Challenge to Change | MBA turns Donuts to Dollars

Jordan Cash is using his entrepreneurship training to build a boutique donut empire


Jordan Cash had a vision for taking the humble donut to new heights. Long before the baked good was getting the cover treatment on Epicurious Magazine, Cash was dreaming of connecting it with a whole new class of consumers. But he knew he needed the business acumen to make his entrepreneurial goals a reality.

Set on starting a business, Cash sought an MBA program that would allow him to focus on entrepreneurship, so that he could turn the ideas in his head into a reality.


In the end, UBC Sauder School of Business – and the West Coast lifestyle that comes with it – won out. “I love the ocean. Seeing that and the mountains as you walk down city streets, is so inspirational,” said the Toronto native.

Entrepreneurially-minded people like Cash are drawn to Vancouver for good reason. A hotbed for new startups, as well as major tech players like Hootsuite, Telus and Microsoft, it’s been dubbed Canada’s Most Entrepreneurial City*. The spirit of innovation is found in every element of the UBC MBA program – from the classes, to the projects, to the alumni network who are driving venture creation in the city.

“I wanted an opportunity to meet new, like-minded people and open new doors,” he says. “The UBC MBA seemed like the right fit for me.”


During the 16-month program, Cash immersed himself in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship career track, a stream designed for promising entrepreneurs to kick-start new business ventures or for “intrapreneurs” who want to build innovation and manage creative product development within an existing company.

He says Professor Darren Dahl’s class, Creativity proved truly transformational for him. “Darren encouraged us to challenge how we engage with products, with marketing, with our environment,” says Cash.

In Dahl’s class, Cash and his cohort were tasked with doing something they’d never tried before.

“We had to do something outside our comfort zone, but related to creativity or marketing in some way,” he says. “That was my first foray into testing the donut market, and it was then that I started realizing that my idea was a legitimate one.”


Jordan Cash
Cash explored different aspects of his business idea throughout his MBA classes.

“UBC Sauder taught me how to research whether an idea is viable or not and strategize like a CEO,” Cash says. “With that knowledge, I was able to start building the foundation for what would come after the program.”

After graduation, Cash launched Cartems Donuterie with a pop-up shop offering gourmet flavours he perfected himself. The biggest challenge he faced at launch?

“We weren’t able to make donuts fast enough,” he says. “There were lineups down the block.”

As demand grew, so did his business. Now Cartems has multiple locations in Vancouver, with potential that far exceeds the city limits.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about marketing or operations, and thinking about what I learned at UBC Sauder,” he says.

“The program taught me how to be a better entrepreneur, how to take an idea and make it real.”

Name: Jordan Cash
Title: Owner, Cartems Donuterie, Vancouver
Track: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Nationality: Canadian (Toronto)