Entrepreneurs and small business owners have a new place at which they can put down roots – The HUB on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.

The HUB opened its doors on Monday. 

And WRAL Tech Wire was there for the grand opening as Brooks Bell, founder and owner of the search engine optimization firm by the same name, and her partners welcomed tenants to the gleaming, bright complex of office suites, desks, meeting rooms and much more.

At a cost of some $350,000, Bell and company have provided Raleigh with something that only Durham and Research Triangle Park had – a community of services geared to helping startups not only grow their businesses but also to network, to share ideas – and to have fun while trying to make money.

As Bell, co-founder Christopher Gergen, who helped launch Bull City Forward, and Jason Widen, who will oversee the HUB, welcomed the first tenants and several prospects, a hand-written memo on one of the many “whiteboard” walls spelled out the HUB’s mission:

1. Empower others

2. Drive forward with a purpose

3. Leave the world better than you found it

4. Be authentic

5. Think big!

The HUB founders certainly are thinking big.

The HUB is affiliated with an international organization of the same name. Widen had toured some of the other HUB sites and has worked with Bell and Gergen to shape Raleigh’s vision. Plans to build it were announced in August.

New business hubs such as the Underground and in cities from San Francisco to the East Coast are among the hottest trends in entrepreneurial circles. Durham has generated international attention with the Underground, Joystick Labs, the Startup Stampede, the Triangle Startup Factory, and other programs. For years, RTP has been home to the First Flight Venture Center.

But Raleigh lacked similar programs until the recent launch of the Cherokee Challenge program from Cherokee Investment Partners. Companies competed for spots and funding in the Cherokee program, however.

At the HUB, however, any company can apply. Rates for services are based on space and other services, starting as low as $30. Full office suites are available.

Two of the big suites have already been leased. Each has space for up to four workers. Three larger ones remain available.