Ryerson combines annual GCM Colloquium and Business Plan Expo into a hugely successful event

The Business Plan Expo explored new business ideas from over 140 talented fourth-year students that were showcased at 37 tabletop booths.
Ryerson University’s GCM Business Plan Expo explored imaginative new business ideas from over 140 talented fourth-year graduating students that were showcased at 37 tabletop booths.

Can you guess how many mergers and acquisitions have occurred in the past 10 years in our industry? Over 224! And, you can now add the acquisition of Presstek, which was recently acquired by Mark Andy, as well as Montreal’s TC Transcontinental Printing agreeing to acquire Coveris Americas (Chicago, Illinois) for $1.32 billion (USD) last week. Several hundred participants learned much more about these trends at Ryerson University’s Annual Colloquium and Business Plan Expo, organized by the School of Graphic Communications Management (GCM), on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 from 4 pm to 8 pm. This year, both the Colloquium and the Business Plan Expo (which are free to attend) were combined into one large super-networking event with the theme Evolve: Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions in the Graphic Arts Industry. Both events were hosted under the same roof – at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens), located at 50 Carlton Street in downtown Toronto. Keynote speakers for Evolve: Startups, Mergers & Acquisitions in the Graphic Arts Industry included:

Jay Mandarino, President and CEO of CJ Graphics and CJ Group of companies, discusses mergers and acquisitions.

Deanne Sinclair of Cambridge Label. Her presentation focused on Cambridge Label’s digital print startup and the important lessons she’s learned from this endeavour.

Jay Mandarino of CJ Graphics reviewed how he built up CJ Graphics and where they currently are in the marketplace. He also explored why companies need to pursue mergers and acquisitions, and the state of the printing and graphic communications industry today.

Peter Tran and Rhodi Iliadou of Equal Parts Studio. After working together at a few 9-5 jobs, they decided to start their own design studio and focus on the type of work they really wanted to create. They learned many valuable lessons during their first year which they shared with the audience.

GCM’s co-located Business Plan Expo explored new business ideas from over 140 talented graduating students that were skillfully presented at 37 tabletop booths. Fourth-year GCM students had been formulating new businesses ideas (including start-up strategies featuring complete marketing plans and costing models in the graphic arts industry) and were excited to share them with visitors at the expo. It was an opportunity to talk to imaginative GCM students and reflect on their ideas. These events also clearly demonstrated how Ryerson is preparing GCM students for all the challenges they’ll be facing as future leaders in our industry.

Dual-event organizers Reem El Asaleh, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management, and Trung Nguyen, Contract Lecturer and main instructor for the Business Plan Expo Course.
Dual-event organizers Reem El Asaleh, Ph.D., and Trung Nguyen.

Congratulations to all the speakers, students, volunteers and everyone who made these events such a resounding success. Special thanks to organizers Reem El Asaleh, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Graphic Communications Management, and Trung Nguyen, Contract Lecturer and main instructor for the Business Plan Expo Course.

The School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University offers the only degree-granting program in Canada for managers in the printing and graphic arts industry. Students graduate from the four-year program with a Bachelor of Technology and the skills and experience necessary to work within the exciting and rapidly evolving printing industry. The annual Colloquium is an event organized by student volunteers featuring keynote address, panel discussions and an information reception. It’s an excellent opportunity for students and industry members alike to broaden their knowledge, share experiences, and build lasting network connections.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.