The Cannon and Impact Hub Houston Partner to Expand Diversity-Centered Programming in Houston’s Startup Ecosystem

HOUSTON, (August 27, 2019) – The Cannon and Impact Hub Houston are excited to announce their new partnership to create more inclusive and diversity-centered programs across the Greater Houston area.

Impact Hub Houston, a member of the global Impact Hub network—the world’s largest community dedicated to helping social entrepreneurs create impact at scale—aims to make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues. With collaboration as a cornerstone, Impact Hub Houston and The Cannon will work together to deliver events that connect and empower diverse changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters across the Greater Houston area.

The Cannon recently welcomed nearly 500 of Houston’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, small businesses and service providers into their community with the opening of their newly-constructed 120K sq. ft. Main Campus in West Houston in late July. Lawson Gow, Founder and CEO of The Cannon, notes, “One of Houston’s best differentiating qualities is that we are truly a melting pot. We want our community to reflect the amazing diversity across our city, so we have to move beyond simply discussing diversity and work to create an environment where innovation can thrive and real change can happen. We are confident Impact Hub will be the perfect partner to bring those aspects to our community.”

Grace Rodriguez, CEO and Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston, shares, “Over the past few years, Lawson and I have brainstormed how we could work together to connect and grow our region’s innovation ecosystem, and demonstrate how organizations can evolve from competition to true collaboration. I’m so excited that those talks have developed into this partnership: Through The Cannon and Impact Hub Houston, we’ll be able to effectively ‘meet people where they are’ geographically, socially, and culturally, helping diverse entrepreneurs and startups at the myriad intersections of place, purpose, demographics, psychographics, and business growth stages. We at Impact Hub Houston look forward to doing more good with the great team at The Cannon!”

Impact Hub Houston will establish a #PopHUB at The Cannon – Main Campus and provide programming there, at The Cannon – Post Oak just west of the Galleria, and at additional new locations as they open. Members of each organization will also receive access to both organizations’ locations across Houston.

To kick off the partnership, the organizations will host a joint AMA panel and reception at The Cannon on September 11, 2019, followed by Impact Hub Houston’s Social Entrepreneurship Meetup. Both events intend to bring their communities and the general public together, as all are invited to come learn more about the organizations, the partnership, and what this and future collaborations will mean for Houston.

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About The Cannon (https://thecannonhouston.com)
The Cannon is a coworking space and entrepreneurship hub located at the center of the 32-acre Founders District on the west side of Houston, just north of Interstate 10 and Beltway 8. Currently, there are over 200 companies in The Cannon community working at The Cannon – Main Campus, a brand new 120K square foot converted warehouse that is one of the largest coworking and offices spaces in the world, and at The Cannon – Post Oak, the first of many satellite locations that will allow for even more flexibility and resources for Houston’s entrepreneurs. The Cannon plans to headquarter over 800 of Houston’s most accomplished entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses, and will be surrounded by service providers and resources geared to help their businesses grow.

About Impact Hub Houston (https://houston.impacthub.net)
Impact Hub Houston is a locally rooted, globally connected, nonprofit startup development organization that aims 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 build an inclusive innovation ecosystem and empower diverse changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters to create the change they wish to see in the world.

The Secret to Driving Change: Embracing Your Humanity

As I dig into my own research on organizations changing lives for the better, it’s only fitting this month’s UN theme be Human Rights. Uniformly, I find the businesses and charities championingnhuman rights (through economic inclusion, physical safety, or personal autonomy) and thriving put one thing at the forefront of their work.

Their humanity.

What better way to move the needle on the world’s challenges (like human rights violations) than to remember our own humanity? The more founders embrace who they are, and infuse
themselves into their work, the more traction and attention their work gets.

It’s easy to see why that’s the case. Humanizing our work builds culture and it’s culture that creates loyalists and communities invested in our success. The social capital that comes with community investment beats out tote bags and hashtags any day.

As you put your own solutions out into the world I challenge you to take the more “humane” approach to business by remembering a few things:

Lean Into the Messy
In the world of decks and pitches, there’s a ton of pressure to have all of the answers and execute. Thing is, you’ll never have all of the answers. Even worse, if you preoccupy yourself with finding answers you’ll miss some pretty interesting problems.

