Community is at the heart of everything we do at CatalystsX.
We are particularly grateful for the community we work hard to serve, such as our CoPilots and Catalysts. Check out some of the organizations we have worked with and click on their photos to learn more.
Coworking with Cultiv8torJune 10, 2015
One of the most meaningful parts of my job at CatalystsX is the people I get to meet. Canada is thriving with thoughtful and passionate innovators and entrepreneurs who look at the world around them and say, “something is missing, and I think I know what it is”.
Earlier this year I met two such people who have stumbled on a problem that they hope will bring both relief and excitement to entrepreneurs with young children. Towa Beer and Ali Tayeb, co-founders of Cultiv8tor, looked around Toronto, the city where they live, work and play in, and saw that something was missing: a shared workplace (eg coworking space) that incorporates childcare.
Towa and Ali explained that Toronto has the highest priced childcare services in Canada and that many parents simply cannot afford to switch to a new career between the competing demands of caring for young children and the high cost of traditional services for childcare. Cultiv8tor was born, in part, to bridge that gap and provide what they call an “end to end” solution where you can “go to work, book a meeting, or take a workshop with childcare provided under one roof.”
Their work is timely because of the increasing number entrepreneurs following the 2008 recession who also happen to be caregivers.
How did you two meet?
Currently we fellows of the DiverseCity Fellowship Program through CivicAction. Both of us have a strong passion for community development and hence decided to combine our efforts together for cultiv8tor. Intially Ali was working on a separate initiative to provide coding programs to marginalized communities. When Ali heard of Towa’s idea it was just a natural fit to combine the ideas together and hence Cultiv8tor was formed.
What inspired you to start Cultiv8tor?
Cultiv8tor was inspired through Towa’s own personal struggles of being a single parent entrepreneur and the trials and tribulations that come along with it. Towa noticed that there was no space that she could take her kid in with and have successful meetings – aka no MaRS or CSI would be equipped or allow children running around. She was tired of having board meetings in coffee shops and running around picking and dropping her kids off from the day care – the dreaded day care dash. This was an idea that was brewing for over 5 years for Towa and the CivicAction platform was the catalyst to take it to fruition.
Why does the GTHA need a co-working space with childcare support?
Because there is a huge boom of entrepreneurs within our communities and there is no space that supports parent entrepreneurs. Toronto is among the highest cost for daycare when compared to anywhere in Canada. Parents single most biggest expense is day care and a huge lost opportunity cost going back and forth to pick there kids up. also a huge problem with illegal daycares being formed as parents are looking for cheaper alternatives.
What is your vision for Cultiv8tor?
To offer co-working, co-learning and childcare all under one roof.
What are your next steps?
Our next steps is to run community consultations along with our partners at OCAD and Accenture to evaluate the exact needs of the community we are serving. We hope to have everything finalized by October 2015.
One Beat At A Time: Building Community Through Urban ArtsAugust 11, 2015
Roughly 700 miles northeast from Toronto, on the border between Ontario and Michigan, lies Sault Ste. Marie, often referred to as “the Soo”, a city of about 75,000 people that Shane Erickson – a Cx catalyst – now calls home again.
When Shane moved back to the Soo, he noticed there was something missing.
There were cultural institutions, art galleries, and music venues, but very few places dedicated themselves to what he refers to as urban artforms, which can play a powerful role for connecting youth to each other and their community. And so, his brianchild, the Soo York City Urban Arts Collective, was born.
What inspired you to start the Soo York City Urban Arts Collective?
The inspiration came from doing monthly local showcases in my hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, ON that focused on hip hop and the elements of the culture.
As a hip-hop DJ specializing in original breaks, funk, jazz and soul music, I found myself struggling to create a regular event based around what I do as its own element, so when I conceived of Soo York City I reached out to other performers around town and offered to include them in the monthly events, and I would take on multiple roles – one part DJ, one part organizer and one part host.
There was a lot of positive response to the showcases, and I wanted to keep that momentum going by creating a collective of people that is inclusive to artists and practitioners of the urban arts, which we define as emceeing, deejaying, graffiti, breakdancing and beatboxing, as well as those of us that follow and appreciate the arts in our community.
What is your vision for the Collective?
To foster collaboration and creation, and connect people over a shared love of hip hop music and art.
Why does the Soo need an organization focused on urban arts?
