JULY 2017

Empowering Women and Girls through Tech

Impact Hub Berlin is currently looking for remarkable impact ventures that utilize technology to promote female empowerment. Together with Vodafone, Impact Hub Berlin is poised to run the second edition of F>>LANE – the social venture accelerator to empower women and girls through techThe five selected ventures will receive a stipend of 12,000 Euro to cover living and travel expenses.

JUNE 2017

Summer Construction Updates

We’ll be using the summer to make progress on some large projects that we will be unveiling in the Fall. We are giving our 1st and 4th floors a facelift and doing some construction to make way for some exciting new tenants and partnerships. While we are working to ensure the projects don’t interfere with daily operations, you may have to pardon our dust for a just few weeks in July!

We’re also scheduling out a full slate of exciting new member programs and community events for the Fall. We will be offering weekly Lunch + Learns, a speaker series, member-only events – like this afternoon’s Great Pioneer Square Chocolate Chip Cookie Taste Test – and more. And believe it or not, our 5-year anniversary is in October and we are looking forward to celebrating our journey so far.

The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Taste Test

For our monthly Member Event in June, we invited our community to settle a debate that the Impact Hub staff team has long been arguing over: where can you find the best chocolate chip cookie in Pioneer Square?  With the high concentration of coffee shops and baked goods in the neighborhood, we knew that certain cookies had to be better than others, so we organized a blind taste test of eight different cookies from the following establishments: The London Plane, Grand Central, Jimmy Johns, Subway, Convoy Coffee, Cone & Steiner, Starbucks and Cow Chip Cookies.

We invited 26 members to evaluate the cookies based on ratio of cookie to chips, overall taste and texture. They sampled, evaluated and rated each cookie one by one and only when they’d completed the taste test were the sources of the cookies revealed.

We compiled the results and are thrilled to report that our own in-house coffee stand won the challenge – 17 of 26 participants voted for Convoy Coffee’s chocolate chip cookie in the blind taste test! Here’s what some of the members wrote in their tasting notes:

“Awesome – perfection, soft with crispy edge”
“If you get a bite without salt, it’s less good but most have a granule and it seals the deal”
“The salt! The butter!”

You can swing by Convoy Coffee between 7am-4pm, Monday through Friday to try one for yourself!

MAY 2017

[Volunteer Opportunity] Real Change

Ever wanted to get out of the office bubble on a weekday for a bit, but never quite sure how? Meet the faces of homelessness in your local community – people who have just started selling the Real Change newspaper. Twice a week around lunchtime, brand new vendors go through an orientation, and we send them into the streets of Pioneer Square to start selling and earn an income for themselves. We love having volunteers make that first sale, giving confidence to vendors and building community throughout Pioneer Square and ultimately the whole city of Seattle.  Being our “secret shopper” requires nothing except 15 minutes and a willingness to walk a few blocks around the neighborhood. We provide the cash, you provide the smile. Sound like something you would be interested in? Contact Jenn Romo at volunteer@realchangenews.org.

Apply to be a SVP Fast Pitch Innovator!

Applications are open for the 2017 SVP Fast Pitch season! SVP Fast Pitch connects innovators who focus on societal challenges throughout Puget Sound with business and community leaders who help them accelerate their impact.

The SVP Fast Pitch competition includes five tracks: startup nonprofit, established nonprofit, for-profit, high school, and university. A total of 56 innovators are selected to participate. During the four-month SVP Fast Pitch program, they hone their ideas and improve their pitches via clinics and coaching from professionals. The competition culminates with the Final Showdown on October 24 with 14 finalists pitching on-stage at McCaw Hall for a chance to win cash grants and prizes (worth $500 to $10,0000+).

Since 2011, Fast Pitch supporters have provided 15,000+ hours of coaching and $1M+ in grants and pro-bono services to 300+ social impact organizations tackling poverty, homelessness, inequity in education, prisoner recidivism, climate change, and other huge challenges.

We have proudly watched some amazing companies and organizations who make their home at Impact Hub take the stage over the years, and we are looking forward to another exciting season. Attend the May 30 workshop to learn more about how to apply – applications are due on June 20!

Preserving the Sidewalks of Pioneer Square

Join the Alliance for Pioneer Square and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in collaboration with Heineken USA, as we set out to restore one of the quirkiest pieces of Seattle’s history – the prism glass sidewalks of Pioneer Square. Few cities have a collection of prism sidewalks quite like Seattle’s. That’s why we think they deserve some much-needed TLC, and with your help, we can make it happen. Support our Indiegogo campaign today and claim one of the awesome limited-edition perks – including Bruno Mars tickets – just for being a contributor to the cause!

Sound On for this startup’s journey to change the world of digital radio

Africa Business Radio deems itself a media platform with a purpose, driven to provide content that offers success for business across Africa. One of the 6 startups from Fledge9, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, founder Soji Akinlabi has grown this business from just 1 streaming radio show two years ago to over 15 shows today. Each show strives to ask the question: How will this information help local and foreign business owners do business in Africa? Topics that are broadcasted on ABR might range from addressing an unpredictable African business environment to having a local startup on a show to talk.

The past five weeks at Fledge have been eye-opening and challenging for Soji and Africa Business Radio. The multitude of different perspectives voiced and the incredible amount of advice shared by mentors has helped move the business plan forward.

New goals have been set, a new financial model has been built, and new plans are being made to include future Africa Business Radio conferences in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Kigali, Lagos, Accra, and other major cities across Africa. With just a microphone, Africa Business Radio has provided a voice for business in Africa with more yet to come.

Hear the rest of Soji and Africa Business Radio’s story at Demo Day on June 7. Tickets are on sale now – RSVP today!

[Meet the Fledglings]

Talking about doing your business, Americans take for granted how simple it is to “do your business”, flush, and get on with the day? Not the case in Uganda. The dirty truth is that the 3 million people in Kampala share just 1,000 flushable toilets.

Fledge9 introduces Joelex, a Ugandan startup with a mission to not only fix this “business” problem, but to eventually turn that waste into clean energy for cooking, lighting, and electricity for residents in rural and urban communities in Uganda. In the first five weeks at Fledge, Joelex has worked through the details to launch its next 20 toilet and shower facilities in the slums of Kampala over the next two years.

Their first facility is already up and running, already earning money, and Joelex has high hopes to bring affordable, clean, and healthy sanitation to all the residents of Kampala and other neighboring communities. Come hear the whole story of Joelex and the other fledglings at Demo Day on Wednesday, June 7th, 6pm-9pm!

[Meet the Fledglings]

The Fledge9 fledglings are now three weeks into their 10 week journey, making great progress tearing apart their business plans and making them better.

How that happens varies from company to company.  One of the best stories so far is BioGen Kenya.  They applied (three times) with a plan to turn used cooking oil into biodiesel.  They launched and are operating that business in Nairobi, expecting to come to Fledge to learn how to raise money to expand.

Digging into the opportunity, we learned that last year Nairobi passed a law making it illegal for restaurants to dump their used oil down the drain, thus creating an incentive for companies to collect that oil.  The mentors set Bryan (Biogen’s founder/CEO) a task to determine the value of that oil, to see if perchance the company could make money simply from those collections.

A week’s worth of research says that is possible, and presuming that holds true, it now seems possible to bootstrap Biogen’s growth by pivoting to be first and foremost an oil waste collection company, earning profits from that effort which can then be used to expand the production of biodiesel.

Or in short, sometimes questioning every step in a business plan can open a new, better opportunity.

We invite you to come meet the Fledglings halfway through their journey – next Tuesday, May 9 for a casual happy hour. RSVP here!

Impact Hub Johannesburg featured in Entrepreneur Magazine

“In America, as everyone knows, entrepreneurs love talking about failure. “Fail fast, fail often” has become a mantra of Silicon Valley, where fortunes are made by people who only years prior had crashed a well-funded startup into the ground. Failure has become almost a badge of pride — an experience recast as a lesson learned, a skin thickened, an entrepreneur seasoned and more fully prepared to succeed.

