Tag Archives: social entrepreneurship

Hub Berkeley Weekly Roll Up: Connect

Come Connect in the Space.

Plenty of chances to meet new faces this week through next:

Today, Tuesday, if you feel like you can’t write, bring your colleagues and join Sondra Hall in the Hubble at noon as she teaches how to effectively write for anything.

On Wednesday, there’s Sexy Salad as always, but Continue reading

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Hub Stories: Sharing Solutions in the Hub

[Name] Janelle Orsi

[Areas of Expertise] Law, Food/Urban Agriculture, Co-housing

[Hub Berkeley Memory Lane]

“At our launch event, we had 130 people coming so we had a lot of food donated from local farmers. Crystal Bay Farm had donated a ton of winter squash to give out as party favors. The elevator broke that day, and Jeff and Santiago immediately jumped in and helped us carry 250 lbs of squash up four flights of stairs!”

“That was heavy food,” Janelle remembers, “but that’s how the Hub staff is– they’re just so nice!”

Janelle Orsi, practicing attorney and Co-Director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center, came to Hub Berkeley in the midst of initial construction in Fall of 2009. The Hub team had come across Janelle’s book The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community (Nolo 2009). Intrigued about her ideas about co-working spaces, they invited Janelle to visit the nascent Hub community that was rapidly taking root inside Berkeley’s brand new David Brower Center.

At a time when Hub Berkeley was merely an empty space with some dreams sketched across posters hanging on the wall, the founders– inspired by what they had seen in London– clung to the hope that some bright and idealistic people would be willing to put their faith in the space’s potential to become the vibrant center of activity that it is today.

Janelle visited the Hub and liked what she saw. Though the space left a lot to the imagination, she liked the idea of meeting people at events and in a shared working space.

“There aren’t a lot of physical spaces out there to do networking,” she explains, “mostly there are a lot of ‘shmoozing’ events that a lot of people dread!”

The Hub was close to public transportation and had a lot of good energy, so Janelle took the leap; she joined the Hub at $25 a month in order to having a workspace where she could flesh out some ideas she had brewing around shared economies. “Immediately,” she remembers “they were asking me ‘how can we help you achieve your goals?’”

Janelle describes herself as a sharing lawyer; her clients are primarily shared housing groups, co-working spaces, cooperatives, community gardens, and car sharing groups.  However,  when Janelle first  began practicing law, she found it difficult to answer certain questions that kept coming up surrounding shared land and resources– legal questions that were “outside of the box” and difficult to answer quickly because they took so much research.

That’s when Janelle decided to co-found the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) with Jenny Kassan (www.cuttingedgecapital.com), another Hub member and attorney focused on social enterprise. SELC specializes in legal research and advocacy surrounding the creation of more sustainable local economies, focusing on questions related to cooperatives, shared housing, community-supported enterprises, local currencies, urban farming, and so on. “The Hub was the space around which we built and launched SELC.”

Janelle does holds many of her meetings here at the Hub. “The Hub’s been really generous with us,” Janelle explains, by giving discounted memberships to interns and allowing SELC to use the Hubble and other meeting spaces for free at first before they had a lot of income. Last summer, SELC had four interns who loved the Hub for its proximity to Bart and its energy.

“I have another office in West Berkeley, but I don’t really use it that often. It’s boring and quiet– I would feel awful making an intern come there! The Hub, on the other hand, has a lot of energy to it and our interns love it!”

The Hub has generated a lot of interest in SELC through its extensive member network. “Promotion for events is huge– any event you host gets blasted out of a network of tons of people, and people just show up– our events have all been packed… That’s the power of the Hub network.”

In exchange, Janelle and SELC have produced valuable events and expertise for Hub members and the public.  The workshop they hosted for urban farmers last summer drew over 60 people to the Hub, and the SELC launch party was attended by over 130. Prior to the workshop, SELC provided hour-long clinics for free legal advice for urban farmers.

Nowadays, Janelle spends about half of her time running SELC. With the help of eight interns, each of whom works on a different legal question for SELC, she also has time to consult on ecovillages and shared housing, pursue her interest in small-scale food issues (read about Baker’s Bill or Cottage Food Laws), and run a busy law practice.

If you’re interested in barter, co-housing, urban agriculture, or anything else that involves sharing, look for Janelle at the Hub, pick up a copy of her book (available in the Hub Berkeley library), or find her online at  http://janelleorsi.com.

Thanks for reading!

Samantha, Your Hub Stories Correspondent


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Countdown to Hub SoMa

I’m sure you all have been eagerly awaiting another Hub SoMa update. We are about a month away now from the opening! Your enthusiasm and eagerness is pushing us all along to work harder and make sure the opening is smooth. For all of you who have been waiting for the space to open to become members, we have a new pricing model and a special trial discounted rate for those of you sign up before May 1st at the Hub 100, Unlimited Permanent Desk membership levels. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity. We only have a limited number of trial memberships available!

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Wish Fundraising was Easier? Introducing CauseShare!

Fundraising is tough, but it is also a great opportunity to bring together the people who care about what you do everyday. Dave Adams, a member of the Hub recently launched CauseShare,  a new online fundraising tool that was designed to help people and small organizations with big ideas bring together their community to raise money online.  A fundraising campaign on CauseShare gives you and all the people who care about what you do a CauseShare page, equipped with commerce and sharing tools that helps great people become great fundraisers. Learn more about it by watching Dave’s interview below.
Way to go Dave! We wish you success with your new venture.

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Would You Sell Youself for Social Change?

