How We Got Here

In 2012 community, business, and policy leaders convened the first gathering of Innovate Raleigh to explore ways for North Carolina’s capital to accelerate the growth of its local entrepreneurial ecosystem.  One clear need emerged: the city lacked a catalytic entrepreneurial co-working space that could connect emerging problem solvers and change-makers with the resources and relationships to help them grow and deepen their impact.  Shortly after the gathering, Brooks Bell and Christopher Gergen met up for lunch in Raleigh and the idea of launching a space together was born.

In partnership with Jesse Lipson, Brooks’ husband and founder of Sharefile, and Jason Widen, Christopher’s business partner with deep experience in real estate, HUB Raleigh opened with 4,700 square feet on Hillsborough Street in October 2012.  The response was electric with over 500 people reaching out in the first 45 days.  Since that time, we rebranded as HQ Raleigh, built an incredible team, moved to the warehouse district in 2014, grown to more than 48,000 square feet in Raleigh, became a certified For-Benefit Corporation, created a community of more than 150 member companies, maintained a commitment to community collaboration, and contributed to Raleigh now having over 500 start-ups!

What was born out of a set of aspirational conversations and relationships has now translated into North Carolina’s largest entrepreneurial co-working community with an ever-growing presence in Raleigh, the launch of HQ Greensboro, through a terrific partnership with Andy Zimmerman and his team, and reciprocal partnerships in Wilmington and Charlotte to help create a true state-wide network.  Our hope is to continue to deepen our impact in all of the communities we serve and growing to new cities across the South-East while staying true to the spirit in which we were born.