By Maritza Martinez
When Green For All Fellow Ashara Ekundayo moved to the Bay Area from Denver in 2010, she brought her passion for creative place-making, a track record of community organizing, and an expertise in execution. Three years later, she is serving as a catalyst and connector through her work as Co-Founder and Director of External Affairs at Hub Oakland.
Hub Oakland is a social enterprise that is equal parts inspiring workspace, entrepreneurial incubator and a community of socially-minded people. As a membership-based business, they cultivate, support and connect social entrepreneurs and purpose-driven people as they pioneer solutions for a sustainable and equitable world. Hub Oakland actively challenges the entrepreneurial status quo by operating at the intersection of money and meaning.
These are the types of spaces we need to continue to build the green economy and develop solutions that will transform impacted communities. Ashara works with her Hub Oakland team to execute a triple bottom-line platform that honors people, our planet, and the profit margin, while also cultivating opportunities to be generous with one another through a shareable gift economy. “Hub Oakland is not only a start-up business endeavor. Being a founder has provided me with a platform to explore all of the facets of myself including educator, artist, tech enthusiast, burgeoning food blogger and public speaker” explains Ashara. Just like the mixed-use space of the Hub Oakland, Ashara’s talents go beyond entrepreneurship. She is an artivist, a curator and a food blogger as well. Check out her Greens and Grits food blog.
Ashara weaves together the artistic, political, entrepreneurial threads of her work as Gallery Curator at Omi Arts, which will be located at the permanent home for Hub Oakland and is slated to open in Fall 2013. Ashara explains the seamless connection between the gallery’s name and the sustainability mission of the Hub Oakland “Omi, meaning ‘water’ in the Yoruba language of West Africa, is essential to the survival of all life in our collective eco-system. Making sure that the uses of arts and culture as tools for problem-solving in my work assures me that our business will be sustainable.”
Right now, the Hub Oakland is raising funds for their new 16,000 square foot space in Uptown Oakland through a Kickstarter campaign. Their campaign Come Alive with Us will ensure that their new office space is sustainable and funded by the people, for the people. As an integral part of their Kickstarter, backers can support others by sponsoring workspace for community members who would not otherwise be able to afford membership. Ashara describes the work of the Hub Oakland as “forging pathways to fund each other’s dreams while spurring economic equity in Oakland.”
Whether you live in the Bay Area or just support the development of creative spaces for solving problems that plague our communities and our planet, I hope you will join Ashara and her team by investing in innovation and coming alive with the Hub Oakland. You can also hear Ashara talk about their Kickstarter journey next Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at our Crowdfunding Roundtable.