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/
COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs
“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.
From providing access to food & water to developing mobile community tracing initiatives, the work of social entrepreneurs is even more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they reach those who the market and governments are unable to account for. Social entrepreneurs need our support to continue making the world a better place for us all.
“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.
We hope you have been taking advantage of the resources we’ve shared on the http://HOUimpact.com app, on LinkedIn, and on Facebook. We’re doing our best to keep you updated and prepared for whatever comes next. As a global network, we are lucky to have the infrastructure in place to cooperate and act around the world. All Impact Hubs are implementing health and security protocols to support their local communities. We are also leveraging our virtual platform with a group dedicated to all things COVID-19, providing a safe space for open sharing of questions, assets, and best practices that we can then share with you.
To continue serving you locally through the coronavirus COVID-19 sequestering, we’re working to move our events, resources and support online, and are postponing any major celebrations. Our team will reassess policies on a weekly basis and share updates via newsletter, our Global and Local apps, and social media.
While we scale back on in-person meetings, we plan to scale UP on knowledge exchange and resource sharing online. Since Day 1, we’ve been dedicated to meeting people where they are, and practicing radical collaboration, inclusion, and equitable entrepreneurial support. Now, more than ever, we are committed to helping you access the resources and opportunities you need to survive this and thrive beyond it. If you’d like to be the first to know about new resources or updates as they evolve, please join us on http://HOUimpact.com — we are offering this app for FREE to the Greater Houston community to connect and collaborate! (* Impact Hub Members: You get a private group for special mentoring sessions, and still receive free access to any of our virtual workshops! *)
To stay safe, informed, and get help in the Greater Houston area:
- Houston Public Media has a dedicated coronavirus page for live updates, 24/7: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/coronavirus/. It includes a guide from PBS on ways to talk to children about the outbreak, and bilingual information from the CDC.
- The Houston Health Department has opened up a hotline for questions about COVID-19. Call 832-393-4220 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Staff can answer questions in English and Spanish; follow up in other languages; and will return voice messages left after hours.
- The SBA is working with states to provide targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and non-profits severely impacted by the coronavirus.
- Affected artists and performers may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assitance (DUA). Self-employed artists are also eligible. You just need a contract, 1099, or W-2: https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/disaster-unemployment-assistance
- Please continue to follow the protocols set by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. While no actions can completely eliminate the possibility of illness, please wash your hands frequently; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If you have to travel: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
- If you or your neighbors need help getting food, go to https://www.houstonfoodbank.org/covid19/for food-access information and a map of partners near you who can help.
- Finally, here’s a continuously updated list of conference cancellations or postponements: http://bit.ly/covidconfcancellations
We believe that this crisis offers our city and community the opportunity to focus resources towards solving not just for the pandemic, but also for some of Houston’s already-existing issues, from public health and wellness to learning and resource accessibility to mobility disparity to entrepreneurial funding and support. To that end, we’re adding special programs and making vital resources available online for you to continue connecting, ideating, and developing your solution and business through this time…and beyond:
For Our Members and Community:
For Our Members:
- We will continue to work with you to make sure that you are leveraging your benefits to address current challenges and minimize any disruption to your business. Please search your inbox for the invitation to the private Impact Hub Houston Members Group on http://houimpact.com, or contact us directly if you need specific help.
- Regarding work spaces: Please try to reschedule or move any non-essential office visits online; and avoid the spaces entirely if you feel ill. If you still need a space to meet IRL, please contact Michelle. Help keep our community safe and healthy so we can all keep doing the work we love!
If you know of any resources and opportunities that we can help share for entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits, creatives and freelancers to maintain their work, livelihood, and mission from the safety of home, please post it in http://HOUimpact.com or send it to us at [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
P.S. Make a little “me-time” to give your body and mind a break from the stress. Pick a moment to meditate. Stretch it out with some home-office yoga. Do a hair toss and dance it off. Or grab a good book to get your mind off of things — I recommend “Love in the Time of Cholera”: https://amzn.to/2WpZIaq (link benefits Impact Hub Houston!)
From Cathy Xiao Chen and our friends at Impact Hub Stockholm:
The World Health Organization (WHO) predicted the next epidemic. Not as a matter of if, but as a question of when. Globalization and our lifestyles in the 21st century exacerbate the risks and spread of infectious diseases. The good news is that it is manageable. The bad news is that with unequal access to quality healthcare services, the ability to travel around the world at a fast pace, forced migration due to conflict and natural disasters, global trade, homelessness, and growing global population; we can expect to continue experiencing epidemics for the foreseeable future.
