The Center for Impact and Innovation officially opened it’s doors Friday night creating yet another bastion for the creative gestalt building in Seattle around socially conscious entrepreneuring. The Center, created through a partnership of the HUB Seattle, Bainbridge Graduate Institute (BGI) and Social Venture Partners, aims to build a community of social entrepreneurs, investors, philanthropists, and nonprofits who will collaborate on building innovative and sustainable solutions to the world’s challenges.
Speakers from each of the partners spoke about the mission and vision behind the Center. Shaula Massena from the HUB Seattle started the grand opening ceremony speaking to the collaborative nature of the Center saying in part, “Changing the world is sometimes a daunting task but I believe that we are going to do it by working together.”
Massena passed the stage to Paul Shoemaker, Executive Connector at SVP who talked about spirit of the Center. "This is not a place with an address, this is a space with an aspiration for social change,” Shoemaker said. “This is not a building. This is a place where we have a belief in the power of collaboration. And everybody in here, we're not just co-tenants we are collaborators and connectors that are bringing together the people and the ideas that going to make social change in this community.”
Co-founder of BGI, Gifford Pinchot followed Shoemaker telling the crowd that, “BGI…was the first business school to bring social and environmental responsibility to every nook and cranny of the MBA curriculum.” And that the important difference about BGI was that, “We believe that you have to think about these things all together as one thing,” not just a course or two here and there.
Brian Howe, founder of the HUB Seattle stepped up to introduce Mayor McGinn but first talked about why he helped build the HUB and the Center. “I fell in love with entrepreneurs. Because what I find is that entrepreneurs see things differently. They see the systems that have answers that are no longer working for the crises facing us today and are unwilling to take no for an answer.” He believes that they are creating a place where people can have, “serendipitous collisions with each other, find new ways to collaborate on exciting adventures that have social and sustainable impact.”
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn concluded the opening speaking about 2012 being the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World Fair and how the Fair had showcased the city of the future. “I was reflecting on that idea of the city of the future and what it meant,” McGinn began. “Fifty years ago they said we were going to be the city of the future…and we stand here today and know that we have an amazing reputation all around the world for entrepreneurs, environmental sustainability and idealistic values…we have that reputation because of you folks in this room.”
McGinn, joined by Gifford Pinchot concluded the ceremony by formally cutting the ribbon, officially opening the Center and kicking off the festivities.
The Center for Impact and Innovation is located at the HUB Seattle building in Pioneer Square. It occupies more that 35,000 square feet in the Masin’s Furniture Building at the intersection of 2nd Ave S and the 2nd Ave S Extension. The HUB Seattle offers memberships for social impact organizations, sustainable innovators, nonprofits, investors and mentors, which provides coworking space, access to support services and discounted meeting and event space.