(Photo by Juliana Reyes)
Social entrepreneurs, sign up for free space at Kensignton’s Impact Hub this month.
The massive coworking space is offering 50 free seats for companies that have a social mission. (They have to have their business licenses and be registered as an LLC, according to the announcement.) As of Monday, half the seats were taken already but there are still spaces open, said executive director Dominique Aubry.
The offer is a way to identify companies that “may not be traditionally deemed as ‘social good’ but are adding value to the world nonetheless” and to see how Impact Hub can better serve social good companies, Aubry wrote in an email.
Impact Hub wants to be the city’s premier workplace for social entrepreneurs. In an interview last December, Aubry said Impact Hub hopes to help Philadelphia become the national capital of social good, invoking the words of other local tech leaders who have spoken about how the city could be the Silicon Valley of social entrepreneurship.
The coworking space, which inherited its three-floor, 27,000-square-foot space when makerspace 3rd Ward unexpectedly shut down, is part of an international network of coworking spaces (one launched in Washington, D.C. last fall). That’s one of the perks of joining Impact Hub Philly, Aubry said. It’s a network of 10,000 members nationally, including Google.org and Elance in San Francisco.
The Philadelphia space is the biggest Impact Hub of them all, in terms of square footage, said Aubry, who was tapped to run the space last fall and currently lives in Germantown. When we last caught up with her a few months ago, the space’s coworking desks were about one-third occupied and most of the private offices were filled. All the companies in FastFWD, the city’s social good accelerator, also had office space in Impact Hub but the program has since ended.
During our December interview, Aubry talked about developing other types of programming for the space — making more use of its event space, possibly offering classes and hiring someone to run a forthcoming community kitchen (its original cofounders left the project last fall). Makerspace NextFab is also opening its second outpost on the first floor of Impact Hub this month.
“We don’t start and end with coworking,” Aubry said.
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