Amy Kaherl cofounded Detroit SOUP in 2010 with artist friends looking to connect artists to resources. In six short years the idea went from artists to ideas around entrepreneurship, urban farming, social justice, and education. The model is now being replicated in over 120 cities around the world. SOUP moved into Ponyride in 2013, before the co-working space was put together! To date Detroit SOUP has raised over $125,000 for 135 ideas across the city.
How Ponyride gave her organization a stable home where they can grow:
SOUP feels like it exploded overnight in Detroit. What meant to be a dinner where we thought we might gather 30-40 people a month it started getting between 75-100 people within a few months. We were approached by the Knight Foundation helping us dream of how we might grow and expand. In 2012, we started expanding the dinners in the neighborhoods of Detroit. Daily we were in different coffee shops around town and after three or four months of that happening we knew that we needed a home base. Home base became Ponyride!
On the changes she’s seen at Ponyride:
When we stepped into Ponyride in 2013 the co-working space wasn’t exactly finished or completed. I remember having meetings where we competed against the sounds of nailing the counter into place and having to find something to stuff under the table legs so that it wouldn’t wobble. We liked the undone feel, it helped with the work that we are doing. In the idea of creating it helped to be in a space that was being created.
On the real value of low rent:
Oh man! This has been so helpful, when donations get low it is so nice to be able to ask for a month breather or a time to catch up. It feels amazing to have such a small space but know that we have a place to do the work with reliable internet, a space to connect people on tours, a safe space to grow our idea, and a place where it is easy to tell people to meet us and tell our story.
On growing the model around the world:
It was great when the BBC was doing a documentary and we were able to use Ponyride as a backdrop showing what it is to build and scale our model. Their is a map behind our desk of all the countries who are inspired to use our model. It’s amazing to be able to put new pins in on a regular basis and watch the neighborhood model expand as well inside the city!