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Newest Motor City Match business, Lab Drawer, opens in Detroit to provide children STEAM educational kits

Oct 6, 2022

  • The Lab Drawer offers STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Mathematics) experiences and learning to aspiring young children ages 10-14.
  • Motor City Match has awarded $10.1M in cash grants, 85% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses and 74% women-owned
  • Lab Drawer is 139th brick-and-mortar Motor City Match business to open to date

Oct. 6, 2022 (DETROIT) – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and city leaders today helped to open the city’s 139th brick and mortar Motor City Match business to open in Detroit. The Lab Drawer is an Ed-Tech monthly subscription box full of cross-functional learning experiences for children ages 10-14. Inspired by the look of a chemistry lab drawer, every box includes materials and instructions for a unique STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts & Mathematics) experiment.

The new business, which is located inside the Durfee Innovation Society in the city’s Dexter-Linwood neighborhood, is owned by Dr. Alecia Gabriel and Dierdre Roberson. Lab Drawer was awarded a $50,000 Motor City Match cash grant in the 19th of the program that ultimately aided their efforts in making a difference within the community and in the lives of parents and their children everywhere.

“Alecia and Dierdre had it in their hearts to have a business that helps to feed children’s natural curiosity and help them learn,” said Mayor Duggan. “I’m so proud that Motor City Match has been able to play such an important role in helping them their dream and build their business right here in the city of Detroit.”

The Lab Drawer has proven to be a huge success among parents and children alike, even being 1 of 30 businesses in the country selected by Target to sell their kits in stores. Dr. Alecia and Dierdre said they would like to remain manufacturing their kits in-house in Detroit.

“We truly hope that our services and the kids help to transform the lives of the students that we engage with. Careers in STEAM can provide and improve economic mobility. We can help them choose a career that will help them and their families in the future. We would like to keep manufacturing the city of Detroit to increase employment opportunity and build a more reputable future for those interested,” said Dr. Gabriel.

“Because The Lab Drawer is run by 2 Detroit-natives who are scientists, we produce a technical education product that is very engaging. We house all components of this, manufacturing everything ourselves,” Dr. Gabriel continued. “It is unique that we merge STEM and the arts. We provide a very cool and technical learning opportunity for those invested in us. When STEM and the arts are discussed, we talk about the visual arts and creating artistic models, literary arts, poetry, the performing arts, and everything else related. Incorporating the arts is very integral to what we do. This is technical for the children invested as well. We are also artists, and due to our artistic backgrounds, we can comprehensively integrate these things into our program and kits.”

Dr. Alecia and Dierdre have a passion for making a difference in the community, both presently and in the future. Due to their unique business structure, they have proven to be a huge success and beacon of hope for those who would like to jumpstart their careers from an early age.

“Motor City Match connects business owners to a growing network of support, offers critical business services, and maps out the path from idea to open. We are elated to continue supporting Detroit’s small business community as it thrives,” said Drew Lucco, Motor City Match Program Director.

After 20 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $10.1 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. This is all part of the organization’s greater goal to enhance the city’s economic development and beautify its commercial corridors.

Motor City Match continues to grow Detroit’s small-business landscape. Combined with its other small business programming, DEGC is creating a sustainable small business environment that nurtures new concepts and ideas. Motor City Match offers business owners a wide range of assistance in four tracks: Plan, Develop, Design, and Cash. The program helps Detroit entrepreneurs plan, formalize, and launch their business by providing business planning classes, site-selection assistance, financial planning, legal aid, design services, and gap funding.

Through 19 rounds of Motor City Match:

  • Total cash grants: $10.1 million (Total leveraged investment: $54.5 million)
  • Total business open: 138
  • 85 percent are minority-owned businesses
  • 74 percent are women-owned businesses
  • 68 percent are businesses owned by Detroit resident



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