Impact Hub Baltimore is rolling out new membership pricing to make coworking more affordable for social entrepreneurs.
Under the new model, the standard coworking membership costs $50 a month for unlimited daytime access to the Station North space. That’s one-fifth the price of the initial membership that started when the space opened on the first floor of the Centre Theatre at the beginning of 2016.
Another tier offers two days a month for coworking or five hours a month for meeting space is available for $30 a month.
Along with housing companies in private offices (which are not affected by these changes), the space has hosted a bevy of events including this year’s Baltimore Hackathon and a festival to close out Red Bull Amaphiko Academy’s launch in the U.S.
The change to the coworking model after 18 months comes as a result of feedback from community members who said the old pricing model could mean a trade-off between spending resources on access to space and accomplishing the mission-oriented work of their businesses, said Executive Director Michelle Geiss.
While the pricing model will mean less money coming in per each membership, Geiss said it’s aimed at growing the current community of 160 members.
“Coworking hits its stride when the community gets big enough for people to find the right connections for whatever it is they are trying to do,” Geiss said. With a bigger community, members “will have better chances of running into someone who is addressing a similar challenge or who can make a relevant connection to advance the work.”
Geiss and Business & Operations Director Pres Adams believe part of helping spur those connections comes from emphasizing why the entrepreneurs are there in the first place. As Geiss put it, the model is also designed to emphasize “purpose” rather than the more real estate–oriented “space.”
That comes through in offerings tied to the memberships which also include meeting room and discounts on event rentals at the space.
Impact Hub is also looking to tie in more incubator-like programming with a third membership level that was introduced. For $150 a month, members can get access to advising sessions with Geiss, Adams and others, as well as workshops. Geiss said the approach is in pilot mode this fall, and is designed to formalize the kinds of help they were already providing. Scholarships are also available to help reduce the cost of this model, they said.
The new pricing does not affect the cost of private offices at the space, Geiss said.
They began rolling out the new pricing approach this summer. It’s the first time such a model has been tried at an Impact Hub space, Adams said, which has leaders in other cities interested.
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