To get tested, find the site nearest you and make an appointment: https://houstonemergency.org/covid-19-testing/
NEED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT? GO TO PPE FOR THE PEOPLE
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
To stay safe, informed, and get help:
(SBA: Guía de recursos empresariales, en Español)
Online Tools, Workshops and Programs for Startups and Small Businesses
Resources for Creative Professionals and Artists (All Types)
Online Tips and Tools for Parents and Families
National Resources and Financial Assistance Opportunities:
DIY Mask Tutorial and Local Efforts:
If you have any resources you’d like us to include, please add them in the comments, below!
If you’re working on a project to help with COVID-19 Relief and need help with fundraising to expand your impact, contact us about fiscal sponsorship — learn more about what it is and how it works at https://houston.impacthub.net/fiscal-sponsorship/
And if you appreciate the work we’re doing and want to help us survive this so we can keep doing it, please donate any amount here:
PLEASE DONATE TO KEEP THIS RESOURCE GOING!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Together, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Impact Hub are pleased to announce the international finalists for the Accelerate2030 programme. Accelerate2030, is an international programme that supports high-impact ventures tackling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Since 2016, the Accelerate2030 programme has been implemented across 24 countries, covering 16 developing countries in this year’s edition.
Selected from over 1100 applications, this year represents a diverse cohort of impact-driven ventures covering numerous SDGs including innovative solutions for rapid and inexpensive diagnostics, bioplastic from olive seeds, and using artificial intelligence in agritech, to name only a few.
“This year’s cohort of Accelerate2030 ventures are developing innovative solutions to important Sustainable Development Goals. It is innovators like these entrepreneurs who set the pace for addressing the world’s most pressing challenges related to the environment, food security, clean water, and many other important challenges manifested by SDGs.” notes Artak Melkonyan, UNDP.
Photo Credit: ImpactHubSanJose
The 10 International Accelerate2030 finalists are:
Unima (Mexico): Biotechnology company that develops rapid and inexpensive diagnostic and disease surveillance systems. The company’s goal is to solve the lack of access to rapid diagnostics for the 3 billion people in developing and resource-poor countries.
Portal Telemedicina (Brazil): Portal Telemedicina’s mission is to enable universal access to quality healthcare, through a platform that provides reliable, fast, and low-cost diagnostics to over 300 cities in Brazil and Africa by allowing doctors to diagnose online empowered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Bio Live (Turkey): Biolive produces 100% natural bioplastic granules made from olive seeds, in order to overcome environmental problems of plastic consumption, and to fulfil the deficiencies in bio/plastic market.
AgroCognitive (Venezuela): An affordable and smart precision farming platform for every farm size and food industry. It is powered by an artificial intelligence (AI) visual recognition engine, analytics models, blockchain, and it is compatible with IoT management devices.
Ekofungi (Serbia): Ekofungi is a mid-sized organic mushroom producer using an innovative circular mushroom-production model that harnesses local cellulose-based wastes (in a 30 km radius), creating mushroom substrate and cultivation mushrooms using unique energy-efficient innovations.
Impact Water (Nigeria): Delivering safe water to developing country institutions (schools and health facilities), via the sale, installation, and maintenance of water purification systems which use established technologies that perform effectively for decades with relatively simple, preventive maintenance.
InvestEd (The Philippines): InvestEd enables institutions and individuals to invest in loans to unbanked college students through an innovative credit scoring tool that predicts repayment and employment.
Sampangan (Indonesia): An innovative waste processing solution using carbonisation technology (heat radiation) to efficiently decompose any kind of solid waste (organic & inorganic) into carbon for organic agriculture and other industries.
Costa Rica Insect Company (Costa Rica): Creating sustainable insect-based solutions, and providing high quality and healthy solutions for malnutrition. In addition CRIC seeks to use of insects to develop biochemical components for unsustainable industries such as plastics, pharmaceuticals, technology or even packaging.
SoluBio (Brazil): SoluBio’s mission is to eliminate the usage of chemicals in agriculture through a technology that enables farmers to produce their own biofungicide, biopesticide and other necessary products in agriculture.
For more information on the ventures, visit https://accelerate2030.net/2019-global-finalists
These ten finalists will join the global Accelerate2030 scaling programme, kicked off by an intensive
week of activities in Geneva from 4-11 of October, benefitting from a set of services and support offered by UNDP, Impact Hub, International Trade Centre, Pfizer, Amazon Web Services, UNAIDS, Boston Consulting Group and other program partners. The Geneva week is part of the Building Bridges Week, connecting key players working in the field of sustainable finance, with the entrepreneurs presenting at the SDG Geneva Finance Summit (SGS Geneva) on October 9th, and the Factory17 event on October 10th.
Accelerate2030 is a multi-stakeholder program, co-initiated by Impact Hub and UNDP, with the mission to scale the impact of entrepreneurial solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme has to-date been implemented in three editions, in 24 developing and emerging economies across Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe, reaching 2 million people and more than 1500 entrepreneurs, and engaging around 50 partners globally. Within this time, the programme has brought together numerous entrepreneurs, investors, UN agencies, multinational organizations, consultancies, local authorities and other stakeholders around a common mission of addressing the SDGs through entrepreneurial solutions.
