Benjamin Vann has been a key champion for inclusivity in the Dallas startup community for years, so when he launched Impact a few years ago, it was not a surprise. Late last year, we got lucky enough for him to land at GoodWork as one of our first coworking members and one of our key program partners. Benjamin knew the coworking industry firsthand through hosting their space on Exposition Avenue, but for 2018, Benjamin decided to go all-in with the focus on programming and leave the workspace hosting to us.
Starting from the ground-up, Benjamin has grown the Impact team from a solo effort to a well-knit community of ambassadors and leaders dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in under resourced communities in Dallas. The sweet spot in Impact’s efforts is launching and growing ideas and businesses that leverage technology and help solve a particular social challenge for underserved communities.
Impact House, is an early stage venture accelerator and support ecosystem with a mission to accelerate and invest in all shades of genius, focusing on scalable companies lead by underrepresented women, Black, and Latin X founders. Impact also takes an ecosystem approach to addressing the opportunity gap and removing barriers for Women and People of Color through inclusive entrepreneurship, STEM education and career pathways, research and advocacy, and impact investing in Dallas-Fort Worth and beyond. There are many socioeconomic factors to evaluate and consider when tackling such a vital challenge, and Vann has been relentless in terms of building relationships across the City that would open doors for his members and their ventures.
Over the past several months, Impact hosted monthly #HackTheCulture Networking Series events that convened conversations on the challenges of “being the only one” in homogenous business cultures, imposter syndrome, time management, and self-care. Each event has sold-out and created buzz that has galvanized their community members.
#HackTheCulture Networking Series programming was all a lead up to Hack DFW 2019 a partnership with local event planing company Hack DFW, known for hosting some of the largest hackathons and tech focused events in Texas. Hack DFW 2019 kicks off Friday February 15th with a VIP kickoff party hosted at the new Dallas Mavs Gaming Pavilion, featuring food, tech demos, virtual reality demos, open bar and keynote speaker to be announced. The two-day will kick off at the Dallas Women’s Museum at Fair Park Saturday February 16th. The event boasts an emphasis on design thinking and making innovation accessible for all. The free event will bring an estimated 500-800 students, professionals, corporations, and investors in the spirit of innovation and collaboration. Teams imagine the largest challenge facing our region and create prototypes for technology-based solutions.weekend event will focus on centering inclusion and diversity within the 21st Century innovation Economy. Students, professionals, and entrepreneurs collide in a series of programs & events focused on challenges faced by women and people of color in Technology, Entrepreneurship, & Social Innovation.
This is only the beginning of Impact’s momentum and as they gear up with the support of key corporate and NGO funders and partners, they will launch their 2019 Accelerator in the latter half of the year. This accelerator will support first-time entrepreneurs and tech-focused small businesses from under resourced communities to learn from their community and peers as they define impact in their individual ideas.