Place Category: Business Services
Impact Hub King’s Cross catalyses entrepreneurial action for a better world. It is a co-working space for social entrepreneurs based in central London.
Over the last 10 years, we have brought together a diverse group of like-minded and passionate people and built a community around bringing about positive social and environmental change. We have helped social entrepreneurs make an impact with our multifaceted and people oriented solutions.
Impact Hub King’s Cross is made up of two separate but linked organisations:
- The Hub King’s Cross Limited – a member of the Impact Hub Global Association, which aims to to inspire, connect and enable people to take entrepreneurial action in order to pioneer a just and sustainable world where business and profit are used in service of people and planet.
- Impact Hub King’s Cross Limited – set up by The Hub King’s Cross Limited in 2014 to focus on social inclusion, primarily by grant-funded programmes, which are designed to inspire, encourage and enable members of under-served communities to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey and contribute to the social economy.
No Records Found
Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.
Google Map Not Loaded
Sorry, unable to load Google Maps API.
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated January 2021
1) What are the main social differences you have aimed to make (or supported)?
Impact Hub King’s Cross (IHKX) has a mission to inspire, connect and enable people from all backgrounds to catalyse entrepreneurial action in order to pioneer a more just and sustainable world, where business and profit are used in service of people and planet. Our membership is open to all, but we have a specific focus on addressing four primary issues in the social enterprise sector and wider community:
- Improving diversity within the social enterprise sector in London, to ensure social entrepreneurship is not only a middle-class activity, but also bringing in those with lived experience of the issues their enterprises are tackling.
- Delivering fully funded business support programmes & bursaries for entrepreneurs from backgrounds that are under-represented in entrepreneurship, including: people who have experienced homelessness; migrants/refugees; Black, Asian and Minority
- Ethnic groups; women; and low-income communities.
- Supporting entrepreneurs to overcome key barriers: limited access to business knowledge; limited financial resources; and no available professional networks.
- Including these entrepreneurs in our local and global community whilst promoting inclusion throughout our organisation, including diverse representation at all levels of management and governance.
- Sustainable Food
- Supporting start-up and medium sized enterprises in the sustainable food sector to establish and grow their businesses in their communities.
- Interest and expertise originating from our ‘Food Talks’ event; our longest standing community event, 6 years, in partnership with the Food Ethics Council, Organico and Sustain. The monthly sustainable food event involves guest speakers stimulating debate and empowering action on critical food issues.
- Developed from this event was our sustainable food and drink enterprise business support programme Feeding the City.
- Climate Change
- Tackling the climate crisis by supporting environment focused enterprises through incubation and scaling, with the aim of facilitating innovative and sustainable changes to our society.
- IHKX is expanding our support in the climate sector, after successfully hosting the London Climathon, which brought citizens and experts together to tackle London’s local climate issues.
- Adapting our support to our community and other hard-hit enterprise sectors to building a resilient response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Including both business resilience and personal resilience/wellbeing elements in our existing programmes of support.
- Developing purpose built resilience programmes and business clinics.
- IHKX aims to support entrepreneurs to rebuild post-Covid, by delivering targeted support programmes for the hardest hit sectors.
The purpose of IHKX is to strengthen and support the continued growth of the social enterprise sector, through our collaborative community focus. The growth of the SE sector will contribute to tackling key social and environmental issues within wider society, that include but are not limited to: food, inequalities, homelessness, and climate change.
2) What actions have you taken to deliver the aims described above?
Impact Hub Kings Cross (IHKX) was founded in 2008 as part of the Impact Hub Global Network, which now includes 100 independent Hubs worldwide. We build ecosystems for social entrepreneurs to collaborate, learn and deliver impact at scale.
Alongside running a coworking space and online community, we deliver early and growth stage training programmes and capacity building for social entrepreneurs. A combination of direct (using entrepreneurship to create a fairer and more sustainable economy) and indirect (strengthening the social enterprise sector) actions, allow IHKX to support as many beneficiaries as possible, to further increase their social impact.
