We are grateful for YOU! After a year riddled with challenges and crisis, we truly appreciate all of you who stepped up to host an event, made time to speak and share your insights, and showed up to connect with and learn from your peers for The Houston Innovation Summit this year. You helped ensure Houston and Texas were at the top of people’s minds for Innovation + Impact during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).
Thanks to you, Houston became the #3 city in the country for GEW this year!
A few quick stats on #THIS2020:
Number of Houston-based events and conferences: 55
Approximate number of speakers and participants: 1513 people
Lastly, if you took any fun screenshots, photos, or video during the summit, please share them with us on online by tagging us and adding #THIS2020 + #HOUImpact.
We hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend; and we look forward to seeing you on the interwebs again soon!
Cheers to impact,
Grace, Michelle, and the Impact Hub Houston community
P.S. Established in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, THIS celebrates Houston’s impact + innovation ecosystem by bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, funders, talent and support organizations through a week of programs and events. If you’d like to participate in THIS next year as a sponsor or event host, please contact Grace!
Special Thanks to Houston Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Syzygy Plasmonics, Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union, Houston Exponential, HCC, Z Labs, SoGal Foundation, Greentown Houston, and Impact Hub Houston Members for your continued support!
We hope you’re staying safe and taking care of yourself. If you think you’ve been exposed, you can find local testing locations at https://covidcheck.hctx.net/.
Announcing the Fourth Annual “THIS: THE HOUSTON INNOVATION SUMMIT” – Celebrating Houston During Global Entrepreneurship Week!
October 28, 2020 – Houston, TX – Impact Hub Houston, a 501c3 nonprofit startup incubator dedicated to helping diverse changemakers and social entrepreneurs launch impact-driven ventures, is excited to announce the fourth annual “THIS: The Houston Innovation Summit.” A week-long celebration of Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem during Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16-22, THIS 2020 focuses on the intersections of Innovation and Impact, bringing together economic stakeholders, startups, startup development organizations, entrepreneurs, investors, funders through a series of events around the Global Entrepreneur Network’s themes of “Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion, Policy.”
“Each year, Global Entrepreneurship Week amplifies the great work being done to support entrepreneurs across the country while connecting them to more opportunities to start and scale in their own communities,” said Ellen Bateman, director for U.S. ecosystems at the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
“From the COVID-19 pandemic to racial injustice to the increasingly dire effects of climate change to one of the most polarized political environments this generation has seen, 2020 has presented a number of crises for changemakers to respond to” said Grace Rodriguez, CEO/Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston and Founder of THIS. “But Houston is resilient. Houstonians are resilient. We’ve made great strides in rising to this year’s challenges by launching new resources to help diverse communities survive and thrive; by strengthening collaboration among our startup and small businesses ecosystems to support diverse entrepreneurs; and by developing more inclusive practices and sustainable policies for our city to move forward. We are excited to bring together Houston’s startup community and Impact Hub’s global network to showcase this progress, share lessons learned, and raise awareness for our innovation ecosystem internationally. With many in-person events postponed and people continuing to work from home, THIS is a great way to help everyone connect, get inspired, learn from and celebrate each other as we grow the next generation of big ideas.”
THIS 2020 highlights include:
Nov 5-20: Climathon Houston 2020 – a global hackathon/ideathon for climate action solutions
Impact Hub Houston is a locally rooted, globally connected, 501c3 nonprofit startup and small business development organization that works to make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues. A member of the Impact Hub global network—the world’s largest community recognized by the United Nations for accelerating entrepreneurial solutions towards measurable and scalable impact for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—Impact Hub Houston intentionally designs places, platforms and programs to empower diverse changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters and build an inclusive innovation ecosystem that looks like Houston and works for all.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors — introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.
Review Voter ID Requirements – Voter ID requirements can frequently change, so double check your state’s Voter ID Laws to ensure you have what you need before you head to the polls.
Practice COVID-19 Safety – Continue to follow essential COVID-19 health tips including wearing a mask, sanitize/wash your hands before and after voting, and maintain social distancing while waiting in line. Select your state to view COVID-19 election information.
