HUB STN: Departing the Station

Tijuana's most iconic innovation hub is moving out and onward

TIJUANA.- HUB STN — Tijuana's most iconic co-working space — is preparing to depart from the historic bus station it has called its home less than two years after its inauguration. By the end of the month the space will be vacated of its resident innovators and entrepreneurs, and will be torn down to make way for something else — details unknown.

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Amongst its achievements, the HUB STN prides itself as Tijuana's first binational coworking space. The space has also united a community, fostered a creative ecosystem, and reactivated an abandoned iconic building — the old Mexicoach building on Revolution Avenue. International media outlets were quick to notice, as were Uber and Yelp — both companies launched in the city out of Hub STN.

The location has hosted dozens of events, tours, and other activities to promote innovation, entrepreneurialism, and cross-border collaboration. Some of the event highlights include the Tijuana Tech Tour, Startup Weekend, and Startup Mexico Draft. Fondos Tijuana , an initiative created and funded by Tijuana's city government to support micro and small companies in Tijuana, was also launched in Hub STN.

It is ironic that just a little over a month ago CNN News published an article showcasing HUB STN titled "Tijuana: From Sin City to Mexican Tech Hub," which quotes co-founder Miguel Buenrostro saying "the city is telling us, is screaming at us, that it needs spaces like this so it can go in another direction." Now, it seems as though the city is going back in the direction it came from — taking a U-Turn.

Tijuana's Avenida Revolution is once again buzzing after almost a decade of vacancy and ghost town-like existence. More consumers are flocking to Tijuana's center, and the food and entertainment industry is once again dominating. While it is a free-market and property owners are of course entitled to sell property off to the highest bidder, it comes as no consolation to those who remember that when the economy takes a downturn, it is most unforgiving on those that have all its eggs in one basket.

Former curios shops and pasajes have been filled up with art galleries, food courts, restaurants and boutique jewelry and clothing shops, which all depend largely on discretionary, non-essential spending. Tijuana's innovation and startup promoters are aiming to ensure that Tijuana continues to foster diversity via the tech and non-entertainment service sector.

"We are treating our departure from the station as the next step in the development of this city's entrepreneurial and creative ecosystem. In the next phase, we must be more ambitious and aggressive in order to continue to grow. The 'how', 'what', and 'where' are still in development. But, what is important is that we use this unexpected event as an impetus to continue to point Tijuana in a new direction toward the emerging economies," says Miguel Marshall, Co-Founder of Hub STN.

To remind the city that this is not the end of innovation in Tijuana, HUB STN organizers have designed a Talent Weekend lineup to say good-bye to the co-working space. On Friday, July 17th, they will host TJ Techstars Tour from 10am to 4pm, to tour the many opportunities that Tijuana offers. That night, from 5pm to 6pm, the QUALCOMM Demo night will showcase 10 companies forming part of the first generation of QUALCOMM's Robotics Accelerator.

That very night, the Hub will kickoff the Hackathon for Social Change- a two day event where coders and innovators will work on designing apps and websites to tackle issues in the city related to security, mobility and migration.

On July 18th, the HUB STN will officially bid farewell to the bus station before its demolition. There will be art and photography expositions, drinks, food, and special guests. The event is free to the public.

borderzonie@gmail.com

@borderzonie

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