10C Shared Space is a community hub and shared workspace in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. It was founded in 2008 as a platform for collaborative work to improve communities. People work, meet, eat, create and brainstorm together at 10C.
Mission and Purpose
10C Shared Space and its members break new ground through collaborations fuelled by effective relationships, entrepreneurial spirit, and dynamic research.
The purpose of the not-for-profit organization is to spark new ways of imagining and working together to fuel and create social change. Co-founders Annie O’Donoghue and Julia Grady stated, “Our goal is for the Guelph and surrounding community to know 10C as a place where information can be found and shared, where people can gather, and someplace great workshops and interesting forums are hosted.”
Origins and Development
10C Shared Space was launched in 2008 by Annie O’Donoghue and Julia Grady in Guelph, Ontario. The first 10C location was opened at 10 Carden Street in Guelph after Annie and Julia identified a need for a coworking and collaboration space in the community. They noticed a common problem among grassroot organizations and entrepreneurs: many were working on similar projects or setting similar goals without realizing. By creating a shared workspace, such organizations would be able to work together and collaborate in organic and exciting ways.
Since 2008, 10C has expanded from its initial space to a new, larger location at 42 Carden Street. It has become a part of numerous social finance and sustainable development projects and partnerships, and a hub for a diverse range of gatherings. Currently, there are about 200 members of 10C, with an average (pre-COVID-19) annual attendance at community events and workshops.
Organizational Structure, Membership, and Funding
The organizational structure of 10C Shared Space consists of a community of members, an elected Board of Directors, staff team, volunteers and organizational partners and collaborators.
10C has a variety of membership types available for community members:
- Nourish + Organization
10C’s operating budget is derived from multiple sources, such as annual membership fees, coworking and space booking fees, federal, provincial, municipal and community grants, as well as donations and community bonds.
The City of Guelph and University of Guelph are two of the most consistent and longest-standing partners of 10C, alongside many other organizations and individuals in the Guelph-Wellington area.
Specializations, Methods and Tools
10C Shared Space focuses on placemaking, community engagement, social enterprise, social finance, sustainable food systems, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (including goals #17 - Partnerships for the Goals, #9 - Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, and #10 - Reduced Inequalities). The organization strives for these priorities through a variety of projects and initiatives:
- Nurturing the membership
- Activating spaces for all
- Modeling sustainable practices
- Running, supporting or catalyzing projects
- Coaching and mentoring
- Acting as a learning hub
- Networking, connecting, convening and engaging
- Imagining and leveraging investment in a visionary way
- Helping people see and find solutions
- Acting as a home for community-based research
Major Projects and Events
In addition to community events like workshops and forums, 10C Shared Space has initiated two major social finance projects. The first is the organization’s Community Bonds Project. Through community bonds - a debt financing tool - 10C takes out loans from community members and invests in the infrastructure of the shared space.
10C’s second notable social finance project is their Harvest Impact Fund. This project builds upon the 10C social finance journey, to provide friendly lending in the form of loans and mentorship to businesses and nonprofits looking to make positive social change. Harvest Impact seeks to use social financing as a tool to create meaningful opportunities in the community that increase social, political, and economic agency for all. Harvest Impact strives to better understand the unique experiences of those whom they work with and the systemic barriers they face when attempting to access funding and business supports.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Establishing a space like 10C in Guelph posed many challenges. The founders and staff members had no prior models to follow or similar organizations to consult. As such, Co-founder and Executive Director Julia Grady explains, “[we] want[ed] 10C to not only be a blueprint for other individuals and organizations, but also for us to be mentors to future change makers. Our hope is to become a sort of community concierge for change makers.”
Despite challenges faced, 10C has grown tremendously with the support of the Guelph community. As it continues to grow in members, projects and initiatives, the organization’s leadership has learned that growth takes time. 10C Shared Space is now working at supporting other organizations wishing to make a similar impact in their communities.
10c. creating space for change. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://10carden.ca/
Learn more about the 10C Community Bonds project - https://participedia.net/case/8148?fbclid=IwAR244oRJkqF3ghqs84DdD_Sbtpy2vkvYTqDguf4HysBlA6oV5To-8xQATyc
Written by Sami Puri as part of McMaster University's Integrated Business and Humanities program in collaboration with 10C.