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!

ELEVATE: Hubspot Offers Free Inbound Marketing Accelerator Program for Social Ventures & Startups!

For all Impact Hub Houston Members and Community:

Behind every fast-growing startup is the ability to successfully attract, engage, and delight customers.

To do so, high-growth companies must focus on adding value to customers at every stage of their journey. Inbound marketing, sales, and service are well-known methodologies for achieving customer value.

General Catalyst and HubSpot are excited to announce ELEVATE, a free virtual accelerator consisting of eight 1-hour sessions designed to help early-stage startups learn the principles of inbound marketing and create a growth playbook tailored to the needs of their customers. Startups will be invited to attend an exclusive, four-week program where they will join Master Classes led by HubSpot experts to learn inbound methodology fundamentals, and case studies led by General Catalyst portfolio founders and executives to better conceptualize how to apply these principles. In the fourth week, startups will complete a Master Class and case study focused specifically on fundraising led by General Catalyst investors and portfolio founders. 

The summer will culminate with a final pitch event to a live audience at INBOUND19!

Featuring experts from HubSpot, General Catalyst, Stripe, Gusto, B12, and Verta.AI, ELEVATE will teach high-potential startups how to grow better. If you have a social venture or startup and you are looking to grow, apply to ELEVATE today: https://offers.hubspot.com/startups/elevate

Applications close Sunday, May 26th at midnight EDT. Attendees will be notified of their acceptance no later than June 1.

ELEVATE ACCELERATOR SCHEDULE:

Week 1: Attract – June 4th and 6th

  • Master Class: As an emerging company, nothing is more important than driving traffic to your website. The easiest way to attract traffic begins with understanding your target audience.
  • Case StudyLearn how Gusto navigated customer discovery and set up their online presence to attract early customers, and become a top payroll and benefits provider for small businesses.

Week 2: Engage – June 11th and 13th

  • Master Class: Now that you’ve attracted website visitors, you need to engage them with your content and turn them into repeat visitors. As you provide more value to your prospects you will begin to build trust.
  • Case Study: Learn how Stripe built their sales strategy and engaged repeat visitors to become the leading payments platform for internet businesses.

Week 3: Delight – June 18th and 20th

  • Master Class: The cost of acquiring a new customer is dramatically higher than the cost of retaining an existing customer. Creating the final step of the inbound approach, delighting customers should be treated with the same care and attention as all the other steps of the methodology.
  • Case Study: Learn how B12 has continued to delight early customers with their AI-built website product through their deliberate focus on customer success.

Week 4: Present – July 9th and 11th

  • Master Class: With an inbound marketing practice in motion, startups might also be ready to raise seed capital to help fuel anticipated growth. Successfully raising a seed round requires a compelling narrative, a thoughtful plan of action, and an understanding of the documents and requirements from potential investors during the process.
  • Case Study: Learn how an early stage GC founder built and presented a crisp narrative and secured top investors for her seed round.

Apply to ELEVATE today: https://offers.hubspot.com/startups/elevate  Applications close Sunday, May 26th!

Meet the Launch Team: Carlos Sotelo

In continuation of the spotlights we promised in our campaign launch post, there are several passionate people behind Impact Hub Houston we want you to meet. Carlos Sotelo (https://www.linkedin.com/in/carlosotelo/) shares how his experiences growing up and helping students as a college counselor led him to join the Impact Hub Houston launch team:

Growing up in working-class Pasadena, I learned some of my greatest values from family and friends who called this hard-working, aspirational community home. Resilience. Echale ganas. Determination.

Still, I longed to expand my horizons beyond the endless refineries located just blocks down from our family’s apartment. I wanted to honor my parents’ sacrifices by taking advantage of every opportunity I could find. As an undocumented student, sometimes that meant creating a few along the way too.

Here, I also learned about what occurs when access to opportunity is limited for those that need it the most. Immigrant day laborers robbed of promised wages. Uninsured individuals unable to afford preventive health care. Financially-stressed parents with more options for predatory payday lenders than asset-building opportunities. Residents putting up with broken infrastructure and regulation-breaking industry. Students falling through the cracks at under-resourced schools.

I took these experiences with me to college. There, I studied public policy to learn how to find solutions to social problems. Thanks to those who helped me overcome the barriers of my educational journey, I believed in the power of education as a driver for positive social change.

The ladder of social mobility needs to be widened for the future of our country. As the one making the generational leap in my own family, I wanted to address the inequities in access to opportunity for all as I began my career.

So when I began serving as a college counselor, I connected with so many of my students who aspired to be the first in their families to go to and graduate from college.

Still, advising them on how to navigate the process of obtaining a postsecondary degree/certification of any kind was not enough. Too many of our students were failing to show up to their first day of college classes. Further, data shows that far too many students of a low-income or underrepresented minority background were not graduating.

With these problems in mind, I went to my first Impact Hub event last year: Open Project Night. I had hoped to just listen to what other people’s challenges or ventures were. Yet, something else happened. I got pushed to present about the problems I faced.

After jotting notes down on paper, I nervously spoke to the crowd about the experiences of my work and students. Soon, my two minutes were up and I started talking with people who came up to me. Just as quickly, my nerves went away. The free beer probably helped too, I may add.

The collaborative energy was infectious. Everyone was friendly and encouraging. People offered helpful advice and their contacts. Feeling uplifted, I returned the favor and visited the other presenters to offer my own support.

I joined Impact Hub Houston because I got pushed. I’m glad I got pushed.

Because that’s what Impact Hub Houston intends to do for the community of problem solvers. Push them forward towards enacting solutions. Push them to connect with one another to work smarter together than harder alone. Push resources and opportunities in our paths. Push the envelope for what sustainable impact looks like. Push social entrepreneurship as a viable option for addressing our most critical issues.

Being part of the Impact Hub Houston community is an opportunity to ensure a better future for a more equitable and prosperous Houston for future generations. Now, as we get ready to launch, expand our programming, and build our community, I push anyone who cares about making a difference to support and donate to Impact Hub Houston. You’ll be glad you did.

Meet the Launch Team: Jaison Oliver

As promised in our campaign launch post, we want you to meet all the passionate people behind Impact Hub Houston. Jaison Oliver (https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaisonoliver) shares how he first engaged with Impact Hub Houston and how YOU can help drive impact in our community too:

Activists and organizers are mobilizing to end discriminatory bail practices, small businesses are providing vital space and sustenance for neighbors, and we’re all checking on one another amidst the smoke and pollen swirling around.

I’m excited about our future! I attend dozens of events weekly where I’m constantly energized by seeing people work through methods both old and new to make Houston better. Solving problems is what we do, and Impact Hub is the embodiment of that collaborative spirit.

I met Grace Rodriguez and Shiroy Aspandiar at an Open Project Night years ago. Open Project Night is a space where people collaborate to drive ideas and projects forward to make Houston a better place./em>

Shiroy and I had a shared interest in education technology since I had just left an ed tech startup. Shiroy was developing One Jump, a platform that connects under-served students to enrichment opportunities to the shorten the opportunity gap.

Seeing Shiroy tackle a major problem for schools helped me realize just how little our education system has changed despite all the new innovations we have at our disposal. It also reminded me how much power we have to change it ourselves. I’m basically One Jump’s biggest fan and I tell every student I encounter about how invaluable it is for summer opportunities.

Meanwhile, Grace was supporting Writers in the Schools as a board member. Watching Grace wield her unique amalgam of experiences for good constantly pushes me to be more creative in my own work. I’ve been hacking for Houston alongside them ever since.

I love this city and I want to see us all thrive. In my experience, thriving begins with creating robust ways to invite people into our work. Here are a few ways I want to build community and solve problems with you:

I shared those examples because it’s important to consider the many ways that change making is already happening in our neighborhoods, especially in communities of color. I want to connect that innovative spirit to institutional resources and knowledge that can help advance Houston.

To that end, one major project I’ll be working on through Impact Hub is to map out support pathways for social entrepreneurs. How can we better define pathways to success for problem-solvers? If you want to share the story of how you navigated this process, please reach out to me!

Also, we’ve built up quite the community of change makers over the years but we can’t do this work without partners. If your organization is solving problems in Houston, I want to know about it. We want to amplify your voice, expand your impact, and look for ways to partner with you.

Houston feels different. America feels different. Everything is changing. Can you feel it? We invite you to subscribe, volunteer, mentor, and — if you’re feeling our mission — slide us some coins for our crowdfunding campaign to help us increase our capacity for programming! Let’s shape and embrace change together. I can’t wait!

Meet the Team: Michelle Avalos, Launch Team Member

As we shared in our campaign launch post, there are several passionate people behind Impact Hub Houston we want you to meet. Michelle Avalos (https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-%C3%A1valos-32300439/) shares how her journey of elevating the value of her community work as she advanced her college and professional career led her to join the Impact Hub Houston launch team:

When I was finishing my second year of college, I remember getting asked how much money I wanted to make after graduation. Easy question for a business student to answer, right?

The expectation was to respond with a dollar figure. Instead, I responded, “I want to work for a company who values me and my work.”

There is so much context packed into this one statement. One, I attended college because I knew education was the only way for me to help my family move forward. Yet, I did not want to be driven strictly by money. Two, I always wanted to work for a great company, but never imagined entrepreneurship would be in my future. Three, I wanted to be valued as a person and I wanted my work to be recognized.

In 2010, I transferred to the University of Houston and started volunteering with the Hispanic Business Student Association (HBSA). The notion of giving back began growing its roots in my heart. For the first time, I had the opportunity to connect with other Latinos of a similar background as me who were driven to accomplish something bigger for themselves, their families and their communities.

Through HBSA, I helped organize career development opportunities for nearly 2,000 middle- and high-school students from low-income communities in Houston and Pasadena. The more I stood in front of other youth to share my story, the more driven I was to give back.

Shortly after my college graduation, I started my career as a natural gas and LNG analyst. Continuing my community work from college, I served as a volunteer board member for the Bauer College Alumni Association (BCAA) and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). My role on these boards focused on student outreach, professional development, career advancement, and community engagement. As I advanced in my career, I spent countless hours mentoring students with efforts to close the gap between where they were and where they wanted to be.

In 2014, my husband and I decided to find a solution ourselves to barriers preventing students from accessing professional programming to advance their college careers. We pulled our resources together, formed a team, and developed a two-day professional boot camp and suit scholarship. In two years, the program impacted the lives of 50 deserving college students who did not own a suit. In 2017, building on the pillars of creativity, youth and education, we turned the suit scholarship into a non-profit organization called Creative Vida. Our mission is to educate and empower youth through creative experiences.

Over the last couple of years, I began thinking more critically about time and how little time we have on this Earth. I contemplated how I was going to write the next chapter of my life and career. On paper, I was in a prime position for my career. I worked for the first LNG exporter in the US. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was allocating my time to fully living out my values. Through prayer and mentorship, I realized the time I was putting into my volunteer efforts was insufficient to make the impactful change needed in our city. Thus, I made the decision to transition out of the LNG industry to focus full time on community work.

Now, I work to create a world where individuals who want to make an impactful change in their communities have access to the education and resources needed to best accomplish their efforts. This is why I joined the Impact Hub Houston launch team last year. I believe my unique combination of corporate and non-profit experience is a great asset to our city’s current and future social entrepreneurs. Before last year, I had never heard of the term social entrepreneur . Others words I had never heard of were social impact, social venture, impact investing, innovation ecosystem, b-corps. The lists go on and on.

How is it that someone like me, a business person who has been extremely involved in our community, did not get exposed to the “impact space” prior to 2018? When my husband and I registered Creative Vida as a 501(c)3, we did so because it was the only relevant business model we knew at the time. Participating in Impact Hub’s programming over the last few months is allowing the Creative Vida team to think more creatively about our revenue model to scale our impact in the coming years. Exposure and education definitely make a difference!

Houston needs Impact Hub Houston because we need a better support system for problem solvers trying to make a change.

