Impact Hub Houston and the Black Marketing Initiative Partner to Launch “#MarketBlack”: A Virtual Business Success Training and Small Business Fund for Houston Area Businesses.
In service to our community, and in honor of Black History Month, Impact Hub Houston and the Black Marketing Initiative (BMI) are excited to announce #MarketBlack — BMI’s new training, mentoring, and networking program specifically designed to help black entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Greater Houston area elevate their businesses, connect with resources, and uplift them during and after the pandemic, with the belief that community can positively impact us all.
Designed by educators and entrepreneurs, #MarketBlack brings together 7 weeks of expert-led workshops, creative community cultivation, and interactive training modules specifically geared toward Black entrepreneurs in Houston. Impact Hub Houston serves as The Black Marketing Initiative’s fiscal sponsor for the project, to provide promotional and fundraising support, access to its network and community, and ensure the project’s success. Another key community partner, Sankofa Research Institute, is providing research services for the program, tracking partners’ and participants’ progress and outcomes in order to report on the health of Houston’s black business community and determine the efficacy of the program.
MarketBlack enjoys the support of more than 20 businesses and entrepreneurs in the Houston area, and is continuing to grow every day. In addition to Impact Hub Houston and The Black Marketing Initiative, partners and participants in the project include: Action One Media, Marcus Bowers of Marcus Bowers TV and She’s Happy Hair, Sankofa Research Institute, Choose to Do, Inc, Emergent Business Solutions (the creator of African Fashion Week), South Union CDC of the Sunnyside Energy Project, and many local business owners who are serving as expert panelists, instructors, and financial partners throughout the program.
Action Jackson, one of the leaders and organizers of MarketBlack, shares: “The Black Marketing Initiative is not just about being Black — it is also about the belief that community can positively impact us all. Successful Black entrepreneurs are good for business. Good for community. Good for everybody. We have to be the change we want to see. Join us in our mission to not only ensure Black Owned Businesses survive, but THRIVE! Be a part of history TODAY: Help us raise money to ensure sustainability of small businesses in our area. Together, #WeAllCanWin!”
Due to the surging COVID-19 case numbers in Texas, we’re sharing these resources with you in order to make sure you have updated and accurate information to keep you and your loved ones and community safe and healthy over the holidays:
The Houston Health Department and its agency partners are announcing the schedule for sites offering free COVID-19 tests the week of December 14, 2020. The week will offer 19 FREE+FAST+SAFE testing sites across Houston.
Houston Health Department
The Houston Health Department will offer drive-thru testing at two surge sites affiliated with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Southwest Multi-Service Center, 6400 High Star Drive, and Houston Community College – North Forest, 6010 Little York Rd., will offer nasal self swab tests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Appointments are available at doineedacovid19test.com and on-site registration is also available. Each site has a daily capacity of 1,250 tests.
The department also offers free drive-thru testing via self-nasal swab at the Aramco Services Company, 9009 W. Loop South. The mega testing site will open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The site has a daily capacity of 1,000 tests.
People wanting to get tested at the Aramco site can call the department’s COVID-19 Call Center at 832-393-4220.
The department will offer testing at three community sites that don’t require appointments and remain open until each reaches its daily capacity of 250 tests. The sites and their hours of operation are:
Holy Ghost Catholic Church, 6921 Chetwood Drive, Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., drive thru or walk up, self-nasal swab,
Melrose Community Center, 1001 Canino Rd., Tuesday-Thursday. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., drive thru, self-nasal swab, and
Unity of Houston Church, 2929 Unity Dr., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. drive thru or walk up, self-nasal swab.
The department will provide self-nasal swab testing at the METRO Addicks Park & Ride, 14230 Katy Freeway, and the Multicultural Center, 951 Tristar Drive, city of Webster. Appointments are available by calling the department’s call center at 832-393-4220.
Texas Division of Emergency Management
Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and the Houston Astros offer self-oral swab tests daily at Minute Maid Park (Lot C), 2208 Preston. The testing site’s capacity is 1,200 tests per day.
The site features evening hours twice a week, eight drive-thru testing lanes and four walk-up testing lanes. It opens 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Spanish-speaking staff is available on-site.
Visit curative.com to set an appointment or obtain more information. On-site registration is also available.
TDEM and the department will also operate drive-thru sites offering tests Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:
HCC – Northeast Campus, 555 Community College Drive, self-mouth swab tests, and
HCC – South Campus, 1990 Airport Blvd., nasal swab tests by healthcare professionals.
TDEM and the department offer drive thru, nasal-swab tests administered by healthcare professionals at LeRoy Crump Stadium, 12321 Alief Clodine Rd. The site is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Federally Qualified Health Centers
The health department is providing test kits, lab access and equipment to local Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) so they can expand their COVID-19 testing capacity. The centers and phone numbers people can call to set up testing appointments are:
HOPE Clinic, 713-773-0803
Spring Branch Community Health Center, 713-462-6565
El Centro de Corazon, 713-660-1880
Avenue 360 Health and Wellness, 713-426-0027
Lone Star Circle of Care at the University of Houston, 346-348-1200, and
Scarsdale Family Health Center, 281-824-1480.
FQHC patients pay what they can afford, based on income and family size, and are not denied services due to inability to pay or lack of insurance.
The department and its agency partners may shift locations and schedules of test sites to better meet community needs. Houstonians can visit HoustonEmergency.org/covid19 for current Houston testing sites and information about stopping the spread of the virus.
Information obtained through testing, treatment or services will not be used against immigrants in their public charge evaluation.
We are grateful for YOU! After a year riddled with challenges and crisis, we truly appreciate all of you who stepped up to host an event, made time to speak and share your insights, and showed up to connect with and learn from your peers for The Houston Innovation Summit this year. You helped ensure Houston and Texas were at the top of people’s minds for Innovation + Impact during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).
Thanks to you, Houston became the #3 city in the country for GEW this year!
A few quick stats on #THIS2020:
Number of Houston-based events and conferences: 55
Approximate number of speakers and participants: 1513 people
Lastly, if you took any fun screenshots, photos, or video during the summit, please share them with us on online by tagging us and adding #THIS2020 + #HOUImpact.
We hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend; and we look forward to seeing you on the interwebs again soon!
Cheers to impact,
Grace, Michelle, and the Impact Hub Houston community
P.S. Established in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey, THIS celebrates Houston’s impact + innovation ecosystem by bringing together startups, entrepreneurs, funders, talent and support organizations through a week of programs and events. If you’d like to participate in THIS next year as a sponsor or event host, please contact Grace!
Special Thanks to Houston Downtown Redevelopment Authority, Syzygy Plasmonics, Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union, Houston Exponential, HCC, Z Labs, SoGal Foundation, Greentown Houston, and Impact Hub Houston Members for your continued support!
We hope you’re staying safe and taking care of yourself. If you think you’ve been exposed, you can find local testing locations at https://covidcheck.hctx.net/.
Announcing the Fourth Annual “THIS: THE HOUSTON INNOVATION SUMMIT” – Celebrating Houston During Global Entrepreneurship Week!
October 28, 2020 – Houston, TX – Impact Hub Houston, a 501c3 nonprofit startup incubator dedicated to helping diverse changemakers and social entrepreneurs launch impact-driven ventures, is excited to announce the fourth annual “THIS: The Houston Innovation Summit.” A week-long celebration of Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem during Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16-22, THIS 2020 focuses on the intersections of Innovation and Impact, bringing together economic stakeholders, startups, startup development organizations, entrepreneurs, investors, funders through a series of events around the Global Entrepreneur Network’s themes of “Education, Ecosystems, Inclusion, Policy.”
