OCADU University; and Dr. Alia Weston, Associate Professor of Creative and Business Enterprise at OCAD University.

The business models and concepts that the finalists presented demonstrated a well-rounded understanding of their audience and market, and the importance of creative approaches to entrepreneurship. So much so, that Ownr has generously contributed seed funding to allow for two first place winners to receive $4,000 each, with a total amount of $11,000 awarded to all recipients.   

It was great to see such an incredible group of diverse and thoughtful entrepreneurs represented at this year's Ownr Career Launcher for Creative Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition. At Ownr, we're excited to see how the winners will use the funding to further their ambitious goals and create lasting, sustainable businesses.

Derek Hopfner, Chief Revenue Officer of Ownr

Ownr and the RBC Centre for Emerging Artists and Designers are dedicated to supporting creative enterprises and all the forms they can take, from freelancers taking on clients, studio artists looking to sell their work, groups forming a collective or agency, and more.

As part of this partnership, Ownr is offering OCAD U students and recent grads a 20% discount off all Ownr services, including sole proprietorship business registration and incorporation. Redeem Offer.


Ownr is an all-in-one digital platform to start, build, and grow your business, simply and affordably. Whether you’re a new or seasoned business owner, let Ownr take care of your business and legal needs with services including: business registration and incorporation, tools to find the perfect business name, annual online minute book plans, automated legal documentation, live support, educational content and resources, and more.

Since 2017, Ownr has helped over 35,000 entrepreneurs in Canada bring their business dreams to life. Ownr is operated by RBC Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada.