How to make Nova Scotia kick ass, a Hub take

The Hub is a valuable asset to our economy and community, with potential to grow in Nova Scotia. We need the right kind of support. 

We want to be part of the solution and we belong at the table with decision makers. The collaboration we seek involves respectful relationships with people in positions of power that value the work we are doing.

Hub Halifax co-founders, Joanne Macrae and Tracy Boyer are publishing a series of 3 blogs to share the story of the Hub, talk about what we see happening, and share our vision for healthier economic and community development. This will be followed by a call to action. 

Part 1: About the Hub

The Hub Halifax thinks globally and acts locally. We collaborate in new and meaningful ways to support the emergence of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that inspires and equips people to take their big ideas to the next level. Diversity is key to unlocking our community potential.

The Hub is a physical workspace where individuals and organisations from various fields come together to exchange ideas and share networks. People work independently and together, building solutions to business and community challenges. The Hub is built on the belief that when individuals from different sectors and backgrounds work side-by-side, day-by-day, innovation is inevitable.

The Hub Halifax opened in February 2009 to bring people together and address four needs which seen as missing in existing infrastructure and offerings in our community:

Halifax as a talent magnet

We see our friends and young people with ambition leaving to work elsewhere because they can not find a place to work in Halifax that meets their needs. Nova Scotia’s talent is being lured elsewhere. The Hub seeks to attract and enable entrepreneurs and social innovators by providing opportunities and a space for talent to flourish. The Hub contributes to making Nova Scotia a destination for talent by providing an experience that resonates locally and connects globally.

A place to bump into the right people at the right time

Innovation and new entrepreneurial ideas often come from unexpected interactions. Making ideas successful requires access to a network of experienced and talented people as well as understanding emerging trends. It takes diverse perspectives and skill sets to create innovations that have impact. The Hub attracts a mixture of people from various fields so that creative collisions can occur, making new initiatives inevitable.

Ground that is not hard

Fresh ideas, like seeds, need receptive, fertile soil to emerge strong and productive. Regrettably, Nova Scotia does not have a reputation for being a land of opportunity. Many businesses and initiatives in the province struggle because it is often difficult to break ground and try new things, good initiatives go unsupported. The Hub fosters fertile ground to help remove barriers so that people and their ideas can flourish.

A space to take risks

Our culture is risk averse which can impede innovation. We need a place where trying something new doesn’t mean risking everything–a buffer zone that allows us to learn from failure and success. A place where big risks are possible because you don’t have to lose your shirt by trying something new.

A crucial success factor for any entrepreneur is the complete and utter confidence that they will succeed. We need to filter out the perspectives that tell us our ideas are impossible or inadequate. The Hub creates a culture where people believe in each other and themselves, encouraging one another to think the unimaginable and roll up their sleeves to do the impossible.

Six years in, Nova Scotia still has work to do in these areas and we still believe in the power of the Hub to play a critical role in the process. We have witnessed the positive impact on the more than 150 businesses that have started, taken root, and grown while at the Hub. Since the inception of the Hub, we have hosted many conversations with our members, one of whom was the Halifax Regional C@P association about a network of Hubs in Nova Scotia.

In 2012, some of those conversations led to a collaboration between the Hub Halifax and two long time members Tim Merry and Matt Hall towards the establishment of Hub South Shore. This rural Hub prototype is part of a growing movement in the international Impact Hub network to bring the Hub model to rural areas and be part of reimagining and engaging local economies. The Hub South Shore and the Hub Halifax have met on various occasions to consider establishing an interconnected network of Hub spaces across Nova Scotia. The Hub South Shore has seen early success and in April 2015 they are relocating to a new space on the main street of Mahone Bay. They articulate their evolution and the need for investment in a recent video blog.

Have a look at the following handful of successful Hub members who are part of our past, present and future:

Mindsea ~ mobile design, publishing, and delivery of iPhone, iPad, and Android app solution

Nocturne Art at Night ~ a free annual event showcases and celebrates the visual arts scene.

GrowthClick ~ help clients bring their best ideas to market and achieve greater growth online.

Carboncure ~ affordable green concrete is now a reality.

I Heart Bikes ~ bicycles are fun and we are passionate about sharing this experience.

The Springtide Collective ~ reconnecting Nova Scotians with the democratic process and imagining ways of doing politics differently.

Shindig ~ I’m Andrew Burke and I do software and other related things.

HMS Financial ~ simplifying insurance payments in Canada.

The Food Wolf ~ a food truck delivering a fusion of mexican and korean food.

Famous Folks ~ A collection of entrepreneurs, storytellers, and technologists.

Handelabra Games ~ play is important. They create fun digital board game experiences.

Centre for Law and Democracy ~ believes in a world in which robust respect for all human rights underpins strong participatory democracy at all levels of governance.

Students Nova Scotia ~ We give students a united voice in Nova Scotia.

The Sierra Club ~ empowers people to protect, restore, and enjoy a healthy safe planet.

Dale Zak ~ Mobile software developer aiming to change the world one story at a time.

Hop Creative ~ Graphic & Web Design is our specialty.

Common Good Solutions ~ supports social enterprise development in Atlantic Canada

Sunshine Renewables ~ On a mission to educate and promote the most affordable, reliable, and innovative renewable energy sources for homes and businesses.

Mapability ~ A better way to find your way. It is a map created together to empower you.