Why We Left Everything Behind to Kick-start Impact Hub Berlin
28 September 2015 - Impact Hub Berlin


Nele Kapretz, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Impact Hub Berlin, shared with Impact Hub Zurich how leaving everything behind freed them to finally kick-start Impact Hub Berlin.

This guest post, written by our managing director Nele Kapretz, was originally featured on the Impact Hub Zurich blog.

“We always thought of ourselves as a team with strong principles and beliefs. But this time we were convinced – Impact Hub Berlin wasn’t going to happen. After putting more than one year of work into this project, we were done.

In January 2014 we decided as a team to turn our back on this dear dream and search for new ways to channel our passion of fostering an societal change in Germany.  We drafted a goodbye email to our community and parted our ways without even bothering to send it out.

But parting into different directions only made us aware of two things: there was no appealing alternative out there and, contrary to what we had preached in our workshops,  we hadn’t even prototyped. So with a gut feeling that the best was yet to come, we got back together and identified our problems, failures, learnings and areas of actions. We compiled all of this in a visual report and sent it to our community to share our journey and implicitly ask for support – and support we got. A befriended co-working space offered us parts of their space to prototype Impact Hub Berlin for six months. The only catch? We had to open within three weeks. So we activated our network and a few hours later had 23 people willing to move in with us. Boom – we finally broke the spell.

We collaboratively built the space with our community and now had a showcase to attract investors, convince a landlord of the concept and run first educational programs at universities. We received a prize by the government, invited to the chancellor and in May 2015 open our new home in downtown Berlin. 

below: Nele, featured in a photo alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Deutschlandforum

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Today, we proudly host our diverse community of governmental organisations, global NGOs and corporate innovation teams besides our ever-growing entrepreneurial member base, while organising inspirational events and running nationwide programs. 

Looking back, we are happy that persistence and resilience were our constant companions that allowed us to pivot our determination away from abandoning our dream to going full force into realisation. And yet we are certain that our old mantra remains – the best is yet to come.”

Check out this video for more on Nele’s story:

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