Local businesses commit to community impact at newly launched coworking space

Posted at 7:31 PM, Oct 01, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Fueling an environment dedicated to social impact. It's the mission behind a coworking space on Indy's northwest side that launched during the pandemic.

The center itself is on the second floor of Mercy Road Church Northwest. It was started by a pastor, a professor, and two business professionals who all attended the same church.

Each business located at the Nexus Impact Center, off I-465 and Michigan Road, is required to embed community impact into its business models.

"They all had different stories from their perspectives about how they could use their business for good, how every person has a purpose to be lived out," Nexus Impact Center's Executive Director, Robin Lee said. "How do we unite and fuel that so we can all work together to make a better world and better community?"

That's how the idea for an impact center evolved. Nexus Impact Center opened in January of 2020 with a mission to inspire and equip people to embed impact into their business plans.

"They can have intentional programs around how they hire people like hiring an underserved demographic," Lee said. "Other ways people embed impact is being intentional about how they purchase goods and services from minority-owned businesses, from companies that minimize their carbon footprint."

"I remember telling someone, man this is an awesome place, but I can't get in here because I'm not a social impact organization. The person was like, 'No you are.' I said, 'You mean I can be in here?'" Daryle Johnson asked.

Johnson is the President and CEO of Ideation to Valuation. He helps companies through a five-step process achieve sustainable growth.

"A lot of things I do involve helping businesses at no charge, in this realm that qualifies as social impact," Johnson said.

After working at home during the pandemic, he discovered Nexus Impact Center after looking for coworking spaces in the area.

"The way that the organization has created this culture of family, I've not only gotten business here, but I've been able to help other businesses here," Johnson said.

In order to help businesses that move into Nexus incorporate social impact into their business model, leaders ask if they are contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development goals like quality education and gender equality.

"Then they start thinking about what they're doing with their business, and they realize, 'Oh, I am,' and I think I could even do that even more so that's what we're trying to help them do," Lee said.

At Nexus, leaders believe in order to help resolve and prevent some of the problems impacting families in our community businesses have to start thinking about social impact.

"I really believe fostering more of an impact-based social enterprise mindset with for-profit and nonprofit is really the answer to making some serious progress in our communities and make this a better world," Lee said.

Nexus Impact Center members have 24-hour access. Leaders say it's like a gym membership, but for work. Coworking memberships start at $49 a month. The goal is for businesses to grow and move into private office space and eventually move out of Nexus because their impact has spread.