VOTE! – Make sure your voice is heard on November 3. Vote early to avoid longer wait times on Election Day. Make a voting plan and check in with your friends to make sure they are ready to snag a snazzy “I Voted” sticker, too.
To find your voter eligibility and your closest polling locations, visit voteamerica.com.
To protect your rights as a voter, get to know what they are and what you’re able to do about them at vote.org’s Election Protection Guide. If you encounter any issues when trying to vote, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.
Now share this with your friends and family, and make your plan to get to the polls on Tuesday, November 3rd!
If you are an impact-driven social entrepreneur and have an idea or startup that is creating a positive impact in your community, we are launching “Close the Gap” to help accelerate your project!
To encourage and support change on a community level, Impact Hub and adidas have partnered to support 30 early-stage social start-ups, non-profit organizations, or initiatives from around the world.
The aim is to empower businesses that are led by underrepresented entrepreneurs, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and changemakers who are supporting diverse populations to close the opportunity gap through education and/or sports. This will be done by providing tailored virtual support, expert advice, and networking opportunities.
If selected, you will receive:
Expert business advice from adidas’ employees on the main challenges facing the entrepreneur.
Venture visibility in the Impact Hub and adidas network.
A FREE Global Connect Membership and access to the Impact Hub network.
Many thanks to all who joined the kick-off to our new series, “Core Conversations,” this week! Aimed at raising awareness, understanding, and action for the issues that profoundly impact our community, each Core Conversation will examine a Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) within our local context, provide space to reflect, challenge our assumptions, and explore potential solutions to society’s wicked problems.
We were able to record the conversation with Phillip so you can learn about his experiences as a “First Generation Black American” and how that inspires and impacts who he is and what he does: https://youtu.be/AjFiVQrWJIU
We are putting our Core Values to the test to reflect, re-examine, and re-imagine who we are and who we want to be as a community, so we can see where we fall short and strategize how we should move forward. We hope you’ll continue to join us on this journey!
Many thanks to our peers around the world — including Impact Hub Zurich, Impact Hub Manila, and all of our Impact Hub fam around the world — for standing beside us in denouncing racism, xenophobia, prejudice and bigotry in all forms!
To us, diversity is not just a commitment — diversity is who we are. Diversity is the expression of our very existence. It’s why inclusion and equity are core to what we do: If we leave anyone behind, we fail. If we lock anyone out, we lose. If we do not work to engage, empower, and elevate our neighbors who have been overlooked, marginalized, disadvantaged, under-served and under-invested in, we cannot build an authentic ecosystem that looks like Houston, works like Houston, and works for Houston. For one of the largest and most diverse communities in the United States, anything that falls short of that would be unacceptable.
We partnered with the national Page 30 Coalition,StartUsUp and the Hispanic Star campaign to drive policies that support minority-owned businesses and hold our elected officials accountable for implementing equity-focused elements of the CARES Act.
We are proud to announce our support to champion diverse businesses in underserved and rural communities as a member of the Page 30 Coalition. The coalition aims to push a legislative and regulatory agenda by working with partners around the country to ensure that the critical constituencies recognized on Page 30 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act receive the prioritization that Congress intended. With hundreds of billions already deployed and billions more likely to be released through subsequent COVID-19 packages, Page 30 Coalition is fighting to ensure more is done for these at-risk and underserved businesses.
The Page 30 Coalition was named for the section of the CARES Act from late March of 2020, that reads:
It is the sense of the Senate that the Administrator should issue guidance to lenders and agents to ensure that the processing and disbursement of covered loans prioritizes small business concerns and entities in underserved and rural markets, including veterans and members of the military community, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women and businesses in operations for less than 2 years.
To ensure this prioritization is realized, the Page 30 Coalition has formed a national alliance of industry-leading-organizations to shape America’s legislative and regulatory small business landscape by aggressively advocating for equitable policy solutions that bolsters growth for underserved firms in the years ahead.