What makes epidemics in the 21st century more dangerous than they were in the past, and the potential for them to become pandemics, is our ability to travel from one side of the world to the other and introduce a new disease to multiple populations before even showing symptoms. In 2015, it took just one traveler returning home to South Korea from spending time in the Middle East to bring MERS back with him. The consequences: a national outbreak, 186 cases, 36 deaths, and outbreak-related losses of approximately US$ 8 billion, all in the space of two months.
Given our history, WHO predicts, with a high degree of certainty, that when the next epidemic comes, there will be:
- an initial delay in recognizing it;
- a serious impact on travel and trade;
- a public reaction that includes anxiety, or even panic and confusion, and
- this will be aided and abetted by media coverage.
I think it’s safe to say that we have witnessed all four predictions during this current outbreak of coronavirus. Recent public reaction teetering on panic has led to a knife fight and physical assault over toilet paper in supermarkets in Australia, despite 60% of toilet paper manufacturing occurring locally, and leading manufacturers expecting no disruption to supply.
So what can you do to protect yourself at work and prevent the spread of infectious diseases?
Washing your hands thoroughly with soap is the most important preventative action you can take. Make sure you scrub the back of your hands, palms, fingertips and nails, in-between your fingers and your thumbs. Use hand sanitizer if you’re in a situation where hand washing is not an option. Try to wash your hands after touching any common items like door handles, shared desks and coffee pot. If you’re not sure whether you’re washing your hands correctly, watch this video.
Do not touch your face, nose, eyes and mouth as this provides a pathway for infection. This is easier said than done. The Director of the Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department in California recommended the same advice during a press conference on Feb 28 before subconsciously licking her finger to turn the page. The NY Times shared 4 tips to help you break the habit or you could try a different approach if you work on your laptop all day concocted by DoNotTouchYourFace.com.
Avoid touching or being in the close vicinity of anyone who shows symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. If you usually offer events for people who frequent high-risk areas or work in a high-risk area yourself, you might want to consider offering online webinars instead. This could actually help your business grow in the long run by making your sales pitch scaleable.
Use an alcohol-based cleaning spray to wipe down shared surfaces such as meeting room desks, chairs and door handles in-between use. People invariably tend to spray saliva when they talk and coronavirus is thought to be spread through moisture droplets, so make sure you wipe down surfaces in conversational areas before touching them. While this protects you from anything left behind from the previous meeting, you need to continue to protect yourself during your meeting as well. Remember to sit at least 1 meter away from other people. This is easiest done by choosing a conference room with a large table and facing away from the person sitting closest to you when you speak.
Avoid crowds to reduce your risk of infection from others. This could mean going to work earlier or later to avoid peak hour travel on public transportation. If you have flexible working hours and a busy workplace, you could try working earlier in the morning or later in the evening. International conferences around the world with over 1000 expected guests are being canceled. If you follow the recommended hygiene advice, events shouldn’t pose too much of a risk as long as you are not mingling with people who have recently traveled to high-risk areas and have not self-isolated.
Avoid traveling to high-risk areas. If you do have to travel, make sure you self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work to make sure you’re not infected. This period of self-quarantine is to make sure you don’t spread an infectious disease before any symptoms appear. Opt for virtual meetings with international colleagues or frequent travelers if you can to avoid putting yourself at risk.
If you are sick, work from home and avoid visiting public places and events to prevent spreading your infection to others. You could experience very mild symptoms but other people might not be so lucky. High-risk factors aside from age are not always obvious to the eye so the best way to protect others is to stay away from other people. Isolation alone is suggested by studies to have a greater impact than all other interventions.
Do not go to the hospital if you think you could be contagious. Always call ahead and follow the advice given to you by a medical practitioner. It’s important that you provide advanced notice so front line staff can prepare and protect themselves from being infected. It takes years to train new doctors and nurses and if they get sick, it puts a far greater burden on the remaining staff which can weaken the healthcare system.
You can find the latest updates from Folkhälsomyndigheten. Call 113 13 if you have any questions about the coronavirus.
Interested in learning more? The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has now made online micro learning activities on non-pharmaceutical countermeasures in relation to COVID-19 available online.
Go to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to read more about how the Swedish Government is taking action and find frequently asked questions about international travel. You’ll need to translate the Swedish website as the information is not currently available in English.
“Can we create a pandemic-free world? There is no such thing as a guarantee, but with meticulous preparation and rapid response, we can prevent most outbreaks from getting out of control, and limit the impact of those that spread internationally.” – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization
Managing epidemics: key facts about major deadly diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Cathy Xiao Chen is the Head of Operations at Impact Hub Stockholm. With a passion for supporting social impact, she advises and connects changemakers with collaborators to maximize impact.