Have you heard of The Hub? Chances are if you live outside of Europe you haven’t – until now. Thanks to a group of forward thinking business visionaries, including a group of UC Berkeley MBA candidates, on September 1st the first Hub space in the United States opened in San Francisco. This unique model provides work and event space ‘for social innovators to work, meet, connect and inspire’.
What is The Hub?
Hubs are member-based work and event spaces where social entrepreneurs, freelance professionals, artists, funders, students, mentors, and community leaders can work and interact. Working together, it’s hoped these groups will access market opportunities and capital, build community, and scale ideas.
Hubs are a type of co-working space in which members receive a set of tools and services from a community of professional hosts, mentors and local enterprises who are passionate about supporting innovative ideas. Depending on the location, Hub centers may offer donated legal services, mentor office hours, and unlimited coffee. Aside from the shared services, the real benefit to Hub members is the business incubator environment.
History of The Hub
The Hub began four years ago in London and quickly spread to 18 cities and across four continents. Today, there are nearly 4,000 Members of The Hub, interconnected by a place-based and online network. The Hub Bay Area is the first Hub location in the United States and was started in partnership with Hub Global by a San Francisco-based team who founded Good Capital and The Social Capital Markets Conference (SoCap).
“We are thrilled to be working with the people from Good Capital and SoCap, and the stellar team they’ve put together,” said Jonathan Robinson, co-founder of The Hub Global. “We have known them for years and are impressed at what they have accomplished at the forefront of a new kind of investing, and at the way they have been able to convene and build strong community.”
MBA Students Integral to United State’s First Hub
Hub Bay Area was designed by a team of architects, Hub Members, IDEO and MBA students at UC Berkeley’s Haas Business School. The space at the David Brower Center features collaborative workspaces, meeting rooms, private phones booths, kitchen and cafe, and lounge areas that reflect the dynamic working needs of its members.
Money, Mobs and Media
Being part of The Hub community includes access to their Innovation Series that will regularly produce interactive events focused on inspiration, aspiration and operation of social change. This summer, before the doors even opened, The Hub presented Money, Mobs, and Media, a panel featuring the founders of Kiva, Virgance, and Change.org. They discussed ways to create and scale community-driven non-profit and for-profit social enterprises.
“We are providing a home, inspiring community and support structure for those who are building solutions for people and planet. By connecting change-makers, sharing resources, and cultivating new ideas, we can massively increase the scale the impact of our collective work,” says Alex Michel, Managing Director of Hub Bay Area.
The Future of Hub Bay Area
Plans are in place to extend Hub Bay Area to the Mission District in San Francisco in early 2010, and into the South Bay in 2011.
“Bringing the Hub concept to the Bay Area and beyond is a natural extension of what we are already doing,” says Kevin Jones, a founder of both Good Capital and SoCap. “We convene many of the people who are making the social capital market happen in an annual conference, but The Hub is where the rubber meets the road every day of the year.”