In the short term, my goal through Impact Hub is to connect with individuals who have an idea to solve a local or global problem but are not connected to the community of people ready to help bring those ideas to life. I want to allow everyone an opportunity to find their place within this community of change makers, social entrepreneurs, and supporters. Will you join me? #CambiaElMundo

Meet the Team: Shiroy Aspandiar, Co-Founder & Board Chair

As we shared in our campaign launch post, we are excited to introduce you to the people behind Impact Hub Houston. First, meet Shiroy Aspandiar (https://www.linkedin.com/in/shiroy-aspandiar-b6a38443/), Co-Founder and Chair of our Board of Directors, as he shares how his entrepreneurial journey led him to play a key role in launching Impact Hub Houston:

I was one of the many people who bought into the myth of the unconquerable entrepreneur. The pioneer who was prolifically confident, obsessive, charismatic, and unyieldingly optimistic. For a time, I, too, felt unconquerable and rode a wave of euphoria for months as I plunged full-time into co-founding One Jump, an online platform that connects underserved students to enrichment opportunities with the goal of combatting the opportunity gap.

And then something changed. My savings were gone. Debt began to pile up. Traction slowed. Technical challenges increased in frequency. The rejections and defeats along the startup journey began to feel less like rain and more like hail. Seeking advice about what I was experiencing, I called a mentor and after a long pause he shared: “I think I know what you’re feeling. You’re in the pit.”

Almost all entrepreneurs tumble into the pit at some point. What can often make or break their venture is their ability to pull themselves out of it. But how do you do that? I wasn’t sure, so I looked for help. I sought out other founders and mentors. I looked for a community, but struggled to find one … especially as a social entrepreneur.

We’re different. While we’re mission-oriented, we are quickly labeled as “charities,” and that label is either limiting or incorrect. Traditional business models can also be at odds with our theory of impact. I found this to be true with One Jump as I communicated with our mentors, advisors, and prospective investors. Our team was often pushed to work with affluent schools more directly, but we believed this would only further extend the achievement gap. During launch, our team struggled to find examples of successful hybrids and benefit corporations and how to structure them. Structuring as a non-profit, for-profit, hybrid or a benefit corporation matters significantly, but there’s a lack of quality coaching on choosing which structure would work best for your startup. And lastly, there’s a growing need to educate up the ladder – to reach potential funders, investors, foundations, and family offices about the rise of for-profit social enterprises, their expected returns, company performance, unique tax code implications, and so much more.

Frustrated and seeking community support, I presented my startup at a Sketch City Hackathon. Through that experience, I met Natasha Azizi, who had worked for Unreasonable Institute, an organization that supported social entrepreneurs internationally. She shared that she was planning to bring an organization called Impact Hub to Houston. I learned that Impact Hub was a collection of locally rooted, globally connected “hubs” dedicated to supporting social impact and social entrepreneurship in cities around the world. Think the United Nations if it were made up of hubs that support changemakers and problem solvers. Hubs were the places you’d go to connect with movers and shakers working individually and collaboratively to make the city and the world a better place. I immediately wanted to be a part of that community. That’s what I was looking for.

Over time, my engagement with Impact Hub Houston increased and I became a co-founder. I found it empowering to be able to shape an organization that I and many of my peers urgently needed. With programs that included coffee colliders, community townhalls, founders workshops, meetups, Open Project Nights, Fuck Up Nights (Yes, it’s a thing! Look it up!), and so much more, we are working to build an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem.

We help make Houston more equitable by supporting changemakers and social entrepreneurs so that they feel less isolated and can focus on delivering greater impact through their work. We’ll help problem solvers stop falling into pits…but if they do fall, they’ll find a vibrant community of individuals, mentors, and other stakeholders helping them get back on their feet.

Guided by our refined vision and mission, and our amazing leader in Grace Rodriguez, we are excited to write the next chapter of Impact Hub Houston! Join us in building a movement, and engage in the rewarding-yet-challenging work of achieving our vision: To make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues.

3…2…1…IMPACT!

Houston: The day is here. We are officially launching Impact Hub Houston as a nonprofit organization to inspire, connect and empower the Greater Houston area’s changemakers, social entrepreneurs and impact supporters; and make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues!

We have a few exciting announcements to share, but first, we want to let you know…over the past few months, our Launch Team has dived deep into discussion around who we are, who we aim to serve, how we want to create and amplify impact, and what we want to implement and offer to do so. Those conversations led us to be more intentional about the language we use, because language shapes how we think — and how we think shapes what we do.

Acknowledging that, we refined our Vision and Mission to more accurately represent the change we wish to be in the world:

  • Our Vision: To make Houston a role model for how the world solves its most pressing issues.
    We have heard time and again how other cities are building strong innovation ecosystems, from Chicago to Cincinnati to Detroit. Guess what: Houston is, too! We will shine a spotlight on our own city and elevate the people, businesses, and organizations who have been pioneering progress under the radar. While we champion an inclusive impact-driven innovation ecosystem, we will partner with more organizations across the region to collaboratively transform Greater Houston into a model that the rest of the world aspires to learn from and become.
  • Our Mission: To inspire, connect, and empower changemakers, social entrepreneurs, and impact supporters with mentorship, sponsorship, meaningful content, thought-provoking talks, hands-on learning opportunities, and vibrant community conversations. To create inclusive and equitable environments where people plug in and actively advocate for each other. To deepen and strengthen relationships among stakeholders to build an innovation ecosystem where people collaborate across organizations, cultures, identities, geography, and generations.
    As a member of the Impact Hub global network, we support people who are developing solutions aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through our collective experience, we’ve found that the kind of support that changemakers and entrepreneurs need most take the forms of guidance, connections, funding, and advocacy. We’ve shaped our mission to directly address those needs while making sure that we hold ourselves accountable to meet people where they are and foster stronger understanding, engagement, and support across the diverse communities of Houston.

Through that lens, we are pleased to announce the following programs and collaborations we’re working on to deliver on our Vision and Mission:

#321IMPACT: We are launching our crowdfunding campaign March 21 to help us secure a long-term home to grow the Impact Hub Houston community, increase our capacity for entrepreneur-centered events and services, and hire full-time staff to effectively implement impactful membership and mentorship programs.

We have launched the Impact Hub Houston Community Calendar — a one-stop place to find events relevant to the Houston startup community.

We will soon announce our first pop-up location, which will allow us to incubate Impact Hub Houston while maintaining flexibility to test programming in other locations and neighborhoods.

We are bringing an established accelerator program to Houston to help early-stage entrepreneurs who represent Houston’s diversity to access startup education and statewide mentors.

We are creating a curated, personalized, and *tracked* mentorship program to ensure we are helping entrepreneurs effectively learn and grow, while holding ourselves accountable for results.

We are developing an Impact Academy program to help social enterprises effectively engage with corporate social innovation groups.

We are working with The Cannon leadership to deliver impact-focused programming at their locations across Houston!

We are coordinating The Houston Innovation Summit 2019!

We are organizing TEDxHouston 2019, and preparing for TEDxHouston’s Tenth Anniversary in 2020!

… In the days and weeks ahead, we will introduce you to the Impact Hub Houston Launch Team, share more details on these programs and events, and unveil so much more that we have in store.

Want to be a part of it? We invite you to subscribe, volunteer, mentor, and — most important of all — DONATE! With your help, we can achieve even greater impact for Houston!

Many thanks to Goodspero for generously recording and editing the video (https://goodspero.com); and to Andrew Karnavas of YAWP Records for generously editing the audio (https://yawprecords.com)!

Adidas And Impact Hub To Boost Ventures Inspiring Girls In Sport

  • “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.

About adidas:

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.