This year the program was launched across 16 countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, Cambodia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico, El Salvador, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Turkey, Serbia, and Armenia.
For more information & interview requests, please contact:
Impact Hub Geneva UNDP Geneva
Ljupka Mitrinovska, Accelerate2030 Sarah Bel
Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +41 76 396 64 13
Learn more about the program at www.accelerate2030.net.
Media kit with photos and visuals available here.
JOIN FORCES FOR THE OCEANS: For any of our members and partners addressing themes like climate, energy, food, water, and oceans — some of WWF’s key areas of focus — Impact Hub has a partnership with WWF that aims to bring together innovators from our two networks, identify high potential solutions and provide these with access to WWF’s deep expertise in nature conservation as well as credibility and support in scaling and access to finance.
Impact Hub’s partnership with WWF builds on 8 years of successful collaboration and now enters a new phase. Our ambition is to expand our collaboration to many more countries around the globe, working together on a deep strategic level to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.
First, we need to have a better sense of the kind of solutions within the wider community. Then we might, for example, provide ventures with best practices from Impact Hubs around the globe, reach out regarding relevant events, WWF projects, joint programs, support offers, among other things to inspire and enable you to move forward with your project.
One dump truck full of plastic waste enters our ocean every minute and by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. As unsettling as these facts are, there are lots of changemakers out there already getting involved and acting for a more sustainable world. If you are one of them, don’t miss the chance to learn from our experience and make a difference. Register now!: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScKtXZYmF-Cnqnz61Txg9GPD7bypXoBtjdNMLll_yOGEUhSBw/viewform
To learn more, go to http://wwf.impacthub.net/about/. If you’re an Impact Hub Houston member and apply to participate, please let us know! >>> email@example.com
…and if you’d like to become a member and participate in this opportunity, sign up now at https://houston.impacthub.net/membership. We look forward to helping you create the impact you wish to see in the world!
- “She Breaks Barriers” program for ventures removing the barriers faced by girls and young women in sport
- Teams have the chance to co-create with adidas and win €15,000
- Start-ups, non-profits and initiatives can apply until July 7
adidas and Impact Hub today opened applications for the “She Breaks Barriers” program, which will support changemakers that are removing the barriers that stand between girls and sport. Early-stage start-ups, non-profits and other initiatives that operate in Germany and address access, gender stereotype and visibility barriers faced by girls in sport have until July 7 to apply for the three-month program. It aims to inspire and enable girls and young women under the age of 25 — who at this age are at particularly high risk of being systematically shut out of sport.
She Breaks Barriers is a series of adidas initiatives to inspire and enable the next generation of female athletes, creators, and leaders. This program is run in partnership with the social entrepreneurship network Impact Hub — one of the world’s largest communities for positive change — and draws on their expertise to find and boost ventures that remove barriers to sport for girls. We are looking for changemakers who address any relevant barriers, from safety concerns to a lack of opportunity and access to sport or limited visibility of female sports in the news and in the local sports club.
“At adidas, we believe that through sport, we have the power to change lives. ‘She Breaks Barriers’ is about inspiring and enabling the next generation of strong, confident leaders. It’s about removing the barriers between women and sport, and providing them with the tools necessary to lift themselves and others up, on and off the pitch”, Luc Van Hoeckel, adidas’ Director of Social Impact.
The selected teams will have the chance to get mentoring and coaching from experienced adidas experts, attend three tailored business clinics, co-create with adidas & access the global network of both adidas and Impact Hub, and win € 15,000.
“The program is not just about removing challenges that girls and young women encounter on the sports pitch but also about breaking the societal barriers that prevent them from participating in sport: The ventures we are looking for could be anything from initiatives that eliminate gender and sports stereotypes to mobile apps ensuring safe transport for girls to their training”, Gabriela Gandel, Impact Hub’s Global Executive Director.
Any early-stage start-ups, non-profit organizations and initiatives that operate in Germany can apply, as long as they have a unique, innovative and creative approach to removing barriers for girls in sport, a proof of concept, and a sustainable financial, funding or business model.
For more information and to apply, visit the She Breaks Barriers website.
adidas has its roots in Germany but it is a truly global company. Around the world, the company employs over 57,000 people. Employees from about 100 nations are working at the global HQ in Herzogenaurach, Germany – the ‘World of Sports’. Every year, adidas produces over 900 million sports and sports lifestyle products with independent manufacturing partners worldwide.
About Impact Hub:
Impact Hub is a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of 16,000+ change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 50 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.
Africa’s social innovation scene is blossoming
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
Is it any surprise that re:publica chose Accra as its first non-European destination this year? Or that German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently visited Impact Hub Accra, and that The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, just visited Lusaka to meet the local entrepreneurs devoted to changing the entrepreneurial ecosystem for this better? Hardly.
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.
Find out more about Africa’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem here.
Learn more about re:publica Accra from the event’s co-organizers: Impact Hub Accra.
Prince Harry’s support for Impact Hub Lusaka works towards the following SDGs: