by Vinod Rajasekaran

2012 was HUB Ottawa’s opening year and it was simply amazing. We managed to create a (small-H) hub in Ottawa where people, ideas, relationships, and organizations seeking to make a positive impact locally or globally can kick-start, grow and thrive.

In 2012, we grew from zero to 140 members working in over 25 disciplines, including: arts and culture, mental health, environmental sustainability, international development, food, education, design, marketing, IT and more. All of these professionals, organizations, and social entrepreneurs call HUB Ottawa home. We’re the most diverse and enterprising community of social innovators you’ll see in Ottawa.

Over the past year, some Hubbers kick-started new projects together, some closed rounds of funding, found valuable peer or mentor support, many grew their set of users or clients, learned something new or brushed up their skills, and built lasting relationships they would not have been able to build otherwise.

We’re taking our space, community and programming a step further in 2013 which is why we are excited to announce new programs, tools and resources designed to help Hubbers accelerate their ideas, make professional connections that matter, and advance their work.

Here’s what’s new for 2013:



This year we’re taking collaboration to a whole new level using HUBNet. HUBNet is the online professional network that connects Ottawa Hubbers to each other and to the 6500+ Hubbers globally. The power of The HUB is in the experience, knowledge, network and the skills of its members – and this tool will give Hubbers unlimited access to the cumulative knowledge, relationships, experience, skills of the local and global community so they start, share or strengthen their idea, project, knowledge or professional network. Hubbers, sign up here for an upcoming HUBNet training session.


Pan-Canadian Coworking PassportOttawa Hubbers already have access to HUBs around the world. But we wanted to build a network with like-minded organizations across Canada. So, HUB Ottawa, Centre for Social Innovation, HUB Halifax and HiVE Vancouver just jointly launched a ‘pan-Canadian passport’ that allows our members to travel across our spaces and access our communities to further advance their projects.


Impact Academy
A collaboration with CISED, Impact Academy is a new professional development program to help Ottawa’s non-profit, charitable and social enterprise sectors gain the cutting-edge knowledge, skills and connections they need to better deliver products and services that change lives. The January-March session is now underway and Fall session will be in October. Subscribe to our mailing list to be the first to know about the Fall session.


Global Impact Survey
Yes, we’re data nerds! As part of measuring our community impact, we want to find out how the HUB has helped Hubbers catalyze new initiatives, gain new knowledge, meet new people, get new perspectives, and advance their work so that we can deliver better support and experiences in the future. Results from the impact survey will be published as part of HUB’s annual impact report later this year.


Our wish list:
Here’s what we’d like to work on in 2013 – but need some help!
We like to do things differently. It’s part of our DNA. So, we thought we’d take a minute to list some of the project ideas we’d like to work on in 2013. These are the projects we’re wishing for and, who knows, maybe you can point us in the right direction and help make one of our wishes come true.


‘Collaborate for Change’ Dinner+Keynote
Solving our environmental and social problems requires more than financial capital. We often forget about other ‘hidden assets’ that would deliver significant impact. We would love to convene 75 community influencers, business, community and public sector leaders, entrepreneurs, academia, nonprofits and charities from diverse generations, industries and backgrounds over dinner for two purposes. To identify the varied assets organizations may bring to solving an issue – be it financial capital, human capital, community influence, intellectual capital, technology, manufacturing or other infrastructure. And two, catalyze the ideas and connections that enable us to leverage these multiple assets for some of society’s toughest issues. We’d love to speak with community minded corporations in Ottawa who would like to be involved in this inaugural dinner.


Social Innovation Competition
Fostering innovation through incentivized competition is a widely used and an effective model to spark creativity as well as implement new and sustainable solutions. The HUB is interested in running a community innovation competition to identify and support one promising idea, project or social enterprise that can contribute to advancing a pressing social or environmental issue.

Through an individual, community or corporate sponsor, The HUB would support one promising social venture with one year of space, knowledge, programming, and access to the world’s most dynamic community of social entrepreneurs and innovators. Applicants would have a social venture of some kind, at any stage of development from conception to launch, but they must be committed to advancing the project through the year. It doesn’t matter to if it is a for-profit, not-for-profit or still uncertain – The HUB wants to support a project will make a positive difference in Ottawa.


Social innovation fund
New mission based projects, not-for-profits, co-ops and social enterprises face acute lack of financial support in the critical stages of prototyping, piloting and launch. Grant funding is inconsistent, not offered to individuals, is drying up, and most funders favour organizations with a track record. If we are to support Ottawa’s growing social innovation sector, we need a fund catered to new talent and new ideas – with an ‘impact grants’ stream and an ‘impact investing’ stream. This does not yet exist in Ottawa – and as we all know, funding is critical to accelerate new solutions for the common good. We’re looking for a one or two or a handful of individuals who have a keen interest in supporting talent and new solutions for a better world to help this get off the ground.

Wish we could look at other issues too? Send us your ideas or suggestions:

Lots of HUB,
Vinod, Core and Host Team