Strengthening the Social Enterprise Sector
The majority of IHKX’s work has social entrepreneurs as the direct beneficiaries. These entrepreneurs are supported in their efforts to expand their businesses whilst increasing their social impact; meaning our work indirectly supports the communities the entrepreneurs work in. This support comes in the following areas:
- 400+ members working across the UN’s SDGs, gain access to our co-working space & online platform, as well as to our community of social entrepreneurs.
- We support our members through our guiding principles of ‘Inspire, Connect, and Enable’.
- Inspire: we run inspiring community and outreach events from our coworking space in King’s Cross. In addition, we co-organise and host events at the Hub with our members. Event topics include: inclusion, wellbeing, climate and building back better post-pandemic.
- Connect: our team runs networking and ‘meet the buyer’ events, making individual introductions based on our knowledge of our members. We host social events to foster our community ethos. Members also have access to our global network of Impact Hubs (across 53 countries) as well as opportunities to engage with 11,000 global changemakers through our online community app.
- Enable: regular business clinics, and peer-to-peer support throughout the year focusing on topics such as; resilience, finance, legal, investment and sales/marketing. In addition we aim to enable social impact in our local community; by working closely with Knowledge Quarter (a consortium of 100 organisations that research, advocate and support positive inclusive initiatives), and Islington and Camden Councils to look systemically into inclusion in King’s Cross, an area that has experienced a large amount of gentrification over the past 20 years.
- Feeding the City Programmes:
- Feeding the City was co-created and is run in partnership with sustainable food experts such as Sustain and Food Ethics Council. Since its first launch we have run 4 programmes, in two formats, that have established 30 sustainable food businesses with over 300 engaged participants.
- Feeding the City: Start Up - Supports entrepreneurs to create sustainable food-related businesses that are rooted in local communities. A 12 month nationwide incubator programme that provides early start-up entrepreneurs with ideation workshops, peer-to-peer support, access to expert advice and wider training from the IHKX network. In 2019, the programme had 72% female participants and 38% were from BAME backgrounds.
- Feeding the City: Accelerate - Built on the success of Start Up, Accelerate supports sustainable food businesses through the scaling and expansion stage. This six-month programme offers ‘Meet the Buyer’ events, 1:1 mentoring and support from experts in the food sector, to adapt their business, team, financing, logistics, and processes.
- Resilience Support:
- Resilience Programme - Created in response to Covid 19, supporting more established impact-led businesses to adapt, pivot and grow their business models during this critical period. The aim is to teach key business resilience skills such as risk mitigation, diversifying revenue streams and building a strong support network. The programme consists of business diagnostics, one-to-one mentoring, workshops, and tailored advice for adapting to new challenges.
- Peer Networks Programme - Targeting entrepreneurs in the food hospitality sector, greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, this programme focused on building peer networks to foster business resilience. 24 hospitality businesses are supported through: business diagnostics, peer-to-peer learning, one-to-one mentoring, and access to networks. By bringing businesses together, they are able to collectively navigate the uncertainty caused by Covid, whilst learning from each other.
- Using enterprise to develop a fairer and more sustainable economy:
- At IHKX we have provided targeted business support programmes aimed at entrepreneurs from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds, that ordinarily would be marginalised from such support. These efforts help ensure that the social enterprise sector diversifies and better represents the people we aim to benefit. IHKX’s current direct-action programmes include:
- New Roots:
- A 9-month mentoring and peer-to-peer business support programme for entrepreneurs from a Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community and from migrant/refugee backgrounds.
- The programme builds skills and provides access to the resources, network, and expertise needed to establish a successful enterprise or career.
- To date, 40 participants have engaged within two programmes, with 70% achieving their goals and successfully starting an enterprise.
- Next Steps:
- In partnership with Crisis, a homeless charity, we are pioneering a programme to support people who are at risk of homelessness to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.
- Next Steps offers start-up funding for potential businesses and gives access to educational workshops and mentoring that will help 8 participants, over a 9-month programme.
- Participants will be supported to develop and launch their ideas with expert knowledge and resources offered by IHKX, including a dedicated business mentor, and bespoke business workshops.
All programme graduates gain access to our membership packages, which creates greater diversity within our community and establishes new networks and opportunities to collaborate.
