Dallas nonprofit incubator and accelerator Impact House has moved to a new home where it hopes to continue developing its programs and serve as “a catalyst for change in underserved communities,” according to founder and CEO Benjamin Vann.
After about six months in a historic space at Exposition Park, Vann decided to move his operation to GoodWork, a newly opened coworking space just minutes away from the nonprofit’s initial location.
Vann said he and GoodWork co-founder Amy King united over a similar focus on social impact during an Innovation Task Force meeting at the Dallas Regional Chamber.
“Our big shared goal [with Impact House] is to cultivate more profitable, socially, and environmentally responsible businesses in Dallas.”
“I mentioned triple bottom line and how we focus on people, profit, planet and it was one of those moments where Amy and I were like, ‘did we just become best friends?’” Vann said.
Going forward, the two entities will partner on programming in the space at 1808 S. Good Latimer Expressway, especially those events geared toward social enterprise and leadership development.
“GoodWork’s location positions us as a gateway to South Dallas, and we can co-develop programming that helps minorities and women grow their leadership and business skills,” King wrote in an email to Dallas Innovates. “Our big shared goal [with Impact House] is to cultivate more profitable, socially, and environmentally responsible businesses in Dallas.”
IMPACT HOUSE OPERATES WHERE ‘PROFIT MEETS PURPOSE’
Vann started Impact House last summer as a hub for social innovation and coworking community where “profit meets purpose.”
He wanted to empower not only entrepreneurs, but existing small business owners with resources and connections.
The nonprofit had signed on about 13 members including EnrichedED Schools, Ash Studios, and Accion Texas.
Now at GoodWork, Vann will continue that mission minus some of the overhead costs that come from renting out an entire building. Plus, there’s more flexibility in the space for Impact House’s various programming.
NONPROFIT HAS THREE SECTORS OF PROGRAMMING
The nonprofit has three different parts — incubator, accelerator, and learning labs.
The incubator is for individuals and organizations still in the concept phase or wanting to get plugged into the social good community. They may choose to office at GoodWork and/or attend a series of programs dedicated toward empowering the growth of their budding solutions and the community as a whole.
The 12-week accelerator will be for social impact and tech startups that have proven their business model and are looking to scale or need resources for growth. Vann is connecting with venture capitalists, private investors, and progressive tech foundations now to secure partners willing to give seed money to accelerator participants.
He said the program will have a particular focus on ventures who have women and people of color at the helm.
“We want to build a community of doers.”
“We really want to create an inclusive community here that really champions people who have been marginalized,” Vann said.
Learning labs are workshops and training sessions that apply new types of frameworks to social challenges.
Last April, Impact House hosted a one-day pilot program for South Dallas high school students. The Hack4Impact event tasked its young participants to use technology to solve community issues using design thinking.
Toward the end of this month, Vann is working on a similar event for college students. HacktheCulture will be a racial equity app challenge finding ways to bridge cultural gaps in the community with technology.
“We want to build a community of doers,” he said. “People who are tired of talking and really are about creating collaborative solutions to the social challenges — not only here, but from a regional standpoint, from a national standpoint, and from a global standpoint.”
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