Business Week in Seattle: Impact Hub

Impact Hub is a company that provides co-working space and that also includes an innovation lab. With this concept, entrepreneurs are more inspired. Working together in a common space every day lets them have the necessary tools and encouragements to succeed in their projects. In Seattle, and we presume at the other offices around the world, there are so many people with different background and from different origins. There is so much diversity that a unique and interesting atmosphere is created, where innovation can emerge! People that just arrived at Impact Hub do not need a lot of time for integration. If you are motivated and engaged, this company will not let you down. In fact, Impact Hub will support you in testing your ideas before putting them on the market.

People that have their office in the Impact Hub Seattle pay only $35 per month. Instead of just hosting you, the company provides many different activities, dialogues and conferences about topics that are directly related to social entrepreneurship. Therefore, entrepreneurs can interact with other participants and talk with them about their projects.

Additionally, you can sign up for the programs that Impact Hub offers. For instance, Impact Hub Scaling Program is a program that supports social entrepreneurs to scale-up locally or internationally. There can be up to 100 social entrepreneurs involved in this program each year. This program is available through 8 Impact Hubs across Europe. Throughout one year, a team of top mentors supports entrepreneurs to successfully scale their businesses. The aim is to drive forward social innovation and create positive impacts on our society. The mentors and partnering experts of the Impact Hub Scaling program are there to help the social businesses find the best solutions whether they are through joint ventures, expanding or franchising. These expert mentors are chosen to provide all participants with knowledge, skills, access to investor networks and advice throughout the program.

The Scaling program offers custom back-ups, meeting unique needs thus enabling the participants to increase their social impact. In the days following our meeting with Impact Hub, we visited incubators like Techstars. Techstars’ accelerator had many similarities with Impact Hub’s scaling program.

Matthieu Mazières: “The organisation of the conference was very interesting. In contrast to most companies, they did not choose to use the typical PowerPoint presentation and speaker. It was different, and I think ithat was representative of the way that Impact Hub functions.

Impact Hub decided to organise the visit into two parts. The first one was a presentation of what they do. Several different people came to speak to us and a woman hosted the session by asking questions and adding extra information. They were sitting on (beautiful) chairs on a stage. The stage was a little bit higher than us. It gave us the feeling of participating in a news or a movie interview. The Speakers were dynamic and their answers to our questions allowed us to further our knowledge of the company.

After that, we split into two groups and we visited the Impact Hub building. It was very pleasant because we were given freedom to look around by ourselves. It was a nice experience, and we found the Impact Hub building to be very fancy.”

Noémie Millau: “What caught my attention the most in Seattle’s Impact Hub was the inspiring atmosphere. Everything is designed to help people develop and test new ideas. The urban open-spaces enable people to interact with each other in a quiet and plesant space. Thanks to these spaces, entrepreneurs can take advantage of the  skills  processed by different people around them. Impact Hub is a strong support system for people who have ideas but don’t know how to realize them.

Furthermore, I deeply enjoy the fact that Impact Hub innovates every day and concentrates its effort on improving the work environment. People have access to free coffee and food thanks to sponsoring. After the opening of a cafeteria in the hall, they are thinking of creating a cooking workshop to both develop the cafeteria and enable people to cook in Impact Hub. A masseur will also be stationed at Impact Hub very soon.

However, Impact Hub faces some problems related to its status. in fact, the most difficult issue for this kind of company is its relation with money: impact Hub wants to be a non-profit company, but they have to generate money in order to pay. Even if there are a lot of donations, it is not enough to make the company viable. That is why Impact Hub has implemented a rent that you have to pay each month that allows you to use their space. Impact Hub also hosts start-ups in a building that used to be a hotel. They pay a rent that is in line with the price of the housing market in Seattle and thus is competitive. Impact Hub is trying to be both a profit and non-profit company and that is in itself very interesting.

To conclude, I find Impact Hub to be an inspiring company since it succeeds in mixing innovation, improving social connections and helping develop strong networks for entrepreneurs.”

Enzo Rieucau: “I had never visited a co-working space before going to Impact Hub. What really impressed me was the network of co-working spaces that Impact Hub created. I didn’t know that Impact Hub Seattle was only a node in a huge global network of more than 80 different locations. It was impressive to see how beneficial Impact Hubs can be. They can really make a difference and give new dimension to some of the projects managed there. Impact Hub is not only an innovation lab, but also a real community centre where entrepreneurs can make significant change.

We had the opportunity to meet some of the entrepreneurs who work in Impact Hub Seattle and one word reigns there: diversity. They come from different backgrounds, different cities, and different communities. However, they all work with the same purpose: giving back to their communities and tackling social issues that are part of them. Thanks to all of the resources provided by Impact Hub, they can get involved and be part of new active community which will support their goals to become social innovators of tomorrow.”

 Bérénice Comolet, Frédéric Hussler, Matthieu Mazières, Noémie Millau, Enzo Rieucau


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