Tag Archives: Berkeley

Hub San Francisco Weekly Roll Up: Summer Comes!

Hey Hubbers,

Last weekend I saw a great movie called Pelada. It was a documentary about a couple from the US traveling the world looking for pick-up games of soccer. And they found games: in the alleys, in the fields, in the desert, in the prisons. I couldn’t help thinking of the global aspect of the Hub. With 30 Hubs worldwide, everywhere you go, you find people starting businesses that build a better world. So, if your summer plans are taking you out of the country, check the website, or check in with a host to see if there are folks to meet where you are going. Chances are, the Hub will have a connection for you.

Here in SF, Hub Bay Area is running a summer program with Impact Corps. We will be providing an opportunity for the next generation of talent to pursue their interests within the impact sector.  Impact-U is a three month weekend membership that provides current graduate and undergraduate upperclassman students an environment to build their network, knowledge-base and/or start-up company. If you have other questions, please email u@impactcorps.com. 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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Applications for Unreasonable Institute Are Open

The Unreasonable Institute is looking for 25 high-impact entrepreneurs, between ages 20-30, who will develop social ventures that history may one day recall defined progress in the 21st century — ventures with the ability to measurably improve the lives of millions of people around the globe. The 25 selected entrepreneurs will gather in Boulder, Colorado in May 2010 for a 10-week Intensive Institute where they will receive rigorous entrepreneurial training, daily mentorship from seasoned changemakers, and connections to the seed capital they require to launch their ideas and scale their ventures. Furthermore they will have access to an exclusive pool of capital that will be dedicated to their ventures and to prototype development.  All interested applicants can apply immediately and will find all of the details for applying by clicking this link. Official applications opened on November 15th and will close on December 15th. We firmly believe that the Unreasonable Institute is onto something great and we are happy to be helping them in their efforts to identify, incubate, and invest in the world’s most brilliant social entrepreneurs.  Furthermore we are convinced that a few of you will fit that profile perfectly.

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Check Out the Pictures from Cutting Edge Capital Raising for Small Business

Here are some pictures from last Thursday’s Katovich Law Group + Hub Bay Area event, Cutting Edge Capital Raising for Small Business.  With close to 80 guests in attendance and a panel of 7 speakers, The Hub was filled with questions and discussion.  To keep involved in the dialogue started this Hub Bay Area event, check out the Ning link here.



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2009 Harvest Gala @ The David Brower Center

Hub Bay Area friend Yonatan Landau’s organization Berkeley Student Food Collective is holding a Harvest Gala

THIS FRIDAY, November 20th from 6PM-9PM
@ The David Brower Center
Tickets are still available for this delicious feast

RSVP and purchase tickets here.

A new activist center and sustainable food business is opening in the East Bay!  After a launching successful campaign to prevent a national fast food chain from securing a contract, the food movement secured 120k to open a storefront in its place.  The Berkeley Student Food Collective will open its doors in August as a local, sustainable cafe and community center.

We’re having our big bash on Friday, come support the movement!

Ticket includes:
Dinner
Live Music
Keynote Speakers
Silent Auction
and FREE Childcare

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Cutting Edge Capital Raising for Small Business THIS THURSDAY

This Thursday, November 19, 2009, 6Pm-8PM at Hub Bay Area, Katovich Law Group will be hosting panel discussion Cutting Edge Capital Raising for Small Business – Existing Options and a Policy Agenda for the Future.

FREE, Please RSVP here, wine and snacks will be served.

Speakers include:

  • Thomas Greco, Author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
  • John Katovich, President of Katovich Law Group, Presidio School of Management Professor, and Chief Legal Officer of the Boston Stock Exchange
  • Don Shaffer, President and CEO of RSF Social Finance
  • Leslie Christian, President and CEO of Portfolio 21 Investments
  • Derek Huntington, President of Sonoma County Go Local
  • Mike Leung, Worker Cooperative Credit Union Organizer
  • Jenny Kassan, Managing Director of Katovich Law Group and President of Community Ventures

In the United States today, small businesses constitute about one-half of the private economy in terms of output and jobs, but they receive almost no investment from the nation’s pension funds or from mutual, hedge, venture, or any other kind of investment funds.  In a well-functioning financial system, roughly one-half of the investment should go to roughly one-half of the economy.

We will begin the evening with a presentation about one of the primary causes for this market failure: the legal barriers to raising capital that disproportionately burden small businesses.

Next we will discuss some cutting edge strategies that have been used to overcome these barriers.

We will conclude with a discussion of legislative changes needed to address the barriers to capital-raising for small business and the formation of a working group to move the agenda forward.

Please join us at Hub Bay Area for this engaging discussion!

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Building a New US Economy Grounded in Sustainability and Social Equity THIS WEDNESDAY

THIS WEDNESDAY, November 18 from 6PM-8PM @ Hub Bay Area

NEW DATE: Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 from 6PM-8PM @ Hub Bay Area

FREE, please RSVP here Please RSVP to this Hub Member Event here!!!

Hub member Rose Penelope Yee, co-founder of Green Retirement Plans, is a volunteer for ASBC and has invited David Brodwin to speak.

American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is a national coalition of mission-driven businesses, social enterprises, and sustainable business networks working to create a just and sustainable economy. The organizations that have become partners in the Council share a deep belief that the U.S. must build a new economy grounded in principles of sustainability and equity. The partners that have joined in this effort represent more than 20,000 businesses, social enterprises, and similar entities, plus more than 150,000 individual members, many of whom are entrepreneurs, executives or business professionals. These partners include Green America, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Social Venture Network, and many others.

David Brodwin is a co-founder of American Sustainable Business Council , a network of business associations that promotes sustainability through public policy. Before ASBC, he was president of New Voice of Business, a business advocacy group focusing on climate protection. Earlier, he was executive director at Rockridge Institute, where he worked with George Lakoff on political communications issues. At Rockridge Institute, he assisted many progressive non-profits on framing and messaging issues central to their mission.

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