Nexus Impact Center aims to make social impact through co-working space

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The Nexus Impact Center was formed with a premise that an organization can both generate revenue and embed social impact into its business model.

The vision came from brainstorming from Mercy Road Church Carmel lead pastor Josh Husmann and fellow Mercy Road members Butler University associate professor Stephanie Fernhaber and her husband, Ethan Fernhaber, a businessman, and Craig Dereka, a businessman and Westfield resident.

Robin Lee, another Mercy Road member and Westfield resident, first volunteered and eventually became executive director for Nexus, which opened in January at Mercy Road Church, 9511 Angola Ct., Indianapolis.

There is 3,000 square feet of co-working space on a floor with approximately 30,000 square feet on the second floor of what was once ITT Technical Institute business.

Lee said the space is for business owners that are wanting to do more than write a charitable check.

“The world is changing the way we spend our money on the products we buy and the services we buy,” Lee said. “The organizations we do business with, that when they are working on a social cause, that’s really helping those causes often in a more effective way because they are able to go after the root cause of issues and not just put Band-Aid on.”

Lee said there is an application for the office space.

“You can only rent an office if you are working on impact of some kind, so you have to share with us how you are working on sustainable revenue and impact,” Lee said. “It can be OK if you are just starting to do that. We have some impact workshops that we have coming up (in the future).”

Lee said she helps business owners identify what they are passionate about. That leads to discussion about how the business takes the next step.

“We want to provide economical space, as well as like-minded community as the resources for those types of organizations,” Lee said. “Whether they are housed here or not, the resources are still available for anyone who wants to take advantage of it. We’re a nonprofit but we’re considered a social enterprise because we have sustainable revenue stream of charging memberships and rental income lease to those who are renting office.”

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