Our priorities include:
Expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through December 31, 2020
Eliminate the PPP “first come, first serve” rule and provide prioritization to underserved communities
Extend covered period for PPP loan forgiveness
Expand economic resources for small businesses with 10 employees or less
Dedicate additional aid to America’s most vulnerable small businesses, particularly women, minority, rural, veteran, and start-ups
Call for participating lending entities to provide greater transparency on federal loan disbursement data
We will start sharing updates through our social media accounts on the coalition’s work to support diverse entrepreneurs through non-partisan policy advocacy.
To connect with the coalition, you can contact Jamon Phenix, the Coalition Manager, at [email protected]
Support for the coalition, from some of its national members:
Asian/ Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the more than 2 million AAPI businesses in the U.S. Federal relief programs, while welcome and necessary, are only as good as their accessibility. Our community continues to lack federally mandated in-language resources, and many eligible applicants continue to be turned away from participating lenders. We must prioritize our vulnerable populations, which is why the Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) is proud to be a founding member of the Page 30 Coalition.”
– Chiling Tong, President & CEO, National ACE
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
“The pandemic is taking a devastating toll on Black-owned businesses. As the voice of Black business owners, we’re calling on Congress to enforce a triage approach to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic. A first come first served approach is utterly unacceptable. Small businesses deserve more, too often aid funding goes to the fastest and savviest, when in fact, those who are hit the hardest deserve to be treated first.”
– Ron Busby, President & CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
“Small business is big business for us at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We know our economic power and we will exert our influence for many years to come to provide a strong advocacy voice to the benefit of small, Hispanic and minority-owned businesses.”
-Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Association for Enterprise Opportunity
“While some initially believed the pandemic would act as ‘the great equalizer,’ the truth is that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting businesses and communities that were already at an economic disadvantage. To reverse this course, policy makers must take rapid and decisive action now. The coronavirus economic relief packages are overlooking millions of micro and MainStreet businesses, which represent more than 90 percent of all businesses in the U.S. For the sake of our nation’s economy, we must ensure that the spirit and intention of the CARES act is carried out by prioritizing businesses that are most vulnerable—those that are owned by people of color, veterans, immigrants and others who operate in low and moderate income communities.”
-Connie Evans, President & CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity.
Association of Women’s Business Centers
“AWBC is pleased to participate in the Page 30 coalition and help raise awareness about CARES Act priority in aiding underserved businesses, including women-owned businesses, as outlined by page 30 of the bill.”
– Corinne Hodges, CEO of Association of Women’s Business Centers.
“The Page 30 Coalition has come together in support of Latinx and minority-owned small businesses and independent workers that have been left behind in this crisis. We need to provide lasting and equitable relief for these businesses and workers, especially through the development of institutions and infrastructure to deploy capital to hard-to-reach, underbanked communities. Page 30 is focused on developing these institutions and ensuring that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) can fill this void, especially for micro-small businesses and their essential workers.”
-James Gutierrez, CEO & Co-Founder of Aura.
“Small businesses make up nearly 50% of our GDP and 50% of our labor market. They are essential to our communities, our economy, and our lives. Gusto data shows that those who can least afford it are being the hardest hit by COVID layoffs. We must prioritize delivering aid to the businesses that need it the most.”
– Lexi Reese, Chief Operating Officer of Gusto.
“The millions of small businesses owned and operated by people of color and other traditionally underserved populations in this country are the primary source of jobs and incomes for their communities and provide critical services. Despite their importance, they are not getting the stimulus dollars they need to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mainstream banks in charge of distributing this relief too often overlook these businesses and should not be the primary vehicles responsible for lending out this money. Instead, stimulus dollars should be set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other financial entities that are best equipped to support them. The mission of CDFIs is to provide financial products and services to underserved communities like minority-owned small businesses, and they are uniquely positioned to do so. These businesses are a lifeline for these communities and need to be saved during this crisis so they can continue to contribute and thrive, rather than be left to fend for themselves.”
– Gary Cunningham, President & CEO of Prosperity Now.
We are a community that cares. In addition to the work that Impact Hub Houston is doing locally to support our members and community through current crises, we proudly join the Impact Hub Network in the #COVIDResponse Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs: an unprecedented collaboration among 40+ global organizations to support social entrepreneurs alleviating suffering and advancing new models of change for a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world.
