Social Space for Social Change
This blog post originally appeared in techvibes.com as part of a series about Coworking around North America.
Coworking, as we’ve mentioned, is a movement that brings entrepreneurs and freelancers together in one space to share values and creativity while still being independent. Like all coworking spaces, you are sure to meet and discover new and different companies. This week, we are bringing you 10 Carden – a quiet congenial space where one can share what they’re doing or planning with like-minded people.
Julia Grady & Annie O’Donoghue opened 10 Carden in downtown Guelph, ON because they knew there was a real opportunity at hand to create an inviting multi-purpose meeting space and office space for organizations that didn’t need a full-time office. “We realized that a lot of organizations struggle with day to day sustainability, and that a shared space could alleviate some of the work, leaving them with more time and resources to do their work. And fundamentally, we believe that all groups have so much more to gain from working collaboratively,” says Julia.
10 Carden’s space is a bit different than most; they focus on not-for-profit organizations that help develop social change. “It made the most sense for a NFP to be working to bring together other NFPs, incubate new ones and also work with the for-profit social change businesses,” Julia explains, “Time, effort and funds put into 10 Carden all go to furthering the mission of the organization and we’re able to harness more community power this way. If 10 Carden wins, we ALL win.”
Being nonprofit, they have a committed team of volunteers to operate the space. And membership is not exclusive to NFPs: “We don’t make a distinction between [them]. It’s the long-term goal of social change that is the driver. The for-profits we support are generally small business or emerging social entrepreneurs,” says Julia.
The community is made up of individuals and members working on social change. “[They] are [all] very community-minded, collaborative, open to sharing and innovative. Expressive, fun, passionate and plugged-in are all other ways we’d describe our members. You’re going to discover a new social change project/workshop/group that tweaks your interest. This is where the real potential is.”
All members go through a detailed application because “part of [their] long range plan to harness the collective energy of all our member organizations. So, knowing about their missions are size, sustainability, etc is key to us being able to move forward together.”
To encourage growth and movement, individuals and organizations at the space can make requests for things they would want to add; programs they’d like to see run, ideas for expansions, and other services. They even have filing cabinet space members can book, a shared fax/printer/copier, a store-front window display and a projector & screen with seating for 50. The space also hosted an art show and sale that showcased original art, photos and poetry celebrating big tree(s) on March 20th.
The expansion of 10 Carden is still underway. “We see the public meetings, discussions, workshops offered by both 10 Carden and our list of more than 30 organizations as something that will continue to grow over the next year.”