Yes, it’s true…I am finally moving on from Impact Hub Kathmandu. After loads of deep thinking, I’ve recognized that the stars are aligned and this couldn’t be a more ideal time for me personally as well as for the Hub and our community. My final day as the Executive Director of Impact Hub will be December 31, 2022 – just as Nepal Communitere (Impact Hub KTM’s original name) celebrates its 7th anniversary. I’ve been with this special space since the Spring of 2016 and what a remarkable journey it’s been. Here’s a glimpse of my transformation and learnings…
How I Joined the Community
It started back in 2016 when a group of us freelancers were looking for a fun workspace outside of our homes or the typical cafes we already knew. Jaddon Park told us about this new funky space called Nepal Communitere and as soon as we stepped foot inside, I felt the pulse and pull so strong I couldn’t leave. Moving back to Patan from living abroad as a working mom, in a joint family was not the easiest. The day-to-day challenges didn’t bother me as much as a sense of belonging and purpose. I was tired of seeing what Nepal needed, all its complex problems up front and close, no more rose-tinted glasses, no sugar-coated answers to help me cope. So, when I walked into this vibrant space, I could feel the energy. People work to create real positive change, designing new solutions and collaborating to address any of the numerous problems we face. They saw an opportunity in the face of scarcity. It was amazing and something I had never experienced, especially as we were just coming out of the 2015 Earthquakes. A few of us started co-working out of one of their shipping container offices when founder Sam Bloch approached us to help support this organization into its next phase. We figured out a way to swap services for subsidized rent – and well, the rest is history!
From Shutting Down to Survival
Nepal Communitere was determined to not take any donor funding. The aim was to demonstrate how a community hub can remain self-sustainable and not be dependent on development aid. Based on that commitment, we tried desperately to create a business model to survive. It was hard…nearly impossible to stay afloat. After loads of learning and research, it was clear that most community-based hubs have some sort of “public” partner. Ideally, it would be our local government – but let’s be honest, not many people understood what we were doing, what our makerspace was about, and what innovation really looks like. We ourselves didn’t quite know what our contribution to this “ecosystem” really was until we were on the verge of shutting down. So back in 2016, we packed a bunch of diverse donors from foreign embassies, the UN, bi-laterals, and anyone in our contacts – and pitched to them. A year later one of them came back to us with our first project – to design a holistic business incubation program we called I-Cube. – and well, the rest is history.
The Way Forward
Now that we have become Impact Hub Kathmandu we’re even better positioned to take our work to the next level. This requires space for new and fresh ideas, creating space for different leadership. I won’t be far, remaining rooted in Nepal to explore this new season in life. I’ll forever remain a champion of this special hub and will continue to serve as a thought partner and advisor for the current team. But have no fear, Impact Hub Kathmandu is in very good hands with a stellar team of wonderful women. Padmakshi Rana as the new Executive Director and Aarati Joshi as the Finance Director will be stepping up as the core leadership team.
I will be hosting our Mangalvar Momos every last Mangalvar (Tuesday) of the month from 1-2 pm in our Impact Hub Kathmandu courtyard. Bring a pack of your favorite momos and share your newest passion project with us!