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.
- The SBA is working with states to provide targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and non-profits severely impacted by the coronavirus.
- Affected artists and performers may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assitance (DUA). Self-employed artists are also eligible. You just need a contract, 1099, or W-2: https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/disaster-unemployment-assistance
- Please continue to follow the protocols set by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. While no actions can completely eliminate the possibility of illness, please wash your hands frequently; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you have to travel: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
- If you or your neighbors need help getting food, go to https://www.houstonfoodbank.org/covid19/for food-access information and a map of partners near you who can help.
- Finally, here’s a continuously updated list of conference cancellations or postponements: http://bit.ly/covidconfcancellations
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:
For Our Members and Community:
For Our Members:
- 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
P.S. Make a little “me-time” to give your body and mind a break from the stress. Pick a moment to meditate. Stretch it out with some home-office yoga. Do a hair toss and dance it off. Or grab a good book to get your mind off of things — I recommend “Love in the Time of Cholera”: https://amzn.to/2WpZIaq (link benefits Impact Hub Houston!)
From Cathy Xiao Chen and our friends at Impact Hub Stockholm:
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
- this will be aided and abetted by media coverage.
I think it’s safe to say that we have witnessed all four predictions during this current outbreak of coronavirus. Recent public reaction teetering on panic has led to a knife fight and physical assault over toilet paper in supermarkets in Australia, despite 60% of toilet paper manufacturing occurring locally, and leading manufacturers expecting no disruption to supply.
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.
You can find the latest updates from Folkhälsomyndigheten. Call 113 13 if you have any questions about the coronavirus.
Interested in learning more? The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has now made online micro learning activities on non-pharmaceutical countermeasures in relation to COVID-19 available online.
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
Managing epidemics: key facts about major deadly diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Cathy Xiao Chen is the Head of Operations at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a passion for supporting social impact, she advises and connects changemakers with collaborators to maximize impact.
Ahead of this year’s Global Climate Strike (20-27 September) and the Global Goals Week (21-30 September), the Impact Hub network is launching its 2019 Global Impact Report. The report features details of how communities of entrepreneurs globally are creating significant change in combating the world’s most challenging problems and are contributing significantly to achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The report marks Impact Hub network’s role as an industry thought leader in the impact sector, utilizing a local community-based, yet globally connected model. Impact Hub’s report demonstrates how such communities are offering viable solutions towards sustainable development, with statistics in the report showing that 60% of members are putting ‘impact-first’.
The 2019 Global Impact Report is the culmination of gathering relevant data from a number of their 16,500 members of 100+ locations in over 55 countries around the globe. The members surveyed said that being part of such a network had helped them to:
- Feel part of a larger community: 84%
- Gain access to a better working infrastructure: 78%
- Strengthen their motivation: 77%
- Partner and collaborate with other members: 76%
- Connect to advisors and experts: 68%
- Develop skills and capabilities: 65%
- Come up with new ideas: 65%
The report also highlights how Impact Hub members are encouraging economic growth, especially in the social impact sector, with 10,000+ new ventures and 29,000+ net new jobs created since 2012. Collaboration also permeates the report as one of the primary benefits for change-makers working in our network, with the members who made many connections ending the following year with a total of 17,300 USD more investment than their peers who made fewer connections.
The data shows the impact that tailored support programs can have for entrepreneurs looking to develop an idea or scale a venture. In 2018, the Impact Hub network ran over 100+ successful entrepreneurial support programs and 100+ collaborative innovation programs focused on SDGs and ecosystem development globally. The results show program participants attributing 40% of their professional success to Impact Hub. Here are some examples of Impact Hub’s programs:
My life in my hands
Run by Impact Hub Caracas, ‘My Life in My Hands’ tackles early pregnancy, violence and drug use among youth: crucial topics in the country with the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Latin America. Through a holistic range of methodologies, it has improved the quality of life of 280 children in slums, providing 7,500+ meals, and teaching them how to lead a worthy life.
Impact Hub Bucharest and ING Romania created Startarium, a program supporting entrepreneurs by using mentorship, online courses and networking in three areas: learning, testing and financing. With a total of 35,000+ community members, 60+ mentors, 400 learning materials and 3,500+ business ideas, Startarium is unique in combining the mechanisms of incubators and accelerators to assist entrepreneurs.
The network also fosters a society that promotes innovation, education, and gainful employment, among others. Notable works in 2018 include Impact Hub San José’s efforts with the vice president of Costa Rica in enabling 20 farms to export to the United States; Accelerate2030, where 16 Impact Hubs are working with the United Nations Development Programme to identify and scale innovative ventures tackling the SDGs; and Impact Hub Amsterdam’s partnership with the World Wildlife Fund on the Plastics Free Ocean Accelerator, which in turn garnered environmental business, ‘Ioniqa’, a €12 million investment and a partnership with consumer goods giant Unilever.
Interested parties may visit local Impact Hubs to learn more about Impact Hub network’s commitment and programs under the 17 SDGs. Know more about how you can make a change by using #bepartofthechange, #networksforchange, #scalingimpact on social media.
Visit www.bepartofthechange.impacthub.net for more information and to download the full report.
About Impact Hub Network
Impact Hub is a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of 16,500 change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 55 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest communities and accelerators for positive change. We build ecosystems to drive collaboration and entrepreneurial innovation around the Global Sustainable Development Goals through locally rooted Impact Hubs, as well as with partners and allied networks.
Edilaine de Abreu
Global Communications Lead