The Alliance represents 15,000+ social entrepreneurs who have impacted 1.5 billion people in over 190 countries. From providing basic needs to contact tracing initiatives, their work is critical as they reach those who the market and governments are unable to account for.
With over 100 communities of impact-driven entrepreneurs in more than 55 countries and running more than 200 programs annually, Impact Hub is a key part of entrepreneurial ecosystems the world over. We are invested in helping to build a greener, fair and equal society, supporting social enterprises that are addressing the Sustainable Development Goals. This puts us in a unique position of being able to understand and assist entrepreneurs in their recovery, as well as having the insight into how the post-COVID-19 world can be an opportunity to build a purpose-driven economy.
If you are a social entrepreneur or work with a social enterprise that could use help, please visit: https://www.covidcap.com/
“Social entrepreneurs are battling at the forefront of this pandemic to serve the most vulnerable populations using their ingenuity to confront the problems on the ground. This Alliance will support them with their mission at a time when they are needed more than ever”
— Hilde Schwab, Co-Founder & Chairperson, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
1. What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs?
The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs is an unprecedented collaboration between over 40 global organizations to support social entrepreneurs in pooling knowledge, experience, and responses to alleviate suffering and advance new models of change for a more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable world.
2. Why support social entrepreneurs?
The Alliance represents a network of over 15,000 social entrepreneurs, who have impacted the lives of 1.5 billion people cumulatively, working in over 190 countries: protecting livelihoods, mitigating millions of tonnes of CO2, improving access to health, sanitation, education, and energy, driven social inclusion movements for the disabled, homeless, or those with refugee status.
“The COVID19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable. As we witnessed during the West African Ebola outbreak, viruses exacerbate inequality by making it more challenging for families to access primary healthcare and education, put food on the table, or maintain their livelihood. To strengthen the systems that protect vulnerable communities from the shocks of a pandemic, we must work together across sectors and geographies. Last Mile Health is proud to a member of this dynamic community of social entrepreneurs working to not only respond to this pandemic, but prevent it from happening again.”
— Raj Panjabi, CEO & Founder, Last Mile Health
3. How will this Alliance help social entrepreneurs?
The Alliance will coordinate support for social entrepreneurs in four key ways:
1. Assess and highlight needs across the members’ social enterprise portfolios.
2. Amplify and expand available financial support under a joint alliance dashboard and help social entrepreneurs to raise additional money to expand their work.
3. Coordinate non-financial support provided by companies and intermediaries, such as social procurement, legal services, and technological support.
4. Advance joint communication efforts to advocate for appropriate fiscal and policy interventions relevant to social entrepreneurs.
4. Who is a member of this Alliance?
Aavishkaar Group, Acumen, Africa Venture Philanthropy Alliance (AVPA), Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Ashoka, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), B Lab, Bertelsmann Group/Stiftung, CASE at Duke University, Catalyst 2030, Co-Impact, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Echoing Green, European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA), Fundación Avina, GHR Foundation, Global Innovation Fund, Global Steering Group for Impact Investing (GSG), Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Greenwood Place, IKEA Foundation, IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Hub, Johnson & Johnson, KIVA, LatImpacto, Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation, Mercy Corps Ventures, Motsepe Foundation, NESsT, Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), Rippleworks, Root Capital, Salesforce.org, SAP, Schwab Foundation, Skoll Foundation, USAID Center for Innovation and Impact (CII), Yunus Social Business (and more!)
5. How can I support social entrepreneurs?
1. Share the word (using the press release here) and support the Alliance using #COVIDAllianceforSocEnts on social media.
2. Share stories of the social entrepreneur communities on social media using #TogetherwithSocEnts.
3. Contribute to the covidcap.com, a searchable website to help any entrepreneur in the world struggling due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, to locate cash relief resources in their community.
4. To offer any other forms of support, please get in touch with us here.
In 2019, we saw a proliferation of protest movements around the world. From France to Hong Kong, going across Algeria, Peru, Lebanon, and many more nations, although the causes are different, experts do see a pattern: democracy is a source of disappointment, corruption is seen as brazen, and the younger generation struggles to foresee a positive future. Everywhere, though, the sentiments are the same, a strong longing for change and progress.
The new decade began in a gripping manner. With burning fires in Australia to rising international tensions and now a pandemic, moving to a more sustainable political and economic system is more critical and more urgent than ever before. This isn’t news for Impact Hub. From the outset we have shaped our network into the solid structure it is by supporting both economically viable and socially beneficial enterprises. This suggests that profit and impact are not mutually exclusive, something that businesses and individuals have been actively learning in recent years.
Last year, Gabriela Gandel, our Global Executive Director, was invited as a guest speaker at the first International Pact for Impact Summit, which aims to establish a Global Alliance for the Recognition and Development of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE). She addressed the value and feasibility of social and environmental impact assessments.
What is the Social and Solidarity Economy?
The first official document relating specifically to social economy projects dates back to 1922. Since then, they have also existed in various forms of organizations, such as co-operatives, labor unions, fair trade, non-profits, and ethical purchasing. Recent trends indicate that SSE organizations, even through times of economic recession, have shown significant growth. Nevertheless, the idea and theory itself have only recently been incorporated into a new ethical and economic movement that seeks to create a more just and sustainable structure. It aims to turn the existing capitalist system, as well as other oppressive, state-dominated structures, into one that puts people and the planet at its heart. To do so, solutions are being researched in order to fix issues that the existing system is failing to solve. As quoted by the intercontinental network for the promotion of Social Solidarity Economy the three main problems are:
An increasing number of people throughout the world are experiencing deteriorating living conditions and deepening poverty.
With the logic of capitalism, people and society become resources to be exploited. Their value in the form of labor or social relationships is reduced to their worth in maximizing profits.
The deep environmental degradation, provoked by an extractive, intensive and extensive linear economic model, leading to widespread pollution and climate change.
What is the Pact for Impact?
Throughout the two days of this first edition of the Summit, governments, business (wo)men, investors and all stakeholders in civil society came together. The intention was to collaborate and explore key topics, such as the intrinsic connection between the Sustainable Development Goals and the social and inclusive economy. They joined forces and assessed how to strengthen policies and have started to create a roadmap that will accelerate the transition of our economic models. The aim is to create a global coalition that supports and promotes this new model and all its members.
What is Impact Hub’s view on measurement?
At Impact Hub, supporting and offering a space for such initiatives has always been one of our main goals. But our platform goes one step further, producing regular comprehensive reports that assess and measure the social impact of those initiatives, providing key performance indicators:
We promote the interoperability of frameworks (being able to transfer seamlessly from one system to another) such as IRIS, SROI and several others;
Lean data approaches to make the information available and transparent at an early stage (technology, efficiency, and approach);
Easier application to business concepts to allow other sectors to engage in impact measurement and to increase the usage of the insights into their business strategies
What tools does Impact Hub use to Measure Impact?
Most recently we have used Amp Impact. It is a program management and impact evaluation tool that allows us to deliver Impact Hub programs globally. Firstly, it includes a set of standard and customizable program impact logics, metrics and survey questionnaires. Secondly, it produces automated dashboards and reports that simplify the implementation process for Impact Hub founders and team members. And lastly, it allows us the ability to gather accurate data across our network and to measure and compare the program’s effectiveness in order to support modalities across different global regions.
Based on the framework of “Sustainable Development Goals” defined by the UN, we compile and measure all these results from our member’s initiatives around the world in terms of social, financial and environmental return. Having data about entrepreneurial needs ensures us we best support individual Impact Hubs and their members that make up our network. And thanks to the data we have gathered using Amp impact, we will continue measuring and amplifying our impact. Check out our full Impact Report for 2019 here to learn more about how Impact Hub approaches change.
Houston Health Department & Community-Based Sites: Two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone Monday through Saturday, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day. Call 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.
Houston Health Department hotline for COVID-19 questions: 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.