In Africa’s emerging startup communities, however, failure still carries a heavy stigma. Failure doesn’t make you stronger; failure makes you a failure. And the consequences of an entrenched unwillingness to talk about it can be bad for local economies and catastrophic for small-business people.”

Lesley Donna Williams, founder of Impact Hub Joburg, was recently featuring in this candid article about failure in Entrepreneur. Read her story – and the stories of several other African entrepreneurs – here!

APRIL 2017

MovingWorlds joins the Booking.com’s Booking Booster Program

In February, we announced that Impact Hub and Booking.com had partnered to design and launch a startup accelerator program aimed at turning tourism into a force for good. The final 10 startups that will participating in the Booking Booster were announced last week and we are thrilled to share that MovingWorlds, members of Impact Hub in Seattle, was selected to participate!

Nearly 700 startups with teams from 102 nationalities applied to join the program, with the United States, India, the Netherlands, Russia and Italy topping the list for the highest numbers of applicants.

MovingWorlds and the nine other selected ventures will participate in a 3-week program in June 2017 in Amsterdam that culminates with a chance to pitch to a panel of Booking.com and industry experts for grants of up to €500,000 from Booking.com. Read more about the companies here – and congratulations and best of luck to Mark Horoszowski and his team from MovingWorlds!

Impact Hubs featured in B the Change Media

“Impact Hub is not a program. It’s not a virtual platform. It’s a physical everyday place where you come. We take people way earlier in their journeys than most. We don’t do just top-level acceleration, but go from idea generation to market to growth. The Impact Hub has all the infrastructure to help you find your partners and investors.”

This quote from Gabriela Gandel, the global managing director of the Impact Hub company, was captured in an article featured in B the Change Media a few weeks ago. The article explores how spaces like Impact Hubs are supporting social enterprises – ones that make an impact worldwide!

It’s particularly timely article, especially now that we are entering the second week of Fledge, the conscious company accelerator which is based at Impact Hub Seattle for the next 8 weeks. The teams have started classes and each company is meeting with 2-3 mentors per week. We’re also happy to share that the Fledge program will head back to Lima, Peru (applications are due April 30) and Fledge11 will make it’s way to Europe in October 2017 – same program, same mentorship, new cities!

If you’re interested in gaining access to accelerator programs, meeting people who are working to change the world, and connecting in a locally rooted, globally connected space – Impact Hub is the place for you. We offer free tours of the space every Thursday at 2pm and we invite you to work here for the first time for free.

The Fledglings Are Coming!

Next week, we will welcome the participants in Fledge9 from South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda – and a few from right here in Seattle. Fledge helps impactful entrepreneurs take their ideas into reality and prototype-stage companies into growth, via an intense, 10-week program of guidance, education, and massive amount of mentorship.

  • Africa Business Radio streams business news and economic updates from across the continent.
  • Biogen Kenya turns waste cooking oil into biodiesel and liquid soap, converting waste into value.
  • BridgeCare Finance breaks down the cost barriers of high quality childcare for working families and builds savings toward college.
  • JOELEX makes sanitation accessible and affordable to the urban poor, building and operating toilets and showers within slums and market centers of Kampala.
  • Lotec Rwanda aggregates, processes, distributes, and exports fruits and vegetables from smallholder farmers.
  • Zirconia has invented a new preservation technology for a more sustainable planet.

The teams applied to Fledge to make connections, and our goal is to give them what they need to succeed. If you are curious about the program and ready to meet some amazing mission-driven for profit companies from all around the world, now is the time – RSVP today!

MARCH 2017

Rape Survivor Creates Ethical Business to Reduce Violence Against Women 

Written by Martha Burwell

Joy McBrien is a phoenix.

Having faced personal tragedy while still a teenager, she transformed that pain into a journey out of which would rise an ethical business, the healing of herself, and the empowerment of women all over the world.