Coalition of Partners Announces the Titan Generator: a Dynamic Startup Micro-Accelerator Powered by National Social Movements to Support Entrepreneurs of Color

 Social impact firm Generation Titans collaborates with Google, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Envolve Entrepreneurship, Common Impact, and the Soze Agency to generate resources for enterprise solutions

– Event on March 9, 2019 coinciding with the SXSW Interactive Festival  

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Generation Titans, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Google, Envolve Entrepreneurship, and the Soze Agency are proud to launch the inaugural Titan Generator at Google Austin on March 9, 2019. This day-long event will serve as a collaborative immersive program for start-up businesses led by entrepreneurs of color. Social movement organizations—March for Our Lives, Color Of Change, United We Dream, and the International Indigenous Youth Council—will participate as advisers. The initiative seeks to align support for 50+ new businesses to generate business solutions.

Currently, high-potential entrepreneurs, particularly those from under-represented communities, must navigate a maze of obstacles in search of resources. In response, the Titan Generator is convening business and social movement leaders to facilitate pledges of support – from start-up finance and pro bono benefits to hands-on mentorship and story amplification.

“We want to work together within the social impact ecosystem to provide pro-bono assistance and deal flow for entrepreneurs of color. We’re working to pull together a diverse mix of investors and service providers who are seeking to scale social impact at pace. We see the Titan Generator event as a dynamic business accelerator,” stated Jessica Lynch, one of the three founding partners of Generation Titans.

 

Against the backdrop of the SXSW Interactive Festival, the Titan Generator will take place just a few blocks away from the Austin Convention Center at Google’s downtown office. “Google is excited to welcome the Titan Generator to our Austin office. The work they do to support local entrepreneurs across industries and backgrounds is phenomenal and speaks to our goal of creating access and opportunities for everyone,” said Lauren Lambert, Head of External Affairs – Google Austin.

 

Robert Kennedy called young people ‘the world’s hope’, and we are thrilled to bring together leading young activists, entrepreneurs, and students who embody that message. These young leaders inspire us all to carry on my father’s legacy of advocating for a more just and peaceful world,” said Kerry Kennedy, President – Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

 

Nestor Ruiz, Digital Organizer at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the country added: “Immigrants, including those who are undocumented, are resilient and resourceful entrepreneurs. We’ve built lives here, started businesses and we continue to find the means to thrive despite the political environment. We are pumped to be part of Titan Generator, working with organizations that share our vision for all immigrant people.”

 

David Hogg of March for Our Lives stated: “We strongly believe that multiple resources and partners need to be involved in stopping gun violence in America. We can’t wait to brainstorm solutions and work on real plans of action.”

 

Envolve Entrepreneurship, which provides multiple resources and facilitates an award program for start-up businesses, has pledged dedicated mentors post-event for up to four new ventures led by entrepreneurs of color.

 

Christopher R. Upperman, CEO of Envolve, mentioned: “Our culture promotes a spirit of collaboration, and we are enthusiastic to join efforts in tackling gaps in the entrepreneurship ecosystem. The Titan Generator experience is exactly the type of innovative approach our diverse communities and founders of color need. Together, we aim to agitate the status quo in the hope that it will accelerate opportunities, and as a result of this partnership, Envolve pledges mentorship and more to come!”

 

Common Impact, a national nonprofit that connects corporate volunteers to impactful nonprofits through skills-based volunteerism, will support the Titan Generator by providing social entrepreneurs with tools and resources to engage pro bono support for their efforts. Danielle Holly, CEO of Common Impact, explained: “We are thrilled to apply our nearly 20 years of experience building capacity for the social sector to support these social entrepreneurs as they tackle some of the most pressing issues our society faces. Our work has long supported nonprofits in making progress on important social and equity issues for our communities and we are excited to apply our expertise in leading skilled volunteer programs to amplify the diverse perspectives and scale the impact that these social entrepreneurs are poised to make.”

The Titan Generator curated experience will include:

  • A creative art / tech activation designed by the Soze Agency that explores the rich history of social movements and entrepreneurship in communities of color
  • A Dream Studio, or facilitated, hackathon-style session, with activists, entrepreneurs, funders, and influencers breaking down challenges and forging new pathways for collaboration
  • Fist Bump Moments” of real-time pledges that connect resources and build relationships post-event

“The Titan Generator is pairing activists and entrepreneurs to build a better future,” said Joshua DuBois, CEO – Gauge, a partner of the event. “We created Gauge to ensure that the voices of diverse communities are heard when decisions are being made that impact them. We look forward to participating and providing next-gen market research services for the event.”