“Each year, Global Entrepreneurship Week amplifies the great work being done to support entrepreneurs across the country while connecting them to more opportunities to start and scale in their own communities,” said Ellen Bateman, director for U.S. ecosystems at the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
“From the COVID-19 pandemic to racial injustice to the increasingly dire effects of climate change to one of the most polarized political environments this generation has seen, 2020 has presented a number of crises for changemakers to respond to” said Grace Rodriguez, CEO/Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston and Founder of THIS. “But Houston is resilient. Houstonians are resilient. We’ve made great strides in rising to this year’s challenges by launching new resources to help diverse communities survive and thrive; by strengthening collaboration among our startup and small businesses ecosystems to support diverse entrepreneurs; and by developing more inclusive practices and sustainable policies for our city to move forward. We are excited to bring together Houston’s startup community and Impact Hub’s global network to showcase this progress, share lessons learned, and raise awareness for our innovation ecosystem internationally. With many in-person events postponed and people continuing to work from home, THIS is a great way to help everyone connect, get inspired, learn from and celebrate each other as we grow the next generation of big ideas.”
THIS 2020 highlights include:
Nov 5-20: Climathon Houston 2020 – a global hackathon/ideathon for climate action solutions
Impact Hub Houston is a locally rooted, globally connected, 501c3 nonprofit startup and small business development organization that works to make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues. A member of the Impact Hub global network—the world’s largest community recognized by the United Nations for accelerating entrepreneurial solutions towards measurable and scalable impact for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—Impact Hub Houston intentionally designs places, platforms and programs to empower diverse changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters and build an inclusive innovation ecosystem that looks like Houston and works for all.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors — introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.
Review Voter ID Requirements – Voter ID requirements can frequently change, so double check your state’s Voter ID Laws to ensure you have what you need before you head to the polls.
Practice COVID-19 Safety – Continue to follow essential COVID-19 health tips including wearing a mask, sanitize/wash your hands before and after voting, and maintain social distancing while waiting in line. Select your state to view COVID-19 election information.
VOTE! – Make sure your voice is heard on November 3. Vote early to avoid longer wait times on Election Day. Make a voting plan and check in with your friends to make sure they are ready to snag a snazzy “I Voted” sticker, too.
To find your voter eligibility and your closest polling locations, visit voteamerica.com.
To protect your rights as a voter, get to know what they are and what you’re able to do about them at vote.org’s Election Protection Guide. If you encounter any issues when trying to vote, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.
Now share this with your friends and family, and make your plan to get to the polls on Tuesday, November 3rd!
Many thanks to all who joined the kick-off to our new series, “Core Conversations,” this week! Aimed at raising awareness, understanding, and action for the issues that profoundly impact our community, each Core Conversation will examine a Global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) within our local context, provide space to reflect, challenge our assumptions, and explore potential solutions to society’s wicked problems.
We were able to record the conversation with Phillip so you can learn about his experiences as a “First Generation Black American” and how that inspires and impacts who he is and what he does: https://youtu.be/AjFiVQrWJIU
We are putting our Core Values to the test to reflect, re-examine, and re-imagine who we are and who we want to be as a community, so we can see where we fall short and strategize how we should move forward. We hope you’ll continue to join us on this journey!
Many thanks to our peers around the world — including Impact Hub Zurich, Impact Hub Manila, and all of our Impact Hub fam around the world — for standing beside us in denouncing racism, xenophobia, prejudice and bigotry in all forms!
To us, diversity is not just a commitment — diversity is who we are. Diversity is the expression of our very existence. It’s why inclusion and equity are core to what we do: If we leave anyone behind, we fail. If we lock anyone out, we lose. If we do not work to engage, empower, and elevate our neighbors who have been overlooked, marginalized, disadvantaged, under-served and under-invested in, we cannot build an authentic ecosystem that looks like Houston, works like Houston, and works for Houston. For one of the largest and most diverse communities in the United States, anything that falls short of that would be unacceptable.
We partnered with the national Page 30 Coalition,StartUsUp and the Hispanic Star campaign to drive policies that support minority-owned businesses and hold our elected officials accountable for implementing equity-focused elements of the CARES Act.