Urban artforms are grossly underrepresented in Sault Ste. Marie as part of the cultural infrastructure. Meanwhile, more and more youth that connect with and practice the urban arts seek to move away from their community due to feelings of disconnect.
The organization would help to create a community hub under which youth can connect with each other under a shared appreciation for the urban arts, which can then act as a conduit to bettering the larger Northern Ontario community and giving voice to youth.
What does community mean to you?
People helping people. Involvement and inclusion.
How will the Collective help build a community in the Soo?
Outreach through social media and performance events such as the upcoming Spoken Word project that is being developed. Ideally I would like to make connections with the schools to do presentations and help recruit youth that are interested in building.
How can members of your community support the Collective?
Get involved with the events we hold and engage online in the discussions we have, connect with members of the collective and find their struggles and needs through meaningful dialogue. A great place to start is the Facebook group “Soo York City Urban Arts Collective”, where a list of contact info for the members of the Collective can be found, as well as information on their various projects and Soo York City-branded events.
What are your biggest challenges?
Finding a location to host events in town that can act as a positive space for the urban arts.
What are the Collective’s next steps?
Members of the collective just returned from a trip to Scarborough to participate in a culture share and fact-finding mission with the founders of Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE for short). The knowledge and wisdom gained from the trip will be used to start a weekly spoken-word poetry event geared towards urban and at-risk youth in our community.
In addition to that, we are currently in the beginning steps of starting a monthly hip-hop open mic night. We are also actively seeking new members to join the collective and help to further the urban arts in Sault Ste. Marie and surrounding area. If you are interested in joining the collective, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, a brief description of the work you do, and your preferred means of contact.
Catalysts: Aleks and Mark
Hydrated World is an apparel company with a mission to eliminate the water crisis. Every item purchased provides someone with access to 500 L of safe water/year for 25 years. We’re working with grass roots teams to create sustainable water in the developing world.
Harpreet Singh and Harman Grewal are co-founders of LAB B, one of Brampton's newest and coolest coworking spaces. Cx caught up with Harpreet and Harman to find out what the hype is all about.
Brampton needed a shared workspace that is affordable and flexible to the creative and up-and-coming market. Coworking became our model for having a space with a foundation built on community. It serves as a way for us provide value to our members who are dedicated to building and maintaining a freelance or entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Our vision for LAB B is community, creativity and culture. As natives of Brampton, we see the potential, talent and community that exists here. We want to strengthen and grow these bonds and make our city the place of creative disruption. Why? Because when the creative community is developed, a culture of innovation, artistic expression, and positive relationships is formed.
Our friendship began at Western University in London, Ontario, where we met informally at networking events and also had mutual friends. At the time, Harman was an intern with the campus incubator BizInc and Harpreet had his own startup.
After returning to Brampton, we realized there was no space for creative and entrepreneurial people to come together, have fun and grow. Such a community didn’t exist at the time and for us it was an opportunity to apply our knowledge and experience towards a project that benefited Brampton in the long run.
Ultimately, LAB B is building a community in Brampton by creating a give and learn culture. Any ideas, projects or initiatives are welcomed to utilize the space for accomplishing one’s goals. Furthermore, LAB B continues to host events and workshops in which meaningful conversations can occur, skills can be developed and opportunities for individuals to connect can occur.
Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE) is a community led by youth, comprised of artists, activists, free-thinkers and revolutionaries. Together, they help to create a safe and welcoming platform for self-expression and healing through the performance arts. Located primarily on the east-side of Scarborough, RISE is able to reach out, and draw youth from all corners of the GTA and beyond.
The Rockstar community is a collection of people helping people, where you can share your unique stories, have engaging conversations, and pursue your interests. Rockstar Café can connect you to the people and resources you need to launch a project or venture, become more employable, or become more confident in your career path.
SPOKE N' HEARD
Spoke N’ Heard is a collective of artists, entrepreneurs and social innovators, united by our passion for social change and community empowerment, with a focus on the holistic progression of humanity through the arts. This organization was started out of a desire to provide youth/young adults with a safe space where they can share their stories and experiences. Through our events, programs and campaigns we aim to spread awareness regarding mental health stigmatization and address issues of equity facing individuals from marginalized and racialized communities.
Street Voices is a youth-led quarterly magazine that aims to unite the Toronto shelter system and at-risk communities abroad
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