When Joy was in her senior year of high school, she was raped. As she dealt with the trauma of her assault, she began to research domestic violence, and found that Peru had one of the highest rates worldwide, at nearly 70%. Wanting to learn more and make a positive difference, she volunteered in the city of Chimbote for three summers during college, building the city’s first battered women shelter. She was hosted by a woman named Anita, the local social worker who served women facing sexual and domestic violence. Anita was a transformative force both in the community, and in Joy’s life, and would become the namesake of Joy’s future company.

Read more of Joy’s Impact Story.


OneWorld Now! was recently accredited as a supplementary school by AdvancEd and the Northwest Accreditation Commission. AdvancED is the accrediting agency for more than 34,000 schools and school systems across the United States and 70 other nations.

Official accreditation supports OneWorld Now!’s strategy to offer more programs and serve more students across Puget Sound, and beyond. Their enhanced ability to work with schools and expand opportunities for students to obtain credit for world languages and global leadership classes is exciting!


Effects of the Travel Ban Hit Home

The news of the executive order on immigration and travel to the United States took a very personal turn this weekend, as one of Impact Hub Seattle’s team members was caught in the chaos and confusion.

If you’ve visited Impact Hub in the last year or so, you have likely met Saif Mubarak, who started out as our evening security guard over a year ago and has since joined the team as our Building Operations lead. Saif is the first person that you see at the front desk when you arrive at Impact Hub, and he has become an integral part of the Impact Hub community.

What you may not know is that Saif and his family moved here from Iraq, where Saif was a translator for the U.S. Army, and later worked at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He and his wife and children had traveled to Iraq earlier this month to care for his mother, and while Saif had since returned to the Seattle, his wife Rasha and the children remained in Iraq to continue care.

Everything changed for the family over the weekend. While they are all green-card holders, it was uncertain whether Rasha and the children were going to be able to come home – but after swift action and a flurry of activity over the past 72 hours, we can happily share that Saif, Rasha and his two sons were reunited this morning at SeaTac Airport after a very long trip from Dubai. (You can watch their reunion in this video and read about their story in the Seattle Times.)
No matter what problems we are faced with, we must stand up for what is right. Don’t remain silent, voice your beliefs – they are important!

Impact Hub Ventures featured in Forbes 30 under 30 

Congratulations to all of the Impact Hub startups from around the world who have been featured in this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 and Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe. Check out the list below!



We are excited for our newest partnership with KIND Snacks, which you can find each morning in the 2nd floor kitchen next to the Equal Exchange coffee stand! Expect to meet several of the KIND Snacks team members who have joined the Impact Hub community! #GiveKINDaTry next time you’re here!

50 Countries, 15,000 Members

We are celebrating the growth of the Impact Hub network to 50 countries and over 15,000 members. The newest location is Impact Hub Port-au-Prince in Haiti, which has been founded by local Seattle member David Pierre-Louis and his team. The Seattle team has been championing the Port-au-Prince team’s application and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Impact Hub family.

“Your team’s vision of changing your city and country is truly inspiring. We can see that you are not new to the ambition of creating more opportunities for Haiti… this is a unique and highly interesting local context and we are very excited to welcome Impact Hub Port-au-Prince to the Network.” 

Impact Hub members can visit any other location in the Network using the Impact Hub Passport program. Where will you travel in 2017?

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray visits Impact Hub Mexico City

One of the great things about being part of a network of Impact Hubs around the world is when our members – or in this case, our elected officials – get to visit another location and meet our friends.

Last week, Seattle’s Mayor Ed Murray visited with the members and team at the Impact Hub in Mexico City!

Mayor Murray met with entrepreneurs from Glatt Stove (creators of “La Estufita” a high-resistance portable stove which runs on an ecological fuel), Bancos de Alimentos (collects food that is in great conditions from retailers and food companies to distribute it to underserved communities),  Collective Academy (their mission is to provide the most relevant, high quality and affordable education – they are running a masters program focused on Business, Technology and Emotional Intelligence) – among others!

