Spotlight: Idea Factory in Pioneer Square

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The Center for Impact and Innovation opened last fall in the former Masins Furniture building in Pioneer Square.

Haven’t heard of it?

It is a joint venture of The HUB Seattle, a co-working space for social entrepreneurs, the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, which offers MBAs focused on social responsibility, and Social Venture Partners, which connects philanthropists to nonprofits. Add to the mix companies like OneWorld Now! and Ashoka Seattle, which have private offices at the center, and you get a hotbed for the creative and socially conscious.

By joining forces, the organizations hope to generate a natural “cross-pollination.” Because they share space and resources, participants will also share ideas and inspiration, and the resulting synergy means a higher-quality yield for everyone.

To maximize all the idea sharing and innovation, the center has renovated the old furniture store into a sleek collection of offices, conference rooms and meeting spaces, all outfitted with the latest technology. Individuals and small businesses can rent offices on a part- or full-time basis, and no membership is required to participate in the center’s classes, mixers and other events.

One such event, sponsored by The HUB last fall, was #SocEnt Weekend: Next 50, an effort to improve the world in a single weekend. Dozens of teams competed to come up with viable business plans to solve issues like pollution and unemployment. The winning team submitted a plan to convert untreated human waste in India into biogas and compost.

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