Kathleen Wynne Visits Brampton to Kick Off University Talks

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Brampton Thursday to visit LAB B, a Brampton-based space that provides young people with resources and networks to incubate their startups and learn new skills.

Inevitably the conversation turned to Brampton’s university. In October the province announce $180 million in joint funding for a university in Brampton and one in Milton.

Bramptonians have waited patiently for the conversation to get rolling, as the province made it clear a call for proposals would be forthcoming in early 2017.

On a broader level Premier Wynne shed light on the greater impact of post-secondary institutions. For one, Brampton’s university is expected to have significant economic spinoff, creating more than 1800 construction jobs and 1500 through ongoing operations.

“The impacts are concrete and intangible. There will be businesses that want to be in Brampton because of a university,” said Wynne.

Large emphasis has been placed on experiential learning for both universities in Brampton and Milton in order to better equip future grads with job skills that meet the needs of employers.

LAB B and organizations like it are already leading the charge in experiential learning by offering students and young people opportunities to learn through real-world experience.

“I get asked all the time, are you gong to teach entrepreneurial skills in schools. Yes, kind of, but it’s actually this kind of learning [at places like LAB B] that teaches these skills and allows young people to tap into their creativity,” said Wynne. “We need to find ways for young people to get their hands on experience in workplaces and develop a sense of what they want to do earlier, and LAB B is a great model we should be paying attention to.”

Innovation and creativity is alive and well in Brampton, and it’s demonstrated in part through the work LAB B is doing. It has successfully incubated dozens of startups through its resources, workshops, mentoring opportunities and other programming.

Over 4,000 people have come through their doors for 300+ events, work sessions, photo shoots, meet-ups and more.

The space is open to anyone looking for a place to launch their next idea, congregate, network, and bring a project from an idea to something tangible.

LAB B already has an active relationship with Ryerson, one of Brampton’s potential university partners. The two organizations are co-hosting Activate on January 21, a hackathon where entrepreneurs can be awarded up to $5,000 by Ryerson’s Social Enterprise Development Fund for socially conscious companies in the GTA.

As Brampton lays the groundwork for its future university, LAB B will no doubt be an active part of the conversation.

Premier Wynne didn’t use her visit to open the proposal process, but Deb Matthews, Minister of Advanced Learning and Skills Development, will be in Brampton on January 17th. An announcement is expected at that time.