3) What has changed, what specific outcomes and benefits have been realised as a result of the above actions?
At Impact Hub King’s Cross our indirect and direct actions have established lasting benefits for our members, programme participants and the wider community we work in.
Strengthening the Social Enterprise Sector
- Membership Survey - Overall in 2019, our members created 94 new jobs and 63% of our enterprises reported increased revenue. Our survey revealed additional benefits:
- 60% were connected with experts that increased social impact & growth,
- 76% collaborated with other members,
- 62% started a new venture,
- 58% built new partnerships with external companies,
- 62% felt supported in increasing their visibility and credibility.
- Feeding the City Impact - FTC: Start Up: By 2019 FTC had 2 graduate cohorts with 15 enterprises supported through an incubation programme and 30 enterprises supported through an ideation programme. Our endline surveys recorded additional benefits for the individuals involved:
- £97,000 awarded in start-up grants,
- 20 hours of 1:1 coaching/mentoring per team,
- 66% of participants felt confident in financial management,
- 100% felt they were knowledgeable about impact measurement,
- 75% indicated significant improved pitching confidence,
- 83% felt confident in building new business connections.
- FTC: Accelerate: The programme benefits include:
- 56 hours of expert led workshops (68% led by women),
- 104 hours of expert 1:1 sessions and additional 56 hours with the programme coach,
- 100% of participants felt they received great or exceptional support from the mentors,
- 100% felt the programme provided a supportive network of peers,
- 89% of participants felt that they had a good or expert knowledge of their businesses strengths and weaknesses at the end of the programme.
- Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the delivery of the Accelerate programme, our participants recorded significant progress in building resilience and adapting to the crisis:
- 3 businesses revenue increased and 4 stayed consistent,
- 2 businesses acquired a new certification/accreditation,
- 100% of participants indicated they knew how to support their team through challenging times (compared to 56% before the programme),
- 78% now have strategies in place to help them when faced with challenges or mentally unwell.
Using enterprise to develop a fairer and more sustainable economy
- New Roots Impact - from the original 20 participants, 50% were women and 55% identified as non-EU migrants, 14 graduated (70%). Benefits included:
- £10,000 invested in participant’s business ventures,
- Participants received 7-20 hours a month of extra mentoring time than originally scheduled,
- Participants recorded improvements in business planning/strategy, operations, marketing & sales, and financial management,
- Participants record significant increase in their entrepreneurial confidence and interpersonal skills,
- 60% felt they had access to a trusted advisor by the end of the programme,
- 90% were satisfied with their access to business networks and partners at graduation.
At Impact Hub King’s Cross we believe that positive change rarely happens in isolation. A large part of our work is to develop cross sector collaborations to enable social and environmental impact. IHKX works with and benefits stakeholders in many fields:
- Enterprise support organisations - IHKX has been at the forefront of supporting social enterprises for over a decade. Therefore we are deeply embedded within the enterprise sector and have developed partnerships including with: Social Enterprise UK, London & Partners, Newable, CASS, Business in the Community (BITC), the British Council and School for Social Entrepreneurs. Collaboration in the enterprise sector is crucial for delivering the most effective business support; as well as improving the sector by facilitating knowledge sharing and best practices.
- Funders - Many of our funders support us because they can see the direct impact we are having on our participants, we illustrate this through our impact reports which are shared with the funding organisations. IHKX also offers corporate employee engagement, which benefits our participants (who received expert mentoring), the corporate funder (who increase employee experiences), and the sector (who benefit from increased social enterprise exposure from big funding organisations).
- Sector specific actors - IHKX develops relationships with stakeholders within the sector we wish to offer support and often our programmes develop organically from our community. This is most clearly illustrated by our longest running programme, Feeding the City, in which the programmes was co-created and supported by the following food sector experts:
- Food Ethics Council, Sustain and Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital Foundation (Food sector and health expert organisations).
- Sustainable Restaurant Association, Food Chain and Shelf Now (Supply chain and producer experts).
- Waitrose and other supermarkets (Commercial/Retail Procurement Experts).
- These organisations benefit from developing relationships with start-up enterprises and increasing network connections, as well as actively directing innovative discussion on key topics for the sustainable food sector.
