Impact Hub Vienna Leads Mind-Shift About How Businesses Should Define Success

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The Impact Hub Vienna community is made up of social businesses addressing challenges both locally and globally. We spoke to Kristen Cole about the drive to pursue enterprising ideas and success:

How would you describe Impact Hub Vienna in a few words?

Impact Hub Vienna (IHV) is Austria’s first incubation and acceleration ecosystem for impact entrepreneurs. Part innovation lab, part community center, and part business incubator, we provide change makers with the resources they need to innovate creative business solutions and technologies to society’s most complex challenges.

Impact Hub Vienna Leads Mind-Shift About How Businesses Should Define Success

Kristen Cole, Marketing Team Lead at Impact Hub Vienna

What is your role at Impact Hub Vienna and how did you get involved?

I am the Marketing Team Lead at Impact Hub Vienna, and I found the Hub when I moved to Vienna and began working here as a consultant. I needed to find not only a coworking space but a professional community where I could connect with like-minded peers and grow. My research led me to Impact Hub Vienna and through some divine intervention, they were looking for someone with my skillset.

The Impact Hub is not only a coworking space but also an ecosystem for inspiration and collaboration. Who are the people joining you?

We have a diverse community of impact entrepreneurs, freelancers, business experts, investors, and changemakers who all come together around a single purpose — tackling the grand challenges faced by our society using innovative business ideas and technologies. Together, we are working toward creative solutions to climate issues, social inclusion, education, equality and more. Our community is comprised of people who are passionate about change.

Tell us a bit about your opportunities at Impact Hub – what can entrepreneurs expect?

Entrepreneurs who work from IHV have access to an extensive support network as well as a community of peers they can tap into as they grow their ideas into profitable businesses. We offer a variety of workshops where founders can learn business competencies they’ll need to be successful as well as events to connect with stakeholders in their industries. We also have full-scale accelerator programs for comprehensive, rapid business development.

Which startup success stories were involved with Impact Hub Vienna already?

CarAMel is a perfect example of what it is to be a member of IHV. The founders met at one of our weekly community events and found a shared passion in tackling social inclusion of refugees in Vienna. Together, they then started a business that provides jobs for approved asylum-seekers in Austria. They quickly scaled their business beyond the walls of the Hub and are still growing. That’s just one of the many inspiring stories of our members.

You have put a strong focus on social businesses. In your opinion, how does your contribution impact society?

In my opinion, the way we think about business is broken. There seems to be a misconception that successful businesses can’t be both good for society and also profitable. Impact Hub is working to change that by helping support entrepreneurs who understand the possibility and the value of being both. We’re leading the way for a significant mind-shift about how businesses should define success, and I believe that will have compounding and lasting impact.

What do you think makes Impact Hub successful?

Impact Hub is successful because of the incredible community we have managed to build. On any given day someone can walk into our space or take part in one of our events and they’ll meet ten people who are willing to help them get the contacts, business expertise, or peer support they need to be successful. While the startup world can be aggressively competitive, our community embodies the values we hold of creating change through collective action.

86 Impact Hubs around the world are currently open, 30 of which are located in Europe. If there is one thing you can wish for in improving the European startup ecosystem, what would it be?

I think Europe is already making great strides at removing some of the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs with the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. There are stark differences between the administrative processes of starting a business in the U.S. versus in Europe, and here it is quite costly and complex to launch a company and hire employees. Putting the right support systems in place to help founders through this process will be critical.



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