New Vision Unlimited: The HUB project

New Vision Unlimited - Image

Skilled facilitators, Erin Horvath and Graham Thompson, founded New Vision Unlimited (NewVU) with the goal of responding to community needs from a grassroots perspective. NewVU is a social enterprise focused on community development by promoting information sharing and building community strength on multiple levels. One project under the NewVU umbrella is The HUB. Located in Muskoka, The HUB operates as a co-working space that provides an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and business owners to share space, collaborate and create the change they wish to see in themselves and their community. Although members of The HUB work for different organizations, Thompson says, “It’s an environment where people feel like they’re part of a team, and the mission or the values of that team are centered around helping each other.” By promoting networks between organizations, The HUB is integral in building the fabric of the community.

Although The HUB is a self-sustaining enterprise based on a business model, social impact is a significant priority, and The HUB supports some of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). For example, The HUB has been involved with Circles Muskoka, a program facilitated by the YWCA that addresses poverty by connecting individuals and families from distinct economic classes and empowering those experiencing poverty. This program corresponds with the first SDG of eliminating poverty. YWCA Muskoka was looking for a space to work and through the resulting connections, The HUB began supporting Circles Muskoka by providing space free-of-charge and by enabling networking so that members of The HUB are helping to run the program.

HUB members have adapted to support their community. Due to students completing school work remotely and limited internet in rural areas, there was a demand in Muskoka for quality internet connection and study space. The HUB filled this gap by dividing a large boardroom into student space as well as providing rooms for students to write exams or use private offices for work at the PhD or Masters level. HUB members donated funds to provide access for students free of charge, and students have received over $3000 in supports. This promotes the fourth SDG, ensuring access to education.

New Vision Unlimited - ImageA HUB priority of maintaining clean water resources. aligns with the sixth UNSDG that ensures the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation. The HUB partnered with the Huntsville Business Improvement Area to install water bottle refill stations to provide clean drinking water and reduce single-use plastics. The HUB models its values by encouraging members to use glasses and water filtration rather than single-use bottles. Horvath says these initiatives are part of The HUB’s intentions of becoming a Blue Community, a community conscious of its impact on the environment and one that demonstrates how these ideals can be upheld in a communal space.

NewVU contributes to change on the local level and indirectly the global level as well. The HUB is evidence of their commitment to strengthening the Muskoka community. NewVU plans to continue using local initiatives to affect positive change.