We are proud to announce our support to champion diverse businesses in underserved and rural communities as a member of the Page 30 Coalition. The coalition aims to push a legislative and regulatory agenda by working with partners around the country to ensure that the critical constituencies recognized on Page 30 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act receive the prioritization that Congress intended. With hundreds of billions already deployed and billions more likely to be released through subsequent COVID-19 packages, Page 30 Coalition is fighting to ensure more is done for these at-risk and underserved businesses.
The Page 30 Coalition was named for the section of the CARES Act from late March of 2020, that reads:
It is the sense of the Senate that the Administrator should issue guidance to lenders and agents to ensure that the processing and disbursement of covered loans prioritizes small business concerns and entities in underserved and rural markets, including veterans and members of the military community, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women and businesses in operations for less than 2 years.
To ensure this prioritization is realized, the Page 30 Coalition has formed a national alliance of industry-leading-organizations to shape America’s legislative and regulatory small business landscape by aggressively advocating for equitable policy solutions that bolsters growth for underserved firms in the years ahead.
Our priorities include:
Expand the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) through December 31, 2020
Eliminate the PPP “first come, first serve” rule and provide prioritization to underserved communities
Extend covered period for PPP loan forgiveness
Expand economic resources for small businesses with 10 employees or less
Dedicate additional aid to America’s most vulnerable small businesses, particularly women, minority, rural, veteran, and start-ups
Call for participating lending entities to provide greater transparency on federal loan disbursement data
We will start sharing updates through our social media accounts on the coalition’s work to support diverse entrepreneurs through non-partisan policy advocacy.
To connect with the coalition, you can contact Jamon Phenix, the Coalition Manager, at [email protected]
Support for the coalition, from some of its national members:
Asian/ Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship
“COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the more than 2 million AAPI businesses in the U.S. Federal relief programs, while welcome and necessary, are only as good as their accessibility. Our community continues to lack federally mandated in-language resources, and many eligible applicants continue to be turned away from participating lenders. We must prioritize our vulnerable populations, which is why the Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (National ACE) is proud to be a founding member of the Page 30 Coalition.”
– Chiling Tong, President & CEO, National ACE
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
“The pandemic is taking a devastating toll on Black-owned businesses. As the voice of Black business owners, we’re calling on Congress to enforce a triage approach to helping small businesses recover from the pandemic. A first come first served approach is utterly unacceptable. Small businesses deserve more, too often aid funding goes to the fastest and savviest, when in fact, those who are hit the hardest deserve to be treated first.”
– Ron Busby, President & CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
“Small business is big business for us at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. We know our economic power and we will exert our influence for many years to come to provide a strong advocacy voice to the benefit of small, Hispanic and minority-owned businesses.”
-Ramiro A. Cavazos, President & CEO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Association for Enterprise Opportunity
“While some initially believed the pandemic would act as ‘the great equalizer,’ the truth is that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting businesses and communities that were already at an economic disadvantage. To reverse this course, policy makers must take rapid and decisive action now. The coronavirus economic relief packages are overlooking millions of micro and MainStreet businesses, which represent more than 90 percent of all businesses in the U.S. For the sake of our nation’s economy, we must ensure that the spirit and intention of the CARES act is carried out by prioritizing businesses that are most vulnerable—those that are owned by people of color, veterans, immigrants and others who operate in low and moderate income communities.”
-Connie Evans, President & CEO of Association for Enterprise Opportunity.
Association of Women’s Business Centers
“AWBC is pleased to participate in the Page 30 coalition and help raise awareness about CARES Act priority in aiding underserved businesses, including women-owned businesses, as outlined by page 30 of the bill.”
– Corinne Hodges, CEO of Association of Women’s Business Centers.
“The Page 30 Coalition has come together in support of Latinx and minority-owned small businesses and independent workers that have been left behind in this crisis. We need to provide lasting and equitable relief for these businesses and workers, especially through the development of institutions and infrastructure to deploy capital to hard-to-reach, underbanked communities. Page 30 is focused on developing these institutions and ensuring that Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) can fill this void, especially for micro-small businesses and their essential workers.”
-James Gutierrez, CEO & Co-Founder of Aura.
