Impact Hub Hamburg
It’s always good to know that you can count on someone. That’s why the City of Hamburg has various institutions standing by to help founders in the early stages of their business venture. A little support here and there goes a long way to help create a flourishing startup hub, which is why Hamburg is doing this in the first place. In our “Institutions Inside” section we would like to introduce you to the most helpful points of contact in town and briefly explain what they can do for you and your business.
“Sustainability” is a buzzword that is becoming increasingly important in all areas of life. The United Nations has defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been valid since 1 January 2016. The global network Impact Hub was even established in London in 2005. The Hamburg branch is managed by Boris Kozlowski and Jose Saldana, who originally comes from Spain.
An Impact Hub is a coworking space that provides a mutual workplace for people who are committed to sustainable and social business models. Such Hubs now exist in more than 100 locations on five continents, the number of members worldwide exceeds 17,000, and there are seven sites in Germany: Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Essen, Leipzig, Dresden and Hamburg.
Boris and Jose are linked by a similar biography. They had established themselves in the classical working world with permanent positions at renowned companies but had reached a point where they could no longer find fulfilment in it. In their search for alternatives, they found out about the plan to open an Impact Hub in Hamburg and soon advanced the project together.
“In August 2019, the Impact Hub Hamburg started on a small area in Karolinenstraße, in one of the most popular trendy districts of the city. It was clear from the outset that it could only stay there for a limited period of time”, Boris recalls. That is why the search for a new, larger location was one of his and Jose’s important tasks in the following months. On the day of moving out at the end of February 2020, they signed the next rental contract and were able to move seamlessly to the new location in Große Bergstraße, in the middle of a busy shopping street in the Altona district.
There, the Impact Hub Hamburg currently has 270 square meters of space at its disposal, and next year this is going to grow to over 1,000 square meters. Then it will offer space for considerably more than the 60 members that the Hamburg community has now. It is made up of freelancers, small startup teams and intrapreneurs, meaning people from established companies who want to be inspired by the startup atmosphere.
Two basic forms of membership are available: “Connect”, which enables participation in the network and internal events, and “Hub Sailor”, which also includes a flexible workplace. To become a member, you do not have to pass an aptitude test, but the orientation towards the SDGs should be clear. Three of the startups from the Hub exemplify this: runamics produces plastic-free sportswear, Bonda offers sustainable cosmetics and ONE HUNDRED AID supports a social project in Cambodia with 8% of its income from the sale of tea and smoothie powder.
The members of the Hub benefit not only from the local community but also from the entire network in Germany and worldwide. At each location they can use the coworking space for up to three days a year. The German hubs are currently working on connecting even more closely and allowing longer periods of use.
Even though Impact Hub is a global network based on a common idea, the operators at the locations can act independently in many ways. This also applies to the generation of revenues. The contributions of the members are only one source. Companies and organisations are welcome to rent the venue for events such as workshops or hackathons and therefore contribute to success. The premises in the Grosse Bergstraße are ideally suited for this, especially the large terrace on the first floor offers plenty of space.
The planning for the event season 2020 was in full swing as the outbreak of the Corona pandemic put a damper on the plans. Hardly opened, the Impact Hub had to close down completely for almost two months from mid-March for safety reasons. The reopening began step by step in May, and recently a first live event with a limited number of participants even took place again.
Although the Impact Hub Hamburg has learned to provide digital cohesion for the community, the goal remains to fill the coworking space with as much life as possible. Even the best livestream does not offer an equivalent substitute for personal, often randomly generated contacts.
The character of the hub as a meeting place will be underlined next year by a café, of course sustainably run and with a zero-waste concept. Perhaps then, as is already the case at every workplace, small coloured cardboard cubes will be placed on the café tables, representing the 17 sustainability goals. After all, they are the foundation on which the Impact Hub is built.
Impact Hub Hamburg GmbH
Große Bergstraße 160
Tel.: +49 (0)173 198 52 47
Thank you for reading! We, the Startup Unit, hope you enjoyed this article. We’ll be posting articles on a weekly basis about Hamburg’s startup scene and everything related to starting a business. For further information about the city and its thriving startup ecosystem, please visit startups.future.hamburg