A global movement

Impact Hub Amsterdam is part of the world's largest network for impact business. A global movement that started with a group of University graduates who wanted to test the boundaries of the status quo. Securing the London’s Royal Festival Hall for a millennium event in 2000, they wanted to initiate debate on the connections between global environmental, social, and political issues, persuading Nobel Prize winners and influential thinkers to speak. Even the Dalai Lama was enlisted for a video address.

Their boldness saw them invited to host a part of the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development two years later in Johannesburg. But instead of accepting the impersonal conference venue they were offered, they chose to create an alternative summit. They joined the local community and activists in Soweto who were working together to turn the township wasteland into an arts, environmental education and community hub, called Soweto Mountain of Hope - a.k.a. SOMOHO. Their statement outshone the official UN Summit and touched heads of state, as well as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
South Africa Sowetos Mountain of Hope. SOMOHO was once a dangerous and deserted wasteland. It has been transformed by the local residents into a garden with a playground, theatre, sculptures and a vegetable patch. The next plan is to convert the tower into a restaurant. During the world summit Somoho was visited by Kofi Annan and showcased to the UN as an example of sustainable development. Somoho also functions as a community centre running education and health programs. People from all over the world come to visit; they stop in the café and purchase souvenirs in the gallery. Somoho now employs 30 people as tour guides, craftsmen, administrators and shop keepers. The next stage is to convert the tower into a restaurant.
Kgolo works part time as a tour guide and also runs the photography and editing facilities in the media house. 
"In 1994 I was in standard 7 at school, later on in my school career I specialised in accounting and Maths. I joined the Somoho project in 2001 when we first began to clear up the mountain. In ten years time I see myself having my own production house. I will produce documentaries, have my own photo agency and studio and also have my own tourist company that organises trips in Soweto."

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Soweto Mountain of Hope - SOMOHO

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People's Summit at SOMOHO, 2002

Back home they attracted a group of academics, creatives and researchers from across all disciplines and industries to come together to discuss the opportunities they saw to change the status quo and tackle urgent world issues. They found a building in the center of London, in Islington. What started as a run-down loft was renovated into a community designed interior with recycled and reused materials. Here they brought changemakers together through a shared workspace, a valuable network and events to advance their ideas and create new collaborations.

After two years members took the concept to others cities to find out if there are more people who want to work together to change status quo. They were right: what started in London spread to three continents and nine hubs by 2008 and has since evolved into a huge movement in 102 cities, across five continents with 16,000 members and counting.
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Impact Hub Zurich

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Impact Hub Zurich

A local experience of a global movement

Each Impact Hub has its own local flavour, responding to the needs of the impact makers locally. And each Impact Hub has its own look and feel. Lagos has a heart shaped pool. Impact Hub Montreal is located in a former church. Impact Hub Antigua offers a stunning view of volcanoes, and members of Impact Santa Barbara travel between the Impact Hub in their city in the morning to finish at their Impact Hub at the beach in the afternoon.

These are just some examples of Impact Hubs around the world. And you can discover them all. Since it’s free for members to work three days a year from each impact Hub in the world, it’s time to immerse yourself in the local experience of a global movement.

Want to become a member of Impact Hub Amsterdam? Sign up here.