At the forefront of Brampton’s emerging creative economy are Harman Grewal and Harpreet Zingh, two millennial entrepreneurs leading the charge to provide more opportunities for Brampton’s budding young leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives.
The two started LAB B, an organization that supports young people in the community with access to space, resources and mentors to take their projects from idea to action. It is sometimes a coworking space, and is always a creative space for young professionals, creatives, and innovators alike.
Since opening the doors at LAB B two years ago Zingh and Grewal have successfully helped many young people move from idea to action. Whether it’s a startup, an arts project, or a social good initiative, LAB B is the place you want to be to help take your idea places, meet like-minded people, access mentorship opportunities, and even build a team around your passion.
LAB B’s open-door policy is one of the reasons it’s such a great success in Brampton. It’s the only creative space in the city led by young people, for young people. Anyone is welcome to bring their ideas, have a snack, take a break, work, whatever it is they need to do to grow themselves and their respective projects.
“We understand there’s strength in numbers, and to provide an environment for young people where they can interact with others who are hustling to make things happen is a huge motivator for everyone involved,” says Grewal.
Both Zingh and Grewal are community builders, which fuels the unique makeup of LAB B. It isn’t just a space, but an engaging community with a cultural makeup that reflects the vibrant city of Brampton. Often young people looking for opportunity leave for what they feel are greener pastures, whether it’s Mississauga, Toronto, or the emerging tech centre in Waterloo. Brampton’s lack of a diverse economy is also a deterrent.
LAB B is changing that. They’re providing young people with the resources and the people to make their ideas happen right here in Brampton. Its efforts have shaped the social fabric in Brampton by creating a bridge between the city’s youth — who tell Bramptonist that they often feel their voices are not heard — and existing entrepreneurs, institutions, and adult allies.
“We started LAB B as a coworking space but over time it has become a community of experienced individuals and it was a natural, organic sort of growth. Young people have great access to advisors and mentors because everyone is rallying around this community asset,” says Zingh explaining the evolution of the space.
LAB B’s latest success is their internship program that provides high school and college students across the city the opportunity to develop skills important to them and their growth. The program today announced a huge investment: Tracy MacCharles, the Ontario Minister of Child and Youth Services was at LAB B along with other Trillium Foundation staff and volunteers to announce a $300,000 investment from Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Youth Opportunities Fund.
“We would like to thank the Youth Opportunities Fund team for investing in young people in Peel Region, and all across Ontario” says Zingh. “Receiving [this] investment will be a catalyst towards helping youth develop valuable assets including entrepreneurial, digital, and artistic skillsets.”
LAB B has seen a host of successful projects and businesses leverage the space to help themselves grow including, Chapsule (a digital time capsule for storing memories), Buggle.co (a video-based classified website), and Devpatrol (a platform that helps developers connect with prospective employers).
With the youngest median age in all of Canada, students and young professionals represent a large and important demographic in Brampton. Grewal and Zingh believe that the best way to keep more young talent here is to diversify the economy, build skill-based learning opportunities, and give young people the necessary resources to make their ideas viable. From a grassroots level, LAB B is effectively shaping the culture and tone around youth entrepreneurship and the creative economy in Brampton.
In the coming months LAB B will continue to offer resources through the space as well as continue to host events — big and small — throughout the year. They recently hosted Startup Weekend Peel, an event that brought out over 200 young entrepreneurs and mentors to Sheridan’s Davis campus.
LAB B will continue to invent new programming and projects that will benefit youth and those who care about youth in Brampton. The fact that young people are the key drivers of the space and the community surrounding it means that youth themselves can dictate where the space goes and how it will continue to evolve. “LAB B doesn’t belong to Harpreet and I,” says Grewal. “It belongs to the youth of this community and it will always be led by the young people of this city.”
To find out more about LAB B, how to access space and about their upcoming events, click here.