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All photos courtesy of Impact Hub Ottawa/John Julian.

Hub and Spoke: Helping Ottawa do good better

By Andrew Monro on September 9, 2016


Andrew Monro is Apt613’s correspondent at Impact Hub Ottawa, writing about the many innovators that call Hub home. Hub is a co-working space at 71 Bank Street for projects with a positive local and global impact.

James Chan, Impact Hub Ottawa’s Programming Lead, and the rest of the team at “The Hub,” were all energy on Wednesday night, August 31st, showing off their creative space on the sixth floor of 71 Bank St. and the crowd of people that call the space their “work community.” They have run Hub & Spoke events even before they had their current space, bringing people together from a range different professions and sectors to network and show off their latest offerings.

“Other people have co-working spaces. We have a community that also happens to have a space.”

This year, they showcased a dozen organizations, each offering some form of professional development or capacity-building opportunities, geared toward the social enterprise sector. “You will meet someone new, and you learn something new,” Megan Monafu, the Hub’s Artist-in-Residence, said to the crowded room that night.

The evening had a structured schedule – each organization had three minutes to talk about themselves and their latest ideas and developments. This was interspersed with rounds of facilitated networking.


There were five organizations that I thought had particularly interesting offerings:

Aga Khan Foundation Canada

Nathan Bowers-Krishnan, representing Aga Khan Foundation, talked about the need to measure development effectiveness, and how important this is for organizations committed to the “triple bottom line” (measuring an organization’s social, environmental, and financial impact). “We need to change the narrative of development coming from a model of charity to one of investment,” he told me.

As part of this, Aga Khan offers an International Youth Fellowship, and international development training program and an eight-month placement overseas to Canadians under 30, giving them the opportunity to build skills in development management, microfinance and microenterprise, and media. Aga Khan’s aim, through the Fellowship, is to nurture leaders in global development. You can learn more about this opportunity here.


Citizens Academy

Laine Johnson, representing Citizens Academy, was promoting her organization’s Civics Boot Camps, aimed at educating people about how to engage with their city and civil society, by providing them with skills and knowledge to create constructive solutions to understanding and influencing the Ottawa context, and how and why communities are built the way they are. Magic happens when people meet people who are unlike themselves,” she exclaimed. Applications are currently open to all Ottawa residents 18 and up for their Fall Boot Camp – a series of six sessions, one three-hour session each Wednesday evening starting October 19th, which include a light supper, guest speakers, presentations and practical group work. For more information, check them out here.



“We want to keep creatives in Ottawa, and make it a place that both inspires them and pays them.”

Toni Van Eeden and Cassandra Olsthoorn represented Artpreneur, a one-day conference set for Nov. 5th at the Shenkman Arts Centre, bringing together the Ottawa art and entrepreneurship community. Now in its 4th year, Artpreneur is an opportunity to meet and connect with local artists and other creative people in the community and learn about the role of entrepreneurship in their creative success. This is also a chance to tap into the latest trends and resources for the arts market and community and to learn how to handle the business of selling and marketing your creative work. For more information, check out their website, or Apt613’s profile of Artpreneur.


Centre for Innovative Social Enterprise Development (CISED)

CISED’s mission is to support social enterprises in Ottawa in bringing about transformative social change in the way we work and live. “We are your one-stop shop to help build and grow the capacity of your social enterprise,” said Aleatha Bedard-Poole, who, along with Mike Bulthuis, were talking about the resources that CISED provides. They offer free one-hour coaching sessions each Thursday for anyone interested in starting or developing their social enterprise. They also offer loan capital, up to $5000, plus additional grant funding, up to $2500, for social enterprises looking to grow and develop as part of the Social Enterprise Stimulus Ottawa project (with deadlines at the end of September, and again in January).

On top of that, they were also promoting the imminent opening of the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, a business acceleration hub, where they, in partnership with Invest Ottawa, will be providing services and support for Ottawa’s entrepreneurs and companies. They will be leading the Social Enterprise Platform, where social enterprises can benefit from the full range of services from CISED and other tenants, including Invest Ottawa.


Makerspace North

Makerspace North is about creating the possibility and providing the space for entrepreneurs and creatives to experiment, realize their creative endeavours, and to make mistakes,” said Ashley McConnell, Makerspace North’s community manager. Starting at the end of September, they are running Shop School, part of an education series called The Creative Lab, which aims to teach artists and ‘makers’ about the challenges of modern business. Shop School is a workshop focused on online business development, covering topics including e-commerce, product photography and audience engagement. While the start date for Shop School is not set yet, you can find out more by contacting Makerspace North through their website here.

For more on Impact Hub, visit their website or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

Impact Hub has a full line-up of learning and development programs  this fall as well. Their Masterclass series  kicks off Wednesday, September 14th with Design Thinking for Innovation and Change, led by Sara Fortier, CEO & founder of design think tank Outwitly Inc.  Masterclasses can be chosen ‘a la carte’ as a single or series, and cover four emergent, crowdsourced topics: Digital Storytelling; Design Thinking; Systems & Network Mapping; and Fundraising. For full details and registration visit Impact Hub Ottawa