Thursday, May 02, 2013
The HUB Singapore - Local Catalyst for Global Change
Coworking space. Connected community. Curated events. Collaborative platform. Change catalyst.
The HUB Singapore is all of the above and more. Part of a global network of 40 HUBs with 6,000 over members around the world, the coworking space for social change agents was founded 11 months ago in May 2012. Funded with a start-up grant of $100,000 from the National Youth Council (NYC), it occupies the first and second levels of the NYC Academy building at Somerset Road.
With the desire to "energise ideas to make a sustainable impact", The HUB Singapore is the first in Asia, with new HUBs now being opened Seoul, Tokyo, KL and Jakarta. Locally, they have managed to gain significant traction amongst socially minded start-ups and NGOs alike. More prominent ones include One Cent Movement (a nonprofit which seeks to turn everyday transactions into "micro giving"), PlayMoolah (an online financial literacy programme for kids), and Start Now (a volunteer to non-profit matching service).
Unlike commercial co-working spaces, the HUB Singapore plays in active role in facilitating the needs of its members while nurturing them. They include social entrepreneurs, developers, investors, creatives, students, policy makers, sustainability ventures, or corporate intrapreneurs. Combining elements of an incubator, innovation lab, membership club, collaborative working environment and cafe, it connects entrepreneurs with funders, co-founders and partners in all forms of collaboration.
The HUB Singapore itself was co-founded by Grace Sai (founder of Books for Hope in Jakarta) and Gouri Mirpuri (strategist of The Learning Farm in Indonesia) with the support of NYC. Apparently, Grace had close to 400 coffee chats in nine months before launching the endeavour together with Gauri who is now based in Washington DC.
Initially drawing a revenue of $3,000 in its first month, the popularity of the space has resulted in revenues swelling to a healthy $30,000 a month after eight months in operation. Membership has also grown rapidly from an initial base of three members in its first week to its current 340.
Also known as "Hubbers" (err...no relation to StarHub ok?), members of The HUB can choose from various permutations of participation:
1) HUB Connect - those who already have a workplace but wish to attend Hubbers-exclusive events, organise events at The HUB (at discounted rates), and be connected to its diverse local and global community;
2) HUB Cowork - those seeking a regular work space at The HUB Singapore. There are 5 different tiers depending on the number of hours required. In addition, HUB Coworkers can gain access to a hosted environment, active connections to fellow cowork members, and coffee at its premises.
More details of the multiple membership tiers can be found in the link here.
Join me now on a virtual tour of The HUB Singapore and see if you're just as "infected" as I was by its positive energy, vibrant vibes and social buzz.
Hubbers can choose from any available space to plug in, work, or discuss stuff with their collaborators.
Chris Cafe (an artisanal coffee joint) is the go to place for your dose of much-needed caffeine.
Some information on The HUB and the changes which it seeks to champion around the world.
The HUB's calendar of events is literally written on the wall here. Some are free while others charge a fee.
Polaroids of the members, so you know who you're talking to.
Spaces like these are available for booking on the HUB Engine - an online application which schedules room bookings, jobs database, directory of members and more.
More spaces for "hubbing".
More "Why" messages on the walls of The HUB. Apparently, its mission is to "create environments that inspire, connect and enable people to realize enterprising ideas for sustainable impact". You can read about The HUB's identity here.
More connected coworking spaces at level 2 of the building. Some organisations like PlayMoolah have "booked" their own permanent spot in the corner, while others prefer to just hotdesk and hustle.
Some prefer a window view, and that's available too. You can tell that there isn't any formal dress code here. :)
A mini-library to inspire, inform and instigate action. "World 3.0" anybody?
If you're tired after a hard day's (or night's) work, you can catch 40 winks in this.
One of the many ideation boards in the premises.Yes, 3M's "Post It" pads are practically mandatory in an ideation heavy environment like this.
Finally, this funky red bus actually houses some members too. Its nice to be surrounded by some urban greenery.
For more information on The HUB Singapore, do check out its website here. If you're keen to change the world (or Singapore for that matter) like these guys, do check out the National Youth Fund launched by NYC.