Introducing…The Life Investment. Have you ever though about what it would be like if people could use themselves as as an investment and not just their project?  Join the Social Capital Markets and Hub Bay Area communities on Wednesday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. for an event unlike any other you’ve been to.  As social entrepreneurs scavenge for resources to fuel their mission, a new age is dawning in social capital. The Thrust Fund is offering Social Entrepreneurs $300-$600K in exchange for 3-6% of their life’s earnings based on faith in “The People” rather than “The Idea.”
This event will be a chance for Hub and SoCap communities to come together  for an evening with people putting their lives on the line in a new mixture of trust and risk, power and money, giving and receiving, hope and fear. A new force to get the things done that need to be done may be emerging. People powered capital; a movement, not an asset class. Be part of it.
If you’re a Hub Member, we’ll give you 50% off the ticket price! For the discount code please, check your email. Please sign up here and we hope to see you at the event!

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Social Change Spotlight: Dwight Wilson

Ever wondered what you can get out of working with a community of like- minded individuals, working to create a better social economy? Meet Dwight Wilson, one of the Hub’s first members, who worked out of the Hub to begin incubating his idea for a global Peace Corps-style program of nternational volunteer service for the world’s young people . Watch this video to learn more about his initiative

Way to go Dwight! We are all rooting for your success here at the Hub Bay Area!

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Sparkseeds web of entrepeneurs

It is a great time to be a budding entrepeneur. Sparkseed has launched another social innovation competition- this one geared towards college students. It promises to provide seed money, mentoring and pro-bono professional services for the right collegiate changemakers.

Through this effort, Sparkseed is successfully expanding the web of entrepreneurs working in the social economy by finding social innovators early. If you want to support this effort, maybe spread the word to your almamater or any collegiates in your network. You can also track the progress of their entrepreneurs on the web, participate, and provide feedback as they grow and improve their ideas.

We here at the Hub are watching closely, excited to see these innovators graduate and come on in to join :)

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money, mentoring, AND exposure

A social entrepreneurs dream come true- right? If you’re looking for any of the above we’d highly recommend you explore the Global Social Venture Competition.

Past winners accepting money- this could be you!

Some requirements:

  • Every team must include at least one member who is a current student in ANY graduate business program or who has graduated from any graduate business program within the past 24 months.
  • Operating companies are welcome to enter, though they must be less than 3 years old (as measured by first revenue or first patent issued).
  • Plan can be for a for-profit or non-profit as long as either can be financially self-sustaining at scale

This could be perfect for our member entrepreneurs whom recently graduated from the Presidio School of Management. Best of luck to all the Hub entrants, and if you need help putting together a team, just give us a shout.

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West Coast Village Capital: info session Monday night

In case you missed the big announcement, the Hub Bay Area is partnering with First Light Ventures to offer West Cost Village Capital (WCVC)- a new model of investing in social enterprises using peer groups of entrepreneurs.

We’re pretty excited about the opportunity this offers our members to scale-up their social ventures, and it seems we’re not the only ones. In just the few short days since the announcement, the blogosphere is already buzzing.

If you’d like to find out what all the excitement is about, or simply share in our joy, please swing by the Hub Monday night for the info session. This is the best place to have your questions answered about how village capital will work, how to be involved, and what this means for the Hub community.

You’ll find all the details of the event here, and please do RSVP if you can. It helps us look our best for your arrival.

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2 Major Announcements from Hub Bay Area

A new day is dawning.

In a year in which traditional systems and assumptions have been disrupted, new voices of innovation and determination are effervescing.  Evangelists of community, new media, non-traditional capital markets, and entrepreneurship seek new answers to the problems of our age.  Hub Bay Area feels privileged to be a part of this movement by offering an ecosystem, resources and a platform to these voices.  It is for this reason, we are proud to announce two major developments in the Hub Bay Area community.

1)  An intent to lease at the San Francisco Chronicle for the home of our future SF Hub

2)  A partnership with First Light Capital to offer seed funding to start-up social entrepreneurs.  Informational meeting on Monday December 7th

San Francisco Chronicle Building: The SF Gate and SF Chronicle released a story about plans to renovate the Chronicle building to become a new Hub for social innovation.  The Hub Bay Area space will be over 6,000 square ft. and located on the first floor of the Hearst family owned Chronicle building.  Click here to read more.

First Light Capital:
First Light Capital has announced Hub Bay Area as the home of the new $500,000 West Coast Village Capital Fund.  Inspired by the village bank model used in microfinance throughout the world, Village Capital is an innovative investment model built on the hypothesis that entrepreneurs, working intimately together and providing peer support to one another, will be able to efficiently and wisely allocate investment to one another’s companies.
West Coast Village Capital (WCVC) is a social venture program that brings entrepreneurs together to learn from and support each other’s social enterprises.  Over the course of 12 weeks, up to 30 social entrepreneurs will work together in groups of 5 to share their knowledge, strengthen their models, and build their businesses.  Additionally, WCVC puts the investment decisions in the hands of entrepreneurs themselves.  First Light Ventures will make $25,000 and $75,000 investments in the 5-10 companies identified as most ready for seed capital.
First Light Ventures is a catalyst fund that promotes social impact through investment and infrastructure development.  First Light is testing the Village Capital model through four distinct pilot programs: West Coast Village Capital (San Francisco Bay Area, California); Unreasonable Village Capital (Boulder, Colorado); Idea Village Capital (New Orleans, Louisiana); and Dasra Village Capital (Mumbai, India).
WCVC is looking for social entrepreneurs with bright ideas and sustainable business models.  If you have a business idea to help improve the world, they want to hear about it.  The WCVC program is based in the Bay Area and will run January 19 through April 14, 2010.  Applications are due by January 7, 2010.  A public information session will take place December 7, 6:30pm at Hub Berkeley (David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Suite 400, Berkeley, CA 94704).
More information is available at www.vilcap.com.


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