As we wrap up our pilot of the creativEcosphere program, we're grateful for the sponsorship of Impact Hub MSP. This coworking space and social impact community supported us from the beginning in developing a "pre-accelerator" for early-stage ventures. They hosted the pilot's two cohorts of entrepreneurs and helped us recruit participants — about half of the entrepreneurs who joined creativEcosphere were already Impact Hub members, and more have joined during the program. Impact Hub was also the venue for a fundraiser for the program: Connect the Grey curated "Work in Progress," a show of photography by Janie Hanson and Rachel Jackson, at the Impact Hub space, with proceeds partially funding the curriculum development and administrative needs to run creativEcosphere.
Impact Hub MSP launched in late 2014, and became an official Impact Hub last year — joining a network of more than 80 Hubs around the world. They support their membership base of entrepreneurs and small businesses not only with space to work in Minneapolis' North Loop and resources like wifi and printing, but also through networking events, classes, partnerships with other local organizations, and "Communities of Practice" for members with common interests.
Now approaching their first anniversary as an Impact Hub, the organization is continuing to evolve. On Wednesday, May 18, Impact Hub hosted a Town Hall Meeting to share and develop ideas for how they can grow and improve. Attendees (including Connect the Grey's Janie) worked in small groups to discuss and organize suggestions, weighing their own experiences as well as insights from a survey of Impact Hub's members. They collectively singled out a few major ideas, from the location itself (using old phone booths to offer some privacy within the open space) to elements of the organization's messaging (not always using the term "entrepreneurs," since some members don't identify that way). The ideas are now on display in Impact Hub's main coworking space, and visiting members can vote on which changes they'd most like to see by dropping beans into corresponding cups — see the photo above!
Among the biggest themes from the Town Hall Meeting: Entrepreneurs need both the concrete resources and the community of support to keep pushing ahead as they build their ventures. We and Impact Hub will continue to experiment with ways to provide those services and support for entrepreneurs. We've enjoyed seeing some of the recent announcements of new programming at the Hub, from jabber logic's marketing and fundraising classes to Deloitte's Impact Day for entrepreneurs.
Whether you define yourself as an entrepreneur or not, Impact Hub MSP can support what you do — even if you don't need full-time coworking space. Their network of social impact professionals and service providers, as well as their regular events for focused discussion, make them an asset, even for people who are simply curious about social enterprise. Impact Hub's Connect membership is $25 per month for 5 hours of coworking a month, giving you a place to schedule a meeting or quickly catch up on work while getting access to the rest of the Hub's resources. Learn more here about how to become a member!