We had a great launch event on Friday 3rd and we, the iHub team, thank you all for coming. We had a great time and wonderful conversations with old and new friends.
Two years ago, after our 5 year bash, I wrote ablog post about the iHub. I had summarized the iHub as a center of gravity, providing access and engagement filled with people who convincingly are telling the story. Now, two years later at our 7th anniversary I am the interim CEO of the iHub. Life!
Since I joined six months ago, the iHub team, our investors and I have driven a transformation with a new strategy, a new operating and business model, new organizational structure, a new outlook into our future, a new facility and even a new logo. We've also developed new partnerships and new models of engagement that will carry us forward. I'd say it was a pretty impressive journey we all went through in a short period of time; clearly not for the faint hearted.
Purpose and mission of iHub 2.0
The need for transitioning towards iHub 2.0 has been mischaracterized in the past by solely focusing on commercial viability. Being a sustainable for-profit business means you must play by a few rules, such as you don't spend more money than you make. This alone cannot be the purpose of an organization and therefore iHub 2.0 is not about commercial viability but about remaining essential to our eco-system, continuing to be the center of gravity, providing access and engagement and allowing people to tell their story.
The sole purpose of the iHub is to catalyze entrepreneurship in the region. Our mission is to provide an amazing support system to individuals and startups on their journey and be a part of them achieving their dreams.
The cost of free
Last year we invested about 30% of our budget into free space. That means for everything we did, we needed to make sure that we generate 30% more income so that we can make budget, pay salaries and grow. You don't have to be a business genius to understand the risk of this approach. There is a cost to free.I fundamentally believe in the fair exchange of value. And our new model is exactly that.
OMG! iHub is charging for membership!
Our paid membership program is designed to provide value to those who seek it and for the majority of our customers, we expect payment depending on what tier of service they require. We have a lot of requests across all our offerings and I'm pleased about that.
If you on the other hand are someone who cannot afford $70 for our community tier, because you must trade our charges against working on an idea you love, contribute your time instead. Half a day every week, work with us, be it to help organizing an event, code up something for an internal project, and learn something in the process. We will share with you, what we need help with and you will pick something and help out. We give you a wonderful place to sit and meet, you give us your time. We are not going to police this. We trust people understand and value our approach. And I could imagine worse things in life than helping out at the iHub.
The higher membership tiers come with a package of services, which we will augment and refine over time, based on the feedback we will collect during our engagement. Any paying or contributing customer has the right to tell us if we are not delivering to their expectations.And we will listen and act.
Our products are very simple. The Entrepreneurship Journey supports entrepreneurs on their way to success. The Entrepreneurship Journey will offer dedicated services to startups, depending on their stage, offer teaching through the iHub Academy, and incubation programs in collaboration with our partners.
The Innovation Journey supports corporations or startups locally and in other regions to engage with the community. We play the role of a facilitator of these engagements and in some case, take an active role in the innovation process. The Innovation Journey features products such as market research services, software development, design thinking, alpha testing and facilitation of engagements between local and external partners.
Next steps and personal
I feel confident about iHub 2.0 because it resonates with our clients. And I am confident as we continue implementing our strategy we will get better at demonstrating success. We will be experiencing many roadblocks, I'm sure of it, but our strategy and operating model for iHub 2.0 will guide us going forward.
My role as CEO of the iHub is coming to an end. It has been a personal and professional experience for me second to none. We are now actively searching for an outstanding Managing Director to run the iHub. I will stay involved in an advisory role in support of the MD, our investors and the team as the Chairman of the board of the iHub.
I am truly humbled by the opportunity I was given to serve the iHub. My sincere thanks to the entire iHub team for engaging with me and building bridges for me.