“Small businesses make up nearly 50% of our GDP and 50% of our labor market. They are essential to our communities, our economy, and our lives. Gusto data shows that those who can least afford it are being the hardest hit by COVID layoffs. We must prioritize delivering aid to the businesses that need it the most.”
– Lexi Reese, Chief Operating Officer of Gusto.
“The millions of small businesses owned and operated by people of color and other traditionally underserved populations in this country are the primary source of jobs and incomes for their communities and provide critical services. Despite their importance, they are not getting the stimulus dollars they need to help them stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The mainstream banks in charge of distributing this relief too often overlook these businesses and should not be the primary vehicles responsible for lending out this money. Instead, stimulus dollars should be set aside for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other financial entities that are best equipped to support them. The mission of CDFIs is to provide financial products and services to underserved communities like minority-owned small businesses, and they are uniquely positioned to do so. These businesses are a lifeline for these communities and need to be saved during this crisis so they can continue to contribute and thrive, rather than be left to fend for themselves.”
– Gary Cunningham, President & CEO of Prosperity Now.
Houston Health Department & Community-Based Sites: Two free drive-thru COVID-19 community-based testing sites open to anyone Monday through Saturday, regardless of symptoms. Each site has capacity for 500 tests per day. Call 832-393-4220 between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. to receive an access code and directions to the nearest community-based site.
Houston Health Department hotline for COVID-19 questions: 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.
We hope you have been taking advantage of the resources we’ve shared on the http://HOUimpact.com app, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook. We’re doing our best to keep you updated and prepared for whatever comes next. As a global network, we are lucky to have the infrastructure in place to cooperate and act around the world. All Impact Hubs are implementing health and security protocols to support their local communities. We are also leveraging our virtual platform with a group dedicated to all things COVID-19, providing a safe space for open sharing of questions, assets, and best practices that we can then share with you.
To continue serving you locally through the coronavirus COVID-19 sequestering, we’re working to move our events, resources and support online, and are postponing any major celebrations. Our team will reassess policies on a weekly basis and share updates via newsletter, our Global and Local apps, and social media.
While we scale back on in-person meetings, we plan to scale UP on knowledge exchange and resource sharing online. Since Day 1, we’ve been dedicated to meeting people where they are, and practicing radical collaboration, inclusion, and equitable entrepreneurial support. Now, more than ever, we are committed to helping you access the resources and opportunities you need to survive this and thrive beyond it. If you’d like to be the first to know about new resources or updates as they evolve, please join us on http://HOUimpact.com — we are offering this app for FREE to the Greater Houston community to connect and collaborate! (* Impact Hub Members: You get a private group for special mentoring sessions, and still receive free access to any of our virtual workshops! *)
To stay safe, informed, and get help in the Greater Houston area:
Houston Public Media has a dedicated coronavirus page for live updates, 24/7: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/coronavirus/. It includes a guide from PBS on ways to talk to children about the outbreak, and bilingual information from the CDC.
The Houston Health Department has opened up a hotline for questions about COVID-19. Call 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.
We believe that this crisis offers our city and community the opportunity to focus resources towards solving not just for the pandemic, but also for some of Houston’s already-existing issues, from public health and wellness to learning and resource accessibility to mobility disparity to entrepreneurial funding and support. To that end, we’re adding special programs and making vital resources available online for you to continue connecting, ideating, and developing your solution and business through this time…and beyond:
We will continue to work with you to make sure that you are leveraging your benefits to address current challenges and minimize any disruption to your business. Please search your inbox for the invitation to the private Impact Hub Houston Members Group on http://houimpact.com, or contact us directly if you need specific help.
Regarding work spaces: Please try to reschedule or move any non-essential office visits online; and avoid the spaces entirely if you feel ill. If you still need a space to meet IRL, please contact Michelle. Help keep our community safe and healthy so we can all keep doing the work we love!
If you know of any resources and opportunities that we can help share for entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, creatives and freelancers to maintain their work, livelihood, and mission from the safety of home, please post it in http://HOUimpact.com or send it to us at [email 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