International Social Enterprise sector
IHKX is part of a global network of hubs that are working towards the same positive impact around the world; collaborating in multiple areas, including:
- Capacity building - for other enterprise support organisations.
- Global strategy - IHKX is an active contributor to the Impact Hub Global strategy on: impact measurement, diversity and inclusion, climate, fundraising and development.
- International programmes - IHKX has licensed our FTC programme to Berlin and supported the establishment of a New Roots programme in Munich, Germany.
4) Please describe how your income and/or any profits generated from previous years has been maximised in delivering social outputs and adding social value.
At IHKX, everything we do is about delivering value to social entrepreneurs or those aspiring entrepreneurs who face social and economic barriers. All our services and programmes are tailored to their needs, and our profits have never been substantial as we keep prices affordable. However, there are multiple areas we invest in to further the cause of our social entrepreneur community, including:
- Service Enhancements:
- We offer discounted ‘start up’ rates for members who need it (69 memberships since 2017) and fundraise for our programmes so they can be fully inclusive and even offer bursaries to start-ups.
- We implement a ‘Member Host’ barter arrangement, in which members work for half a day a week and receive a Hub 50 membership (50 hours/month in the Hub) in return. Currently we have 10 of these memberships.
- Our ‘Art of Hosting’ philosophy means that we treat members like guests in our own homes, getting to know them and introducing them to others to build personal and professional relationships.
- The Impact Hub Global Community App is offered free to members and anyone who is interested in social and environmental change. It is an online networking platform centred around the SDGs with thousands of members from 50+ countries.
- We offer business and social ‘perks’ for our members (e.g. 15% off Zoom, free Salesforce Licences) and local clinics on topics such as accountancy, legal, marketing, HR and investment. We are often able to secure free support from other organisations, such as consultancy from Boston Consulting Group.
- Subsidised Outputs & Altruistic Contributions:
- When the pandemic hit, we offered members pro bono consultancy from experts in our team.
- When we make a profit at The Hub King’s Cross Ltd, we have a commitment to pay 15% of that profit (before tax) or £5000, to Impact Hub KX Programmes CIC to support the programmes which reach the most diverse entrepreneurs.
- We are a London Living Wage employer, BCorp and are accredited with the Mayor of London’s Good Work scheme. Our salaries are transparent across the team and when we furloughed members of the team during the pandemic, we continued to pay 100% of salaries.
- Although letting event space is an important revenue stream for IHKX, when an event is providing social or environmental impact and the organiser cannot pay the full cost, we frequently offer the space on a free or discounted basis.
- We allow our employees to do volunteering on company time. We also support flexible working arrangements to allow for alternative working (we often have team members who are developing their own social enterprise or have caring responsibilities).
- IHKX does not have a substantial surplus so we are unable to make high cost social investments, but we do align everything we do with our impact objectives. We plan to develop further ‘affordable workspace’ options for our spaces in future, which would allow us to offer free or heavily discounted memberships to local people in need.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
- Community impact evaluation -the community at IHKX is made up of 400+ social entrepreneurs that benefit in different ways from a wide range of activities delivered at the Hub. The number and diversity of our members makes measuring this impact challenging, but we use multiple evaluation methods to tackle this:
- We collect feedback from members on a monthly basis, through our ‘Hub Chat’ events (informal talks and feedback community sessions).
- We conduct an annual members survey (more formal/in-depth assessment of members experience and progress). The survey is delivered in coordination with the global network member survey that assesses the impact of our wider network of Hubs on all of our members.
- Programme Evaluation -the business support programmes delivered by IHKX have built in monitoring and evaluation tools to ensure that we capture the impact our support is providing. Each programme will have subtle differences in methodology and scope, however the general structure remains consistent, using a mixed methods approach utilising the following:
- Desk research; a comparison and review of relevant support programmes for the specific sector, providing a baseline for evaluation and programme development.
- Interviews (with mentors, sector experts and programme participants), as well as baseline and endline surveys, assessing 3 key indicators:
- What has been the social impact of the participating enterprises?
- What is the broader impact of the programme and how it relates to other support?
