We’re proud to announce that we’re working with the Houston Health Department to help HOU win the IT’S TIME TEXAS #CommunityChallenge! Aligned with the #GlobalGoal of Good Health and Well-Being (SDG3), Houston’s participation in the challenge is part of the ongoing #GoHealthyHouston initiative supported by the office of Mayor Sylvester Turner:
“When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, our motivation to keep on a healthier track can fade as the weeks pass. That’s why we at the Houston Health Department encourage you to participate in the 2019 IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge. The statewide competition helps you create healthy habits while competing against other communities for bragging rights and grant money.
The Challenge runs January 7 to March 3, 2019 and it’s free to participate. Here’s how it works:
Take healthy selfies whenever you’re eating healthy or participating in a physical activity — use the hashtag #CommunityChallengeHOU and #GoHealthyHouston so we can track it! You can upload seven selfies per day for 200 points each.
Connect your FitBit and/or use the site’s fitness tracker to earn points throughout the day.
Watch the living healthier video lesson and answer a few questions for 200 points.
Host a community event for 250 points. It must be a free, public, fitness-focused event for the entire community to enjoy.
Your community leaders also play a huge role in the Challenge. Elected officials, school representatives, businesses and organizations can earn points by signing pledges and participating in other activities.
In addition to earning bragging rights over our fellow Texas cities, *the five winning communities will receive funds to put toward future health-related projects.*
Help us get Houston on the path to better health — grab a glass of water and sign up to get started!
Grace Rodriguez, who spent much of her childhood in Houston and would later return as an adult in 2000, has long promoted Houston and its innovators. She strived to change the city’s perception during the six-year run of the “Houston at SXSW” promotional effort; helped Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez create the first Mayor’s Innovation and Technology Advisory Committee during his tenure on the Houston City Council; and worked as a lead organizer for Women In Tech: Houston and TEDxHouston.
In 2016, she was one of four founders who started Station Houston and helped grow it to 184 startups, 139 mentors and 351 members. The organization has become a driver for the city’s efforts to become a hub for high-growth, venture capital-attracting technology companies. And Station Houston fit well with her track record of working behind the scenes to found and nurture young organizations. But this time around, Rodriguez will take the next step in her career as the CEO and face of an organization.
Impact Hub is a global network with more than 100 hubs in over 50 countries. Roughly 6,400 startups were founded at its hubs between 2012 and 2016. Starting an Impact Hub is a long process that requires approval from the global network. Shiroy Aspandiar and Natasha Azizi co-founded Impact Hub Houston in 2016 and then reached out to Rodriguez this past summer.
“Grace has the right mix of mindsets, character, experience,” Aspandiar said, “and also just a true love for helping people that I think would make her a natural fit to be able to lead the helm of an Impact Hub.”
Others in Houston’s startup community likewise saw Impact Hub as a natural fit.
“She’s had such a focus on all social issues,” said Russ Capper, executive director of Houston Exponential, a nonprofit tasked with marketing and connecting Houston’s various innovation initiatives. “She likes to integrate them deeply into innovation and startups.”
Learn more about Grace, her background working in Houston’s creative, startup and innovation communities, and her crazy path to becoming the new CEO/Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston through her interview on “Working Wisdom” podcast from the C. T. Bauer College of Business:
Over the last 3 years, the Impact Hub network has experienced a phase of rapid growth across Africa. Now, the network’s membership in the region has grown to include 1,400+ entrepreneurs and changemakers. An internal survey shows that:
93% of members are under the age of 35
31% of members started a new project or venture with someone they met at Impact Hub
64% of members reported double digit revenue growth in 2017
Members created 190 new jobs in 2017
Members attribute 50% of their success to being part of the Impact Hub community
The Duke of Sussex meets with local entrepreneurs in Lusaka
As part of the Royal Visit’s recent trip to Zambia, Prince Harry devoted his time to showing support for local innovators, including the co-founder of Impact Hub Lusaka, Brighton Kaoma.
