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 info@page30Coalition.org.
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.
We hope you have been taking advantage of the resources we’ve shared on the http://HOUimpact.com app, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook. We’re doing our best to keep you updated and prepared for whatever comes next. As a global network, we are lucky to have the infrastructure in place to cooperate and act around the world. All Impact Hubs are implementing health and security protocols to support their local communities. We are also leveraging our virtual platform with a group dedicated to all things COVID-19, providing a safe space for open sharing of questions, assets, and best practices that we can then share with you.
To continue serving you locally through the coronavirus COVID-19 sequestering, we’re working to move our events, resources and support online, and are postponing any major celebrations. Our team will reassess policies on a weekly basis and share updates via newsletter, our Global and Local apps, and social media.
While we scale back on in-person meetings, we plan to scale UP on knowledge exchange and resource sharing online. Since Day 1, we’ve been dedicated to meeting people where they are, and practicing radical collaboration, inclusion, and equitable entrepreneurial support. Now, more than ever, we are committed to helping you access the resources and opportunities you need to survive this and thrive beyond it. If you’d like to be the first to know about new resources or updates as they evolve, please join us on http://HOUimpact.com — we are offering this app for FREE to the Greater Houston community to connect and collaborate! (* Impact Hub Members: You get a private group for special mentoring sessions, and still receive free access to any of our virtual workshops! *)
To stay safe, informed, and get help in the Greater Houston area:
Houston Public Media has a dedicated coronavirus page for live updates, 24/7: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/coronavirus/. It includes a guide from PBS on ways to talk to children about the outbreak, and bilingual information from the CDC.
The Houston Health Department has opened up a hotline for questions about COVID-19. Call 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.
We believe that this crisis offers our city and community the opportunity to focus resources towards solving not just for the pandemic, but also for some of Houston’s already-existing issues, from public health and wellness to learning and resource accessibility to mobility disparity to entrepreneurial funding and support. To that end, we’re adding special programs and making vital resources available online for you to continue connecting, ideating, and developing your solution and business through this time…and beyond:
We will continue to work with you to make sure that you are leveraging your benefits to address current challenges and minimize any disruption to your business. Please search your inbox for the invitation to the private Impact Hub Houston Members Group on http://houimpact.com, or contact us directly if you need specific help.
Regarding work spaces: Please try to reschedule or move any non-essential office visits online; and avoid the spaces entirely if you feel ill. If you still need a space to meet IRL, please contact Michelle. Help keep our community safe and healthy so we can all keep doing the work we love!
If you know of any resources and opportunities that we can help share for entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, creatives and freelancers to maintain their work, livelihood, and mission from the safety of home, please post it in http://HOUimpact.com or send it to us at email@example.com
It has always been Impact Hub’s vision to catalyze collective action for a better world. Now, more than ever, we must unite through compassionate leadership and collaborative action to strengthen and support our communities. Please take care of yourselves, your neighbors, and your local businesses and entrepreneurs. When Hurricane Harvey hit, we came through it together. Together, we’ll survive this, too! #HoustonStrong
Here for you and wishing you well,
Grace, Michelle, and the Impact Hub Houston community
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicted the next epidemic. Not as a matter of if, but as a question of when. Globalization and our lifestyles in the 21st century exacerbate the risks and spread of infectious diseases. The good news is that it is manageable. The bad news is that with unequal access to quality healthcare services, the ability to travel around the world at a fast pace, forced migration due to conflict and natural disasters, global trade, homelessness, and growing global population; we can expect to continue experiencing epidemics for the foreseeable future.
What makes epidemics in the 21st century more dangerous than they were in the past, and the potential for them to become pandemics, is our ability to travel from one side of the world to the other and introduce a new disease to multiple populations before even showing symptoms. In 2015, it took just one traveler returning home to South Korea from spending time in the Middle East to bring MERS back with him. The consequences: a national outbreak, 186 cases, 36 deaths, and outbreak-related losses of approximately US$ 8 billion, all in the space of two months.
Given our history, WHO predicts, with a high degree of certainty, that when the next epidemic comes, there will be:
an initial delay in recognizing it;
a serious impact on travel and trade;
a public reaction that includes anxiety, or even panic and confusion, and
So what can you do to protect yourself at work and prevent the spread of infectious diseases?
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap is the most important preventative action you can take. Make sure you scrub the back of your hands, palms, fingertips and nails, in-between your fingers and your thumbs. Use hand sanitizer if you’re in a situation where hand washing is not an option. Try to wash your hands after touching any common items like door handles, shared desks and coffee pot. If you’re not sure whether you’re washing your hands correctly, watch this video.
Do not touch your face, nose, eyes and mouth as this provides a pathway for infection. This is easier said than done. The Director of the Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department in California recommended the same advice during a press conference on Feb 28 before subconsciously licking her finger to turn the page. The NY Times shared 4 tips to help you break the habit or you could try a different approach if you work on your laptop all day concocted by DoNotTouchYourFace.com.
Avoid touching or being in the close vicinity of anyone who shows symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. If you usually offer events for people who frequent high-risk areas or work in a high-risk area yourself, you might want to consider offering online webinars instead. This could actually help your business grow in the long run by making your sales pitch scaleable.
Use an alcohol-based cleaning spray to wipe down shared surfaces such as meeting room desks, chairs and door handles in-between use. People invariably tend to spray saliva when they talk and coronavirus is thought to be spread through moisture droplets, so make sure you wipe down surfaces in conversational areas before touching them. While this protects you from anything left behind from the previous meeting, you need to continue to protect yourself during your meeting as well. Remember to sit at least 1 meter away from other people. This is easiest done by choosing a conference room with a large table and facing away from the person sitting closest to you when you speak.
Avoid crowds to reduce your risk of infection from others. This could mean going to work earlier or later to avoid peak hour travel on public transportation. If you have flexible working hours and a busy workplace, you could try working earlier in the morning or later in the evening. International conferences around the world with over 1000 expected guests are being canceled. If you follow the recommended hygiene advice, events shouldn’t pose too much of a risk as long as you are not mingling with people who have recently traveled to high-risk areas and have not self-isolated.
Avoid traveling to high-risk areas. If you do have to travel, make sure you self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work to make sure you’re not infected. This period of self-quarantine is to make sure you don’t spread an infectious disease before any symptoms appear. Opt for virtual meetings with international colleagues or frequent travelers if you can to avoid putting yourself at risk.
If you are sick, work from home and avoid visiting public places and events to prevent spreading your infection to others. You could experience very mild symptoms but other people might not be so lucky. High-risk factors aside from age are not always obvious to the eye so the best way to protect others is to stay away from other people. Isolation alone is suggested by studies to have a greater impact than all other interventions.
Do not go to the hospital if you think you could be contagious. Always call ahead and follow the advice given to you by a medical practitioner. It’s important that you provide advanced notice so front line staff can prepare and protect themselves from being infected. It takes years to train new doctors and nurses and if they get sick, it puts a far greater burden on the remaining staff which can weaken the healthcare system.
Go to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to read more about how the Swedish Government is taking action and find frequently asked questions about international travel. You’ll need to translate the Swedish website as the information is not currently available in English.
“Can we create a pandemic-free world? There is no such thing as a guarantee, but with meticulous preparation and rapid response, we can prevent most outbreaks from getting out of control, and limit the impact of those that spread internationally.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization