6 December 2021

Qualifying to Open an Impact Hub

Recently, we shared with you that one of our two sweet rushes was looking for a place where Impact Hub Ankara would open its doors.

On the occasion of this search, I had to explain to dozens of people including property owners, real estate consultants, intermediaries, (former) tenants, friends, acquaintances, relatives; in a nutshell, a wide and colourful range of people what Impact Hub is and what it means to qualify to open an Impact Hub.

As the number of interviews increased, I realised that I was frequently resorting to one of the survival skills of social entrepreneurs: being able to explain complex issues to the other person in a simple way…

NO, IT’S NOT A IT JOB, EXACTLY.

YOU KNOW THERE WERE BUSINESS INNS, THOSE WHO HAD SHOPS THERE USED TO CHAT IN THE COURTYARD, EVERYONE USED TO DO BUSINESS WITH THEIR NEIGHBOURS FIRST…

IMMPEKT; IMMPEKT YES WITH ‘M’.. NOT APP, NO HUB.

IT WILL BE A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE; NO OF COURSE WE MAKE MONEY BUT WE WILL EARN A SIGNIFICANT PART OF IT TO INVEST IN OUR SOCIAL PURPOSE; NO, WE ARE NOT CRAZY…

And similar sentences have become standard daily dialogues for me for a few months now. Fortunately, my fitness, which is provided by the fact that I have not been engaged in any work that my mother can comfortably tell her friends for about 20 years, comes to my rescue.

Apart from those who are completely unfamiliar with these works, I have taken part in many conversations where we realised that when we say “We have become a part of Impact Hub Network and we are entitled to establish Impact Hub Ankara” to many people who are familiar with social impact-oriented works, we cannot fully explain what this actually means. So I would like to open the subject a little here.

Impact Hub New York Metropolitan Area

Impact Hub Network is a global structure that expands through a kind of social franchise model and is itself a social enterprise. However, it has very different characteristics from global networks that expand through franchises. First of all, the purpose of the Network is to increase and strengthen the social impact created by the large community of users in member Hubs. Therefore, from the very beginning, from the very first message you send sharing your intention to become a member, they analyse you, your harmony with your co-founders, your business plan and strategy not from the perspective of the money the global network will earn, but from the perspective of social impact; they measure and weigh the contribution of all these to the social impact you can create with your community in the future.

The process of qualification, in fact the process of being ‘selected’ can take several years. You are expected to prepare detailed economic and financial analyses, business plans, community strategies, spatial design fictions, structure and justifications of the programmes to be implemented, marketing plans, and develop them according to the comments and questions received. An important difference of Impact Hub here is that the nomination process is designed to be an experience that develops you and is built with a collaborative approach rather than a competitive one. You can reach a corpus of hundreds of pages that you can open and read on almost any subject you are stuck on, or another Hub founder or employee who has experienced the same problem before, that is, a ‘maker’, within minutes. You also have an experienced coach to support you from the moment you enter the candidature phase. In addition, when you are entitled to become an entrepreneur, they allocate you a ‘development budget’ for free so that you can increase the social impact you aim for, develop yourself and your team, and run your Impact Hub better.

When you become a candidate, you pay a participation fee calculated based on your own three-year financial projection and the gross domestic product of the city where you will open. This fee and the calculation behind it are determined jointly by the makers in the Network.

If you do not make it to the venture stage, the Network refunds your participation fee. Because your success and survival as social entrepreneurs is very important for Impact Hub to realise its raison d’├¬tre. The financial relationship you will establish with the Network centre after the opening is in a similar structure. There is not a ‘royalty’ that you have to pay no matter what, but a share that you will transfer from your income. If there is no income, there is no expectation of a share.

The preparations you make, the videos, the plans you present are first approved by professionals specialised in this field. Then you have to go through the review of the Membership Committee. But this is not the last stage. In the last stage, you are introduced to other Impact Hub founders from all over the world and answer their questions.

At the end of this long, challenging but instructive process, if you are successful and can pass to the Venture stage, you get the right to open an Impact Hub in a certain region (in our case in Ankara). An Impact Hub that reaches the initiative stage is given a total of 18 months to open the venue. One of the important differences of Impact Hub is at this stage. The global network does not own a part of the Impact Hub you will open; on the contrary, you become one of the right holders of the global brand. In addition, you join the International Impact Hub Association, which breathes the spirit of the Hubs and guides the global structure, and you have a direct say in the management through its highly developed structure, which operates quite differently from the governance models we are used to in our country. In other words, during this application period, the Impact Hub Network actually finds new owners, not new branches.

One of the important features of the Network is transparency, as can be understood from what is described in this article. Both the system and the people in it are open. Information that is kept ‘secret’ in many similar organisations is accessible to everyone in Impact Hub.

This is what we are actually trying to explain when we say that we are entitled to open Impact Hub Ankara.

his is what we are actually trying to explain when we say that we are entitled to open Impact Hub Ankara.

Now, how can I explain all this to an ‘average’ real estate agent, whom everyone can more or less visualise in a 5 minute phone call? Among the ones I have been able to come up with so far, the one that is our favourite among the team is roughly as follows:

THINK LIKE A GYM; WE WILL HAVE MEMBERS, EACH FROM A DIFFERENT SPORT, WE WILL HAVE DAILY, MONTHLY, ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP PACKAGES ACCORDING TO THEIR NEEDS, WE WILL OFFER THEM SERVICES, THEY WILL COME AND TRAIN WITH US; THEY CAN EVEN BRING THEIR WHOLE TEAM IF THEY WANT. BUT NOT JUST COME, TRAIN AND GO, WE WILL WORK SPECIFICALLY TO DEVELOP ALL THESE ATHLETES, AND AS THEY ACHIEVE SUCCESS, THE SUCCESS OF OUR GYM WILL INCREASE.

If necessary, you can use it with peace of mind to explain Impact Hub ­čÖé