The HUB comes to Honolulu


This is part of a series of articles written about Envision Hawaii, Honolulu’s monthly First Tuesday gathering that showcases the coolest, greenest goings-on in the emerald of the Pacific. Ecopreneurist is proud to be the official media sponsor of Envision Hawaii….see previous Envision Hawaii articles and speakers here

The green coworking space known as the HUB is coming to Honolulu. The Hub is “designed to facilitate the creation of sustainable impact through collaboration.” It’s a coworking space and so much more. Based in Vienna, the HUB has now spread to about 40 cities on 5 continents.


“Instantly I walked in and saw a room full of workspaces,” said Shanah Trevenna, who had visited the HUB San Francisco and was the featured speaker at this month’s Envision Hawaii. “Then you looked around and saw someone baking organic cookies as part of their business in the commercial kitchen. There was a big board room where entrepreneurs could have weekly meetings. It’s a community. They were getting into yoga and tai chi, there was a gallery where art could be displayed….I even got to go to an incredible party where they opened up both floors and you could socialize and interact with other participants.”

“There were also theme days, so you might have a day about food, and all the members, entrepreneurs and nonprofits working in the food space would get a chance to showcase their products.”

Trevenna said that people working in the green space generally all want to see three main tenets come from their work:

  1. An economy built on people, planet and profit
  2. Mimic nature
  3. Create a values-based economy

Trevenna said that on her visit to the HUB in San Francisco, this is exactly the kind of economy she saw being created at the HUB. The HUB in San Francisco sent the leaders of HUB Honolulu a roadmap to create our own. Chenoa Farnsworth, leader of HI Impact (an impact investing group) and Hawaii based venture accelerator Blue Startups, is helping to co-found Honolulu’s HUB.

At the moment, HUB Honolulu is in the process of finding space and recruiting members. To locate work space, Kamehameha Schools is working with the startup group to host the HUB Honolulu on its commercial property in Kakaako, an urban area seeing heavy redevelopment efforts to move it from a manufacturing and warehousing area to an area of high density housing and walkability and livability.

There will be a board assembled to run the HUB, and a perspective launch party in September. Financially, upfront investment is attainable, but for the long term success of the HUB, the space needs roughly 200 members who would pay about $200 a month for 10 hours of use per week, Trevenna said.

Questions from the audience came up about having a “maker space” at the HUB Honolulu, where inventors might have access to a full wood shop, machines, a 3D printer, etc. Monica Ross, a local yoga instructor, said that the HUB could also help fill the space that many people are unsure of in their lives regarding holism, wellness, and spirituality, saying that people do their best work when they are in balance. Matt Johnson, entrepreneur and founder of Oahu Fresh (local CSA), commented that cold storage, commercial kitchen space, and other large scale implements of local food startups would be tremendously helpful.

“Every conversation I have seen in the HUB becomes an innovative model,” said Trevenna, citing her experience visiting the San Francisco HUB. “You could send an email to the group and say ‘We’re going to have a conversation about cold storage at the HUB’, and you’d get a lot of expertise and interest from the community to help build the cooperative effort.”

Find out more about the HUB at


About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on