On the way to Bangalore, I stopped in Dubai for a quick 20 hours. This diversion was beneficial for two reasons: it shaved about a thousand dollars off my fare, and it also gave me the opportunity to meet with a HUB Dubai co-founder, Habib, over a sweet tea at the Shakespeare Café, and check out their new space which will be built out, occupied, and abuzz with energy come September.
My interest in these co-working spaces comes from my personal curiosities about shared space, third places, and built environment planning. But it also came from my new Bangalore boss/host, Jacob, who had mentioned his interest in launching or being part of a co-working space in Bangalore.Having toured the gorgeous HUB Seattle prior to my trip, I was excited to see the model in its Emirati form.
In the air-conditioned café before my 1pm flight, Habib told me that the HUB Dubai already has around 20 pre-opening members, and members and partners have been active participants in the Dubai’s annual Social Entrepreneurship Week. He explained one member’s start-up which transforms humidity from the airinto purified drinking water (and somewhat affordably!).
Habib also explained that social enterprise is a tricky subject in the UAE, noting that the word social almost always implies government, and the thwarting of entrepreneurial endeavors. Although he has a strong cohort of partners and members lined up, Habib said another challenge will be working with Dubai’s transient population of residents – 80% of Dubai’s population are ex pats in flux!
The HUB Dubai’s beautiful space is located in the Souk al Bahar. In the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, currently the tallest building on earth, the Souk is an overtly luxurious commercial and business plaza, that retains some of the charm of the Arab world in its design. Habib
excitedly showed me around the space, and pointed out the grassy patios opening out from the office that will be perfect for evening get togethers. I hope to be back soon, and wish Habib and the HUB Dubai team a stellar September launch.