Register for some of these informative online events happening throughout the month of December. Getty Images

It's the last monthly events roundup for 2020 — and this month, understandably, is a bit slow due to the holidays, but we have a roundup