Move yourself and your team away from the need for certainty, and embrace the humanity of evolving. Curiosity is one of the best ways to explore empathy, and empathy is how you get to
the root of a successful solution.

Build in a student mindset and I promise you’ll start to see new ways of integrating clients, engaging beneficiaries, new solutions to thorny problems, and identify growth opportunities that fit who you are and who you serve.

Talk About Yourself
Don’t mistake this for prattling on about yourself endlessly. What draws people into adopting, supporting or not protesting solutions is understanding your relationship to, and passion for, the problem. Why is the problem so important to you and your team? How are you touched? What have you experienced?

Talking about your interest(s) in the problem creates transparency, trust, and humanizes it for the listener.

People move when they are moved.

Chunk the Persona
So listen up, we have all read the same twenty or so startup books with the same advice and mantras. So when you copy and paste these into your pitches, donor materials, or projects they tend not to stand out because we have all seen it before.

Even worse? When we co-opt based on the lens of another there’s almost always incongruency between who we say we are and what we do.

Make it easy, and be yourself. Infuse your values, mission, and vision in all that you touch. If democratic and inclusive discussion are paramount to you, your legal business structure should reflect that. If you support wealth-generation and equity, your supply chain should reflect the local economy. If you want to fundraise in a way that builds wealth and equity, really think about venture capital versus a crowd-funding approach.

If we look at a list of your dreams, mission, and vision then look at your business operations, model, and recruiting there should be alignment between the two.

Own Your Impact
The research is in, and it turns out we as humans like to be liked. There are a number of historical and anthropological reasons for this, but the bottom line is it’s uncomfortable to be different. Which is why there’s a gut inclination for some impact organizations to apologize for not fitting neatly into boxes the philanthropic, corporate, or venture create. Either squeezing themselves in or erasing their distinctive nature.

But projects solving the world’s largest challenges are complex and messy because the WORLD is complex and messy. Organizations moving the needle understand this and embrace it.
The next time you feel the need to apologize because someone doesn’t understand why you do what you do, fight the urge to apologize and translate instead. How does your business model
educate and promote more charitable behavior? What are the economics behind inclusion and mental wellness?

Don’t shrink when confronted, expand.

Create Your Own Definitions
I’ll end with saying, not everyone’s dreams will be your dreams; nor should they be. There are milestones startup media heralds as indicative of “success.” Thing is, those milestones may not work for you and what you’re doing. Organizations solving the problems others haven’t dared touch, such as human rights violations, must define for themselves what success looks like…for them.

I truly believe running a business, charity or project should never require we co-opt someone else’s experiences or discard any parts of our own. The best way to have a positive impact and move us all into forwarding change will come when you embrace that you have a perspective and experience that no one else has had or will have again. Use that to your advantage and see how much progress you make.

Impact Hub Houston thanks Erin McClarty for authoring this piece. Erin is a mix between a business coach, attorney, impact architect, and vision doula. She helps people run businesses, foundations, initiatives, and movements that are unique to the founders. In doing her work, Erin works to carve out spaces that are the truest of expressions of who they are, allowing them to heal themselves while they heal their communities. Learn more about Erin and the services she offers by clicking here to visit her website. 

June 2019 Impact Updates

Impact Friends and Family,

June has been filled with celebration at Impact Hub Houston!

Did you hear? We are excited to partner with Houston Exponential for a summer pop-up! Stop by to say hello!

What else?

We launched the Impact Hub Houston Community Membership this month! We’re working to offer you more programs to learn from, more events to connect at, more storytelling to inspire you, and new virtual and physical spaces to empower your networking and coworking! Learn more at https://houston.impacthub.net/membership — if you’re ready to take our relationship to the next level, apply to become an Impact Hub Houston Community Member, today!

Before June flies by, be sure to connect with the Impact Hub Houston fam on Friday, June 28:

…and don’t miss out on these opportunities from Houston’s broader impact + innovation ecosystem:

We look forward to seeing you at these events!
Team Houston

Impact Hub and WWF Join Forces for the Oceans!

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! >>> houston@impacthub.net

…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!