A group of entrepreneurs is creating a center for social innovation in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City. Known as HUB Salt Lake, the center is expected to open its doors by late fall.
HUB Salt Lake will be located in the former Zim’s Arts and Crafts store at 150 South State Street. Right now, it’s 13,000 square feet of open space. City councilmember and architect Søren Simonsen is a co-founder, and he imagines the HUB as a workspace for entrepreneurs trying to solve societal problems.
“I’m constantly coming across people that are thinking, I really want to help solve the air quality problem, or I want to expand the work of so many organizations that are working in social services and poverty," Simonsen says. “There are a lot of ideas, but sometimes people are challenged to find the access to resources, or connecting to other professionals or services that can help their idea or initiative be successful.”
The HUB concept started in London in 2005 and is now a global network spanning five continents. The Salt Lake facility is the 14th HUB location to launch in North America. Entrepreneur and local co-founder Dustin Haggett says he was part of a HUB in San Francisco while in graduate school.
“You’ve got this space full of people working on different initiatives to better the community. They’re all different, but everyone’s supporting each other. Moving back to Utah, I really miss being a part of that,” Haggett says. “I’m most excited about pulling together all of these people working in silos across the Wasatch Front, who are passionate about bettering our community and bettering our world, and just getting all that energy under one roof.”
In addition to workspace and networking opportunities, HUB Salt Lake will provide specialized programming from art exhibits, to venture competitions, to a software programming academy. The founders are currently working on a capital campaign to renovate the space and develop programming. They’re also looking to recruit members. For more information, visit HUBSaltLake.com.