I’m a big supporter of Social Enterprise. I’ve worked with several of the leading social enterprise support services in London. I love to introduce people to the fascinating world of business for benefit.
That’s why I created the Hub Crawl – A four-hour guided tour of three of the best social enterprise coworking spaces in London – Hub Islington, Hub Kings Cross and Hub Westminster. I only run it on special occasions, but I want to describe it here to encourage you to learn more about social enterprise and these amazing hotbeds of social innovation.
You may still be wondering, what is a social enterprise anyway? Here’s my short answer – it’s an organisation that has both social and financial goals. What makes it different from a regular business? The social goals are at least equally as important as the financial ones.
What does social enterprise look like in action? It could be anything from a small group of committed citizens, like the team at Hub Westminster, to a large international organisation like the Big Issue.
And that’s what’s great about the Hub Crawl, you get the chance to see and meet people from both of these organisations, and everything in between.
The Hub Crawl Route
Hub Islington, just behind Angel tube station, was the first Hub in the world. Since it began in 2005, the team that started this Hub has spawned over 38 other Hubs . It’s proud of its heritage, and displays a large map on the wall of all the other Hubs around the world.
For me, this hub has a relaxed, shabby chic look about it, with a strong community feeling, and warm, welcoming members. We arrive at 5pm, in time to join for members for “wine @ five”.
If the weather is nice, it’s a lovely walk along Regents Canal to our next stop. And don’t underestimate the power of a shared walking journey to bring the Hub Crawlers together. There’s a lot to be said for walking meetings (3 min TED video) as a great way to connect and create new ideas.
Some people call it peer to peer learning. Hub Crawlers tend to call it beer to beer learning.
Next stop is the beautifully designed Hub Kings Cross, with its own bar and cafe. They often have special cocktail offers for the Hub Crawlers, and play us some lively music through their sound system. Split over two floors, its glass and steel decor make it one of the most professional looking Hubs in London.
It’s normally difficult to get away on time from the welcoming team at this Hub, but once we get out of the door, it’s down to the Piccadilly Line. We get out at Piccadilly Circus and make our way to our final destination.
Pass the tight security at New Zealand House, and head up one floor for Hub Westminster. This is my base Hub. I’m a part-time host of the space, I sometimes work with the team on other projects, and often work here on Thursdays and Fridays. I love to bring people up to this “superstudio for the new economy”.
Its sleek, white look feels like a laboratory to some, but the comfy corner, Wikihouse, and Greenhouse meeting rooms keep the space from being too formal. It’s also one of the biggest and newest Hubs in the global network. Its size means that it can afford to stay open later and longer than the other Hubs of London, but membership is more expensive too.
Of course that’s how all the Hubs operate – on a membership basis. Anything from £15 to £475, depending your requirements. The best thing is the flexibility of the packages, but do speak to the team at the Hub you would most like to join if you want to find out more. (If you are interested in becoming a member, send me a message and I’ll see if I can arrange a special deal for you :)
And with that, the Hub Crawl ends. Sort of.
We often head over The Chandos on the other side of Trafalgar Square to end with an unofficial pub crawl.. and because it’s a pub, we all know that’s where the real world-changing conversations happen..