Explaining incubation: the black box

Mainstream consciousness still has some up-grades before grasping how social business incubators and incubation programs work. If you’re trying to explain to friends or family what the HUB is and they’re looking at you like you’re talking quantum physics, try the “Black Box” metaphor.


A Black Box is something of interest because it works (i.e. transforms something into something else of higher value), not because of how it works. In that sense, trying to figure out how incubation spaces or programs work seems to be beyond the point. There’s more interest in comparing the output to the input and evaluating the differences.


Take Tereza Jurečková, founder of Pragulic, a Prague-based initiative that offers city tours guided by homeless people. Tereza could sit at home, in a cafe or in an office and work on her project. The difficulties a solitary entrepreneur faces are more or less common knowledge, so is the fact that social entrepreneurship comes with a bonus set of challenges. Instead of playing it solo, Tereza applied for the Social Impact Award, which won her a prize to get her venture started and a HUB membership to keep the start-up curve rising. Even if she feels that in her native country (Czech Republic) “social enterprises still cannot exist as profitable companies”, she joined the Investment Ready Program Warm-up “to get a better understanding of impact investment and of how it can work.” With impact investment being on the rise, one can argue that new ventures are better off entering incubation “black boxes” than staying outside.


This should give your conversation partner a better understanding of why  incubation is awesome even if they way it actually works cannot yet be fully understood or easily explained. Reading the inventures.eu report on the Investment Ready Warm-up might also help, as well as joining Social Impact Award’s Volunteers Info-evening on December 10th.


As a social entrepreneur, what else are you having a hard time explaining to “outsiders”? Drop us a line on facebook and we’ll make your case.

Matthias Reisinger IMPACT IS… Doing what makes you come alive in a way it contributes to more than just yourself. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE BECOMING PART OF THE IMPACT HUB VIENNA TEAM I was finishing my studies and building up emersense, the NGO which gave birth to the Hub WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Prototyping the new way of doing business WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HAVE ACHIEVED AS PART OF THE IHV TEAM BY THE END OF THE YEAR? Hosting the impact eco-system in Austria and bringing it to the next level WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT SUNDAY LOOK LIKE? Excercize + Chillaxation + Good Food & Good Movie in Good Company WHAT IS AN ABSOLUTELY RANDOM FACT ABOUT YOU THAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW? When I was learning the piano as a child, I refused to learn the music pieces I was supposed to, but only wanted to play my own compositions PLACE OF BIRTH? Linz, Austria LANGUAGES YOU SPEAK? German, English, French

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