- Has the programme been professionally/personally useful to the participants and how could it be improved?
- Internal Reporting - internally we take measures to ensure that all our impact is recorded correctly and communicated to our team; whilst also adapting our actions to increase impact or improve services when required, measures include:
- Regular reports to the board, (keeping board members involved and up to date) whilst receiving feedback to increase the overall impact of the organisation.
- Internal KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), for all staff members to ensure clear expectations and staff feedback on performance of the organisation.
- Key Measures Dashboard, recording departmental progress towards impact measurements. This allows transparency on impact development and strategy.
- External Reporting - IHKX’s external reporting takes the format of annual impact reports and programme impact reports. Examples can be found here:
6) How many people have benefitted from your actions and what measures of benefit can you report?
We have 400+ social enterprise members of our coworking space. These members come from a variety of backgrounds and work towards all of the SDGs.
Our programme beneficiaries come from a range of diverse backgrounds. In 2019/20, we engaged with over 100 entrepreneurs; with 73% of our incubation programme participants female-led enterprises and 40% of all programme participants were from BAME backgrounds.
7) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that help illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
Kina Mama - enterprise on the FTC: Start Up programme, was created from the hardship and community spirit developed in the aftermath of the Grenfell tragedy. Kina Mama is a BAME-led catering service focused on community rooted organisations that uses surplus food wherever possible. After establishing locally they needed support to formally build a business model. Since joining the programme they hired other local mothers and with our support, is developing a home delivery service for pregnant women and new mothers. The Feeding the City programme helped Kina Mama establish the sustainability and resilience of their now viable business.
“Without Feeding the City: Start Up I don’t know where we’d be.” Munira Mahmud, Founder of Kina Mama
Refugee Cafe - in Lewisham, provides refugees with a path to employment by training them in the preparation, service and sale of delicious international food at their local cafe. The cafe had ambitions to expand their space before the Covid-19 pandemic. The refugee cafe had to find a way to pivot their business to continue providing training opportunities for the refugees in the borough, despite losing their original space.
By joining the FTC programme, the Cafe were able to explore new models of working and revenue streams so they could adapt and grow, despite the challenges of Covid-19, including: selling product versions of meals, establishing a market stall and obtaining CIO status during the programme.
Food Ethics Council - is an organisation that aims to transform the discussion around food and farming to pave the way for a fair food system that respects people, animals and the planet. FEC, as sustainable food experts, have been offering their insights as a part of our community for years. They created and ran the ‘Food Talks’ events for 6 years and were co-creators of the Feeding the City programmes. They now assist in the delivery of FTC and remain an active member of our community.
Other notable examples are:
- ‘Equal Education’ who have participated in two of our support programmes and have since stayed with us as a valued, and engaging, member of our community.
- Junxion’ who have helped IHKX become a BCorp organisation and have run events in our space. They assisted in the delivery of our Build Back Better Hackathon in September.
8) What social and environmental benefits have you created arising from internal operational policies and other actions?
Recycling and the Environment
At IHKX we have fully separated bins, labelled carefully and even run training sessions for members to increase recycling rates. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, IHKX had been trialling a zero waste days initiative in our coworking space. Although the initiative was at an early stage at the time we went into lockdown, the scheme had been making good progress in reducing waste in the Hub.
In addition, IHKX has been through a supply chain review process to ensure we are operating in a socially and environmentally responsible way. We have since increased the number of products we provide from social enterprises, this includes our catering services and printer. To support this effort we have made a commitment with the Knowledge Quarter, to enhance local purchasing and recruitment across all the partners in our London region.
IHKX is continuously engaging with ReFab and Anti-Racism networks in Camden and Islington, to try and develop best practices and further implement them ourselves.
We have won the accreditation of the ‘Mayor’s Good Work’ standards. Since passing we have been in discussions about creating a version that is more relevant to SMEs, furthering the support for employees in the sector.
IHKX pays the London Living Wage (accredited) to all employees and have been encouraging our member enterprises to follow suit. Additionally, we have begun the process of recruiting new team members through Groundwork UK’s ACE programme, that supports people with disabilities and long-term health conditions back into work.