Generation Titans worked with several key partners nationally, such as DivInc, to source nearly 200 entrepreneurs of color as potential participants. “DivInc is proud and excited to be partners with Generation Titans in Austin. We share the same mission of creating meaningful access to essential resources and opportunities for underrepresented entrepreneurs. We are all hands-on-deck to achieve the mission and the Titan Generator is a key effort toward that mission!” said Preston L. James II, Co-Founder & CEO – DivInc.

The Titan Generator aims to be a catalyst for a broader coalition of support and action. Generation Titans is still seeking additional funding, amplification, and pro bono support from partners who are working to deliver resources more equitably to diverse entrepreneurs.

Want to help? You can:
  1. Amplify: If you’d like to use your platform to signal boost underrepresented voices, engage influencers, and amplify stories of founders of color with great solutions, then sign up to provide amplification.
  2. Support Pro-Bono: If you’d like to roll up your sleeves and provide strategic and skills-based supports (e.g., planning, HR, IT, marketing, financial approaches, etc.) to founders of color, then sign up to provide pro bono support.
  3. Fund: If you’d like to provide direct funding support (any level) for individual and / or collaborative solutions, then sign up to provide funding support.
We just ask that you fulfill your pledge within two months of the Titan Generator.
To participate, go to http://j.mp/2EipHHy.

For more information about the Titan Generator and how to get involved as a resource provider during the event, please email info@generationtitans.com.

The event will benefit from the support of numerous partners, including Impact Hub Austin, Impact Hub Houston, the Austin Justice Coalition, Gauge, In My Shoes, DivInc, Blnded Media, Roanhorse Consulting, Camelback Ventures, Valor Up, and University of Texas at Austin – Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Titan Generator SponsorsTitan Generator SponsorsTitan Generator Partners

About Generation Titans

Generation Titans is a social impact firm with a race and equity lens. Its mission and client work focuses on developing authentic community engagement strategies, boosting inclusive investments in support of social entrepreneurship, and mobilizing human capital as a force for change. For more information on Generation Titans and the Titan Generator, please visit www.generationtitans.com

About Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights:

Led by human rights activist and lawyer Kerry Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights has advocated for a more just and peaceful world since 1968. We work alongside local activists to ensure lasting positive change in governments and corporations. Whether in the United States or abroad, our programs have pursued justice through strategic litigation on key human rights issues, educated millions of children in human rights advocacy and fostered a social good approach to business and investment. For more information on Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, please visit www.rfkhumanrights.org.

About Envolve Entrepreneurship:

Envolve Entrepreneurship (Envolve) is a 501(c)(3) organization that strives for a global society where all business owners can prosper and grow. Envolve focuses on helping diverse individuals and underserved communities access funding and support services to pursue their business dreams. With offices in the USA and Greece, Envolve is committed to cultivating the global entrepreneurial ecosystem through education, resources and awards. Envolve was founded by the Libra Group, and for more on its efforts to spur entrepreneurship, please visit www.envolveglobal.org

About the Soze Agency

The Soze Agency is a worker-owned cooperative, made up of entrepreneurs, activists, storytellers, artists and strategists. Guided by three core values: compassion, authenticity and equity, they create immersive pop-up experiences, expansive social movements, strategies for the future and high-profile, large-scale public events. For more information on the Soze Agency, please visit www.wearesoze.com.

About Common Impact

Common Impact is a national nonprofit that works to build a society in which individuals and businesses invest their unique talents towards a shared purpose: strengthening the local communities in which we live and work. Founded in 2000, Common Impact has partnered with Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of the country’s leading nonprofit organizations to create this transformational change through skills-based volunteering. Learn more about Common Impact’s servicesimpact, and clients at www.commonimpact.org.

The Titan Generator event will take place on Saturday March 9 at Google Austin (PRNewsfoto/Generation Titans)