Impact Hub: Business Model, Locations and Events

Impact Hub is a community of social entrepreneurs who are driven by the passion to make the world a better place rather than pursue financial gain. Established in 2005 as a coworking space in London, it has grown to become a network of over 100 entrepreneurial communities in more than 50 countries across the globe. The sustainability movement is at heart the of these hubs. That’s why more and more mindful innovators, from local solopreneurs to such prominent players as Engagement Migros, Swisscom, Credit Suisse, SIX and AXA are joining the Impact Hub community.

Impact Hub business model

Each of Impact Hub’s venues can be described as a fusion of a coworking space, an incubator, an innovation center and an event venue. Impact Hub’s business model is a successful example of an inverted franchise with a bottom-up economy, where each local site owns itself as well as an equal part of the core organization, the brand name, the IT infrastructure and makes strategic decisions on behalf of the whole network.

To become part of the global Impact Hub community, one has to pay a joining fee and share a small part of the annual revenue (about two percent). The individual venues make a profit by charging entrepreneurs a membership fee for open or fixed-desk coworking and organizing different training courses and mentorship programs. Impact Hub often teams up with venture services helping new startups to get rolling. It also brings together bright businesspeople and investors who can contribute to the development of the impact investing industry.

Impact Hub’s business model has proved to be effective; however, there are always some risks involved. For example, the consequences of a local Impact Hub’s stakeholders selling their share to someone who doesn’t respect the community’s agenda, could be unpredictable and affect not only the mission but also the financial well being of the company.

Impact Hub events

Members of Impact Hub have access to a plethora of events. From a training course for journalists to practical workshops on how to attract money by changing one’s mindset, there are events to suit various needs and interests.

Impact Hub events foster people of various backgrounds and help them get access to different support programs and investments. For example, in September, the Hub in Boston will hold an event for social entrepreneurs of color.

Environmental issues are important to Impact Hub, too. Santa Barbara’s location has a Compost and Recycling Program that raises awareness of how food scraps can be turned into compost.

Members of any of the Impact Hubs can get a ticket to SOCAP18—a San Francisco-based conference for impact investors and social entrepreneurs—at a reduced price.

Impact Hub locations

The network of Impact Hub venues continually expands. It is now represented in over 50 countries and across five continents, uniting impact entrepreneurs of various backgrounds and provides them opportunities to reach mentors from multinational companies and investors across the globe.

All Impact Hub locations charge a membership fee. One can buy a day pass for members or non-members or become a resident with a personal desk and an unlimited amount of working days. A fee varies depending on the country and the level of engagement within the community. For example, a resident fee in Switzerland costs CHF 550,00 (about $558/month) while the same membership in Ukraine would cost 2000 UAH ($71/month).

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