For the launch of our global Environmental Strategy, we spoke to Anne Merkle, Environmental Lead at Impact Hub Network.
Q: First things first, tell us, why do you do what you do?
A: Simply put, because I carry a deep love for our planet in me and want to know that I did everything possible for future generations to have the chance for a vibrant, peaceful and content life.
I CARRY A DEEP LOVE FOR OUR PLANET IN ME AND WANT TO KNOW THAT I DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO HAVE THE CHANCE FOR A VIBRANT, PEACEFUL AND CONTENT LIFE.”
When I grew up on a small island in the Baltic Sea in Germany I had no idea about what harm was already taking place. The Club of Rome already pointed to the threat in 1972 but growth was more important and too little did people know and understand.
Now most of us do understand that there is a crisis – one that impacts us all. I just could not pretend and simply continue with the “good life” I envisioned for myself when I was building my sandcastles on the beach.
I decided to listen to science, educate myself, change what I can in my own life and dedicate my work to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss in my unique way. The environmental emergency we all face can seem far away but just let this sink in: half of the island I grew up on will disappear with sea levels rising and this is just 80 years away. My home town will be almost completely gone. It might not happen in my lifetime but that doesn’t make it matter any less. I had two options: get paralysed or do what I could. You can guess what I chose – using my area of influence, my skills and taking it one step at a time.
Even if it is small steps – moving is what matters. If we all – governments and non-greenwashing corporates, but also start-ups and us as humans – do the same, let’s see what might be possible. I want to be a climate optimist!
Q: Incredible story, Anne. Thanks for sharing. You’re leading the launch of the Environmental Strategy of the Impact Hub Network. What is this all about? Who’s involved?
A: When the Impact Hub Network decided last year that environmental action as well as diversity, equity and inclusion will be our two key focus areas in our 2030 strategy, my heart jumped! The potential for all 100+ Impact Hubs to stand behind and put their energy on these two crucial and very interconnected topics… WOW. Don’t get me wrong, Impact Hub has already had so many great successes in social innovation and many environmental programs. Still, this strategy can take us to a whole new level – so much is possible.
The Impact Hub Network stands side by side with the local, regional and global communities that are aiming to tackle our climate emergency. As a network, we aim to contribute to building a regenerative economy while focusing specifically on actions in the areas of Net Zero (energy, mobility and construction), Food & Agriculture and Circularity.
AS A NETWORK, WE AIM TO CONTRIBUTE TO BUILDING A REGENERATIVE ECONOMY WHILE FOCUSING SPECIFICALLY ON ACTIONS IN THE AREAS OF NET ZERO, FOOD & AGRICULTURE AND CIRCULARITY.”
Of course, we acknowledge our limited climate expertise – but we want to use our unique innovation and start-up support knowledge, our influence and our locally rooted globally yet connected networks, to co-create with key partners. We can’t – and won’t – do this alone but we are ready for serious and large scale action. Doing this with three core values in mind: being grounded in science, daring and positive.
The strategy was co-created with Impact Hubs across the globe and we are now moving into implementation. I hope in a year from now we can say: everyone – every Impact Hub employee, every member, every partner – thinks about and acts on our environmental action strategy and it is fully integrated within our work. Making it a priority will offer all our members a great chance to grow in this area and receive targeted support while opening the doors for many new strategic partnerships.
Q: Sounds ambitious! Can you elaborate on some concrete actions we’re taking as a network?
A: We have three key areas of action for now. And being honest, we will learn (a lot!) together as a network and with our partners and adapt as we go. Nevertheless, this is our starting point:
First, to empower our membersto have either neutral or positive environmental impact. It doesn’t matter what SDG they work on. We want to support all our members to consider their environmental impact and act on it. Let’s not forget we are talking about 24.000 people and counting!
Second, to support green ventures to scale their impact faster, especially in our focus areas (net zero, Food & Agriculture and Circularity). We want to run more thematic local, regional and global programs; convene key stakeholders to co-create actions; and create more visibility for the existing solutions of our members.
Lastly, to role model through our spaces. For us, looks both at becoming a CO2 Neutral Coworking community by 2025 (and eventually net zero) but goes further by looking at all our operations and aims to fully integrate the topic in a locally fitting manner.
Q: Which two actions are you personally most excited about?
A: I would first choose our recent Circularity Program. In 2021, we started a prototype exploring how to integrate circular design principles into all our programs across 12 Impact Hubs in Africa and Europe. The idea is simple: equipping start-up founders with this knowledge early on to anticipate the environmental impact of their ventures and make different choices when it is still easy to make changes.
THE IDEA BEHIND OUR CIRCULARITY PROGRAM: TO EQUIP START-UP FOUNDERS WITH CIRCULARITY KNOWLEDGE EARLY ON TO ANTICIPATE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THEIR VENTURES AND MAKE CHANGES.”
After this pilot, the intention is to have all 100+ Impact Hubs incorporate this knowledge in all their programs. This is already pretty exciting as we run 240+ start-up support programs a year across the network.
We also want to make this knowledge and approach accessible to other social enterprise support organisations – so can you imagine everyone supporting start-ups includes education on circularity as a standard for their programs across the globe? Nice, right?!
The second? I will keep it brief. We already have a lot of excellent programs globally and within local Impact Hubs, such as the Ikea Supply Chain Innovation on food and packaging or the 35ish programs we run with WWF – one of our global strategic partners for almost 10 years tackling topics from deforestation in the Amazon, to innovative solutions to protect biodiversity in Austria, to sustainable energy in Rwanda to a recent program on plastics in China. I am super excited to identify the programs that work best, bring the concepts to more Impact Hubs and get back to the drawing board to come up with some completely new program ideas with partners.
And of course, there are many internal pieces we will need to figure out. One example is how do we measure, compensate and reduce our CO2 as a community operating in 60 countries, each facing different realities. We are excited to get started!
Q: Love the excitement! Now, let’s dream a little. What’s the potential impact we aim to make through these actions?
A: Today’s start-ups are tomorrow’s multinationals. When talking about environmental action it takes a lot of effort from governments (big time!) and of course, companies and citizens are just as important. Yet, start-ups and their contribution is often overlooked. That is the unique role that Impact Hub can play: getting the start-up world (starting with our network… but you asked me to dream!) to come to play and not on the side stage but joining the others on the main stage. It is not just the start-up solutions but also the entrepreneurial spirit and the innovative energy that we need so badly to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis we face.
When we reach 2030, I hope we will look back and be proud of the change we co-created with our members and partners. We are ready – it won’t be perfect but we are hungry for change and want to contribute in our unique way as a network.
Q: Thank you, Anne, for this inspiring, action-filled, story.
If you are an impact-driven social entrepreneur and have an idea or startup that is creating a positive impact in your community, we are launching “Close the Gap” to help accelerate your project!
To encourage and support change on a community level, Impact Hub and adidas have partnered to support 30 early-stage social start-ups, non-profit organizations, or initiatives from around the world.
The aim is to empower businesses that are led by underrepresented entrepreneurs, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and changemakers who are supporting diverse populations to close the opportunity gap through education and/or sports. This will be done by providing tailored virtual support, expert advice, and networking opportunities.
If selected, you will receive:
Expert business advice from adidas’ employees on the main challenges facing the entrepreneur.
Venture visibility in the Impact Hub and adidas network.
A FREE Global Connect Membership and access to the Impact Hub network.
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.
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 protected]
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
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.
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.
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.
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: