On November 17, Impact Hub Santa Barbara celebrated the opening of its third location at 1221 Chapala Street, the former Orfalea Foundation Downtown Center. The event was also a mixer for the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region. The facility will officially be open for business on December 1.
About 100 guests mingled and enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres. During a short program, Impact Hub Santa Barbara (IHSB) cofounder Diana Pereira welcomed the guests and related how the vision for Impact Hub was for a center of collaboration in Santa Barbara. She shared her enthusiasm for the launching of Impact Hub’s first incubator course that week, which featured 11 ideas that will change Santa Barbara for the better. She also spoke with excitement about Impact Hub’s future in creating social enterprises and other innovations here in Santa Barbara.
IHSB provides its members with a collaborative work environment and event space and offers educational programs and events. Members are entrepreneurs, activists and other professionals. IHSB’s mission is to create a community that will positively impact people and the environment through innovative solutions. Impact Hub is a membership organization; joining IHSB entitles members to other use other Impact Hubs as well. There are about 60 hubs in the United States; worldwide there are about 100 hubs and about 16,000 members.
IHSB opened its first location at 1117 State Street in July 2016 and its second location in the Funk Zone in April of this year. It now has about 350 members. All ages are represented, with the average member age in the early 40s and a third of members being over 50. According to Pereira, the draw for leasing the Chapala Street location was its large event space, which will allow Impact Hub to host conferences, workshops, seminars and other events for up to 80 people. The space also offers private office spaces, co-working spaces, and a patio.
Previously, as the Orfalea Foundation Downtown Center, the facility was made available free of charge to area nonprofits. Pereira is sensitive to this loss and tried over several months to find a foundation partner that would allow Impact Hub to offer the space free or at a significantly reduced rate to nonprofits, but without success. In the absence of a partner, Impact Hub will offer nonprofits a 20 percent discount on the rental of the space.
Impact Hub offers a free day pass to anyone living in the Santa Barbara area to test out the co-working space. For more info about Impact Hub Santa Barbara, go to impacthubsb.com.
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By Gail Arnold