Impact Hub’s can serve as your local ally and convener in addition of being a great window and connector to social innovation all around the world. Visits like these strengthen the bonds between both the Impact Hubs AND the cities!


Presidio Graduate School at Impact Hub

In August of 2016, Presidio Graduate School announced the acquisition of Pinchot University. The two pioneer organizations have been the #1 and #2 sustainable MBA programs for over a decade and have a long history of sharing faculty and collaborative student and alumni ventures. Both schools’ missions are focused on creating effective business leaders who establish and sustain frameworks that ensure profitability and progress aligned with the common good.

Presidio’s Seattle campus is now based at Impact Hub Seattle and we are excited to usher in the new future of sustainability and education. In addition to maintaining two hybrid programs in San Francisco and Seattle, Presidio will also launch an online program in 2017 – creating even more opportunities for potential students to find a program that best fits their needs!

Engage Seattle: Closing the Feedback Loop

At our most recent Civic Tech Lunch Hour, we invited Tom Van Bronkhorst from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods to tell us about Engage Seattle, a new engagement strategy put forth by an Executive Order from Mayor Ed Murray.

As part of the program, Impact Hub members were invited to share our thoughts and ideas of what kind of information we want from the city and what information we want to give TO the city. Members requested things like:  transparency around campaign finance (visual summaries of donor types and amounts), safe policing that rewards transparency and community engagement; bike theft data; enforcement of traffic laws for bicycle and pedestrian safety, and much much more.

Our feedback was compiled by Candace Faber, the City of Seattle’s Civic Tech Advocate, and published in a comprehensive blog post. Much of the information that members requested is actually available – but not necessarily very discoverable. Take a look and let us know what’s missing!


Restorative Justice

Restorative justice is a theory of justice that encourages the rehabilitation of not only the offender, but the victim and the surrounding community that has been affected by the crime. In a school setting, the contract that is created between all parties to repair the harm can be used as an alternative to in-school or at home suspension. Restorative justice was also the foundation on which the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed after the abolition of the apartheid.
Restorative justice has found it’s way into the Pacific Northwest! Impact Hub Seattle was able to host the launch of the National Center for Restorative Justice – and it’s founder (and Impact Hub member) Nicholas Bradford was quoted in this great article in the Seattle Times.

Watching our members projects and passions evolve over time, and seeing how they intertwine with our own, is just part of what makes Impact Hub such a dynamic place to be.

History of First Thursday (Neighborhood)

One of the things greatest things about Pioneer Square is the First Thursday Art Walk, when all of the galleries in the neighborhood open their doors to share new exhibits. Pioneer Square comes alive in such a way that feels different then when there’s a sporting event or peak tourist season – it’s a curious, creative crowd interested in the art – and interested in exploring the neighborhood to FIND the art.

This article in the August issue City Arts Magazine explores the history of the commercial art gallery business in Seattle and how Pioneer Square became the city’s arts hub. The success of the first Thursday Art Walks (which started in 1984) have become the envy of other cities around the country, though the audience has shifted from serious collectors to a more broad public of art appreciators who aren’t necessarily collecting.

We host rotating gallery exhibits in the lobby of Impact Hub each month, and we invite you to start your First Thursday Art Walk with us before you head out to explore the rest of the neighborhood. Some of our favorite spots include visiting the dozens of artist studios located in the T.K. Lofts on 3rd and Washington, seeing what’s new at the Greg Kucera and Foster/White galleries, watching the glassblowers at Glasshouse Studio and visiting the Intrigue Chocolate shop to sample art… in the form of chocolate truffles.

JULY 2016

Unlikely Allies Recap

In July 2016 welcomed 478 attendees, speakers and volunteers from 76 different cities around the world – with 64 Impact Hubs represented!

Over the course of the one-and-a-half-day festival, we hosted 28 sessions (including 8 keynote speeches), heard from almost 70 speakers, took 80 participants around Seattle on learning expeditions, threw an ice cream social courtesy of our friends (and fellow BCorp) Ben & Jerry’s, and capped it all off with a fantastic closing party featuring the “Allies Auction” hosted by the Vancouver Economic Commission. We gave our guests a taste of Pioneer Square with food from Taylor ShellfishManu’s BodegaCafe Nordo and Kraken Congee, and served them with our favorite beverages from Fremont Brewing and Finn River Cider. Local favorite KEXP DJ Darek Mazzone was onstage providing the tunes!

The Launch Pad broadcasted live from the festival, interviewing Gabiza Gandel, Global Managing Director of the Impact Hub network; Steve Johnson, the CEO of Impact Hub Seattle; Nele Kapretz, cofounder of Impact Hub Berlin, Germany; and William Edem Senyo from the Impact Hub in Accra, Ghana. Give it a listen!

The serendipitous energy of Impact Hub was more present than ever at the Festival, and we are eager to continue building the platform necessary to convene unlikely allies in our city as we focus on solving complex issues of homelessness, arts & creativity, civic engagement and climate change. We will continue to highlight some of the reflections and takeaways in future newsletters, and we will share a full report on the festival at the end of August. In the meantime, check out this article from our media partner, Seattle Weekly, this blog post from Impact Hub member Divya Bharadwaj.


This week’s suggested read is an article in Crosscut about a woman named Emma Ray, the “saint of Seattle’s slums” in the 1890s-1920s.

The story of Emma Ray is one of a woman who worked tirelessly toward her purpose: to minister to the “lost people of Seattle.” Set against the backdrop of a Seattle undergoing tremendous growth and development, Emma Ray’s story addresses a number of social issues of that era: slavery, alcoholism, prostitution, morphine addiction, prisoner reentry programs, affordable housing, public health and safety.
Much of the story takes place in watering holes, brothels, missions and underground tunnels on 2nd and Washington in Pioneer Square – the very intersection where, 100 years later, Impact Hub Seattle is located.

What’s even more interesting is that the issues Emma Ray devoted her life to working on in our neighborhood are some of the very same issues that we see on our streets today – and set against the new backdrop of a city that is changing with the growing tech industry: chronic drug addiction, alcoholism, homelessness, the lack of affordable housing.

This is a timely reminder that many of the issues we experience in Pioneer Square are hardly “new” – they can be traced back to the very beginning of Seattle’s development – and are a reminder of how far a single person’s efforts can go to make an impact.

MAY 2016

Creative Mornings

Candace Faber spoke at Creative Mornings in March on the theme of Change. Candace is a long-time Impact Hub member, joining the community shortly after she left the foreign service and moved back to her home state of Washington:

“I just started moving forward into this grand uncertainty of having completely lost control, lost any illusion that I was going to be able to make any kind of smooth transition. And the only thing I could find in Seattle was a […] description of a ‘coworking space, event venue and innovation lab for inspiring people’. And I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be inspiring, but that’s something I would like! And at the very least, I need to be inspired.’ So I started hanging out and Impact Hub in Pioneer Square… and things started to happen.”

Link Light Rail Celebrations

Seattle rejoiced at the opening of the new light rail stations, which connects the downtown core to Capitol Hill and University of Washington. Celebrations took place on both ends of the new line and the trains themselves were packed with people eager to experience the 3.6 minute ride from Capitol Hill to UW.

The entire event was coordinated by The Workshop team, one of Impact Hub’s private office tenants. Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, another private office tenant, organized an “exotic bike petting zoo” which showcased a variety of bikes for commuters, parents with small children, and electric bikes! Susan, our operations manager, took an exhilarating ride on an electric-assist double-seater (pictured above), saying afterwards that “it was TOO FAST”.

In Capitol Hill, we found Andrea Koehler of The Coloring Project, who had commissioned two transit-inspired coloring pages from artists, and several other Impact Hub members were spotted collecting signatures for future transit initiatives and other ballot measures!