The story behind the Impact Hub Network

Jun 27, 2018
The story behind the Impact Hub Network

Cobot loves to hear stories behind global coworking communities — this is why we invited Janna of Impact Hub Ruhr to tell us more about how a small group of creative people started to rethink work, community, and economy — and grew this idea into the global Impact Hub Network.

Guest contribution by Janna Prager (Impact Hub Ruhr, Essen / Germany)

Impact Hub is the world’s largest network focusing on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. It all started in 2005 with a group of young people in London who wanted to think differently about economy. They brought together changemakers with a shared workspace and community; they hosted events to advance their ideas and create new collaborations. Within months, the impact community started to grow in London and it didn’t take long until Impact Hubs started to open in other countries. Today, there are 100 Impact Hubs worldwide on 5 continents with 16,000 members, all working on a better tomorrow.

That is what is special about Impact Hub

Impact Hubs want to inspire, connect and enable positive change across diverse contexts and economies. They do this in order to prove that the future profit of business’ is found in projects that serve not only people, but the planet as well.

When you enter an Impact Hub you will find a buzzing community with all kinds of people: social entrepreneurs, startups, employees of partner companies, students and more. It is a major goal of the Impact Hub network to bring together different partners to create something new. It is a home for innovators, dreamers and entrepreneurs, all of whom are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues.

But what does that really mean? Impact Hubs are coworking spaces, event places and supporters of startups, by offering incubation and acceleration programs. They also partner with companies and organizations who are interested in social innovation, new ways of working, and collaboration.

Impact Hub is also very active in the German Coworking scene. You can find Impact Hubs in Berlin, Munich, Dresden and now Impact Hub Ruhr in Essen. Impact Hub Ruhr is located directly at the main station in Essen inside of Haus der Technik. From there, the team spreads social entrepreneurship and social innovation into the entire Ruhr region. The Impact Hub Ruhr team opened their pilot space one year ago and recently expanded into a bigger space.

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Impact Hub Ruhr crowdfunding campaign

In order to kickstart this new chapter, the Impact Hub Ruhr started a crowdfunding campaign. After a brilliant start the first goal of 5 000€ was achieved during the first day. 6 days later the crowdfunding page already displayed 10 000€. Amazing events like an Instawalk, a photo show, public viewing of the championship and a concert, engaged people to visit the space and to participate in the crowdfunding campaign. An impressive 16 464€ is the result of the first phase of their campaign to date. This money will be spent on a proper kitchen, office furniture and technical equipment which is needed to run this creative and professional coworking and event space in the heart of Essen. To find out what is next, visit their startnext page:

First years lessons

To get to this point, the Impact Hub Ruhr team of course had some ups and downs during their first year. The hardest part may have been their doubts about whether or not they were building something that would not only be successful, but needed in the region. Some days the team would sit alone in the Pilot Space. Not a single coworker would show up. These days weren’t really encouraging.
Luckily, in the last months, the community grew. Today there is always someone around for a quick chat or a coffee. The Impact Hub Ruhr community consists of many helpful, dedicated and great people who care — which is what makes it so special.

To continue in this way, there are exciting programs planned for the coming months: for example, the Startup Bootcamp which starts on July 20th. Cobot is sponsoring two spots here. Take your chance and apply now! Read about how to win your free seat in the Startup Bootcamp.

Hackathons will taking place in September and October and the skillshare lunch at Impact Hub Ruhr is ongoing. By offering these and other opportunities, Impact Hub Ruhr is constantly working on providing additional value for their community and the startup scene in the Ruhr area. Make sure to stop by if you are ever in the area of an Impact Hub!

Happy coworking!

Your Cobot Team

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