The story behind Impact Hub & FINNOVATION Lab

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Impact Hub is the world’s largest network focused on building entrepreneurial communities for impact at scale. Established in London in 2005, Impact Hub is home to the innovators, dreamers and entrepreneurs who are creating tangible solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. Today, there are locations in over 50 countries, and although each Hub is unique, they all focus on creating a community of impact.

Impact Hub Minneapolis-Saint Paul began in 2014 as the Minnesota Social Impact Center, a nonprofit committed to increasing the depth of engagement, support and innovative connections among Minnesota’s social entrepreneurs. Two of Impact Hub’s Founders, Terri Barreiro and Katie Kalkman, were inspired to form a local Impact Hub when they visited San Francisco with entrepreneurship students from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. A survey of local needs and interests was completed in December of 2013 to frame what exactly the community needed. It was clear from the 110 respondents, that the Twin Cities was ready for an Impact Hub. In 2014 a Founding Board was formed including Fred Rose, Mary Rick, Ben Aase, Reynolds Anthony-Harris, Leah Goldstein Moses, Beth Parkhill, Terence Steinberg, and Tim Reardon. 

By May of 2015, MN Social Impact Center was accepted into the global Impact Hub network and rebranded as Impact Hub MSP. That fall, the Founding Team opened its doors with a proto-type space in the North Loop and Danielle Steer was hired as community and operations manager. 

What began as a small office, has now expanded into a 13,000 square foot space in Elliot Park. Along with a brand new space, Impact Hub MSP also formed an exciting new collaboration with FINNEGANS, a local beer company dedicated to turning beer into food. In 2017, Mary Rick was brought on as CEO of both the FINNOVATION Lab and the Impact Hub MSP in a new collaborative model to help build out the facility, recruit office partners, and launch new programming including the FINNOVATION Lab Fellowship.

When FINNEGANS was ready to open a taproom, they had a vision for something more than the typical brewery experience. Jacquie Berglund, founder of FINNEGANS Beer Company, wanted to create an inspiring environment within the whole building dedicated to launching the next generation of impact enterprises.  Since 2003, Finnegan’s Community Fund has donated $1.2 million dollars to nutrition programs since 2003.

This vision laid the groundwork for the FINNEGANS House, which includes the brewery and taproom on the first floor, an exclusive social club called the Brewer’s Den on the second floor, and the Impact Hub - FINNOVATION Lab on the fourth floor.

Today, the FINNOVATION Lab focuses on specialized trainings and offers venture services to support local entrepreneurs, while the Impact Hub acts as the community workspace offering private offices, open workspace and event rental opportunities.

Together, their mission is to provide a state-of-the art destination to work, meet, learn and connect, provide resources, training and capital for entrepreneurial leaders, curate peer-to-peer impact practice groups and share global best practices, and to spearhead initiatives within the Elliot Park neighborhood.