We caught up with Brighton to find out how it went…
Why did The Duke of Sussex come to Lusaka?
The Duke of Sussex – Prince Harry – came to see the work that young Zambians are doing, notably with Impact Hub Lusaka.
With Impact Hub we’re working to provide economic opportunities, especially in regards to employment creation, innovation, and amplifying the voices of young people through activism and community organizing.
How does he plan on supporting this ecosystem?
Prince Harry was particularly interested in how he could shine a light on the work that young Zambians are doing. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which he is the president, is supporting the work of young people in the form of funding, membership and capacity-building for organizations and institutions.
His visit was all about providing a springboard for the work of many young Zambians. It was about providing visibility, about celebrating success stories and assuring young people that he’s going to be there giving direction, leadership and support.
Tell us about the event…
As an alumni of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, I was invited to be part of an organizing committee for Prince Harry’s visit. We arranged for 200 young people from other African countries to be brought to Lusaka, where we gathered and met Prince Harry.
We joined a panel of speakers who shared their stories and inspired young leaders across the continent to continue changing lives, and I spoke about our plans for Impact Hub Lusaka, which is opening very soon…
Like all of us at Impact Hub, Prince Harry also has a strong belief in ensuring that young people are at the driving seat of development.
What’s the connection between the Commonwealth Trust and Impact Hub?
I took part in a Commonwealth Trust program called Queen’s Young Leaders, established by the British Royal family in 2015. This was set up to identify young people across the Commonwealth who are using their initiative to bring about social transformation. I applied to be part of it, and was fortunate enough to win and receive an award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, before attending a year-long leadership course at the University of Cambridge.
Social innovation was what allowed me to become a part of this community. I started championing change at a very young age, about 14 years-old, before going on to win this award and co-founding Impact Hub Lusaka.
What does the social innovation scene look like in Lusaka right now?
There’s a huge demand for social innovation resources in Lusaka at the moment. We’re in the process of setting up Impact Hub Lusaka, which will support entrepreneurs and feed this entrepreneurial hunger.
All of this innovation is happening because we have a huge unemployment rate in Zambia. In our country over 60% of the population is comprised of young people and universities are churning out students that don’t meet the current needs of labour market.
So, Impact Hub will endeavour to provide services and programs aimed at meeting the needs of the corporate world, as well as the labour market.
What’s your approach?
We intend on providing leadership and social entrepreneurship programs to help innovators accelerate their businesses from ideation to launch. My focus with Impact Hub is on alleviating youth unemployment in Zambia where there is a huge demographic dividend right now, which we can take advantage of. If we don’t, it might work against us.
Impact Hub Lusaka aims to close that employment gap, so that young people can be their own bosses and have a more conducive place to work from. Where they can be surrounded by a community of similar, like-minded changemakers who share their passions and interests.
Do you think this economic landscape reflects the rest of the continent?
This unemployment rate applies to the whole of Africa right now. Africa at large has a very youthful population, and this also presents itself as an opportunity. It means that the working labour market is going to increase, human resources are going to increase, and human capital is going to increase because of a productive workforce.
But by looking across Africa you also discover that there aren’t enough opportunities to take advantage of that huge productive workforce. Just like any other African country, Zambia is at a stage where it’s due a break. It’s a defining moment to either take advantage of this huge demographic dividend, or allow it to take advantage of us as a generation.
Impact Hub will work towards bridging that gap, and we’ll endeavour to collaborate with different institutions across the world globally who are working towards the same cause.
Do you think this gap is being met with rising levels of innovation?
It is. So many social entrepreneurs and changemakers are building spaces to bring about transformation in different sectors of development.
There’s a huge hunger among young Zambians – just like in other countries on the African continent – to ensure that we use the resources that we have, to take advantage of the opportunities we’re presented with in this generation.
Impact Hub, and The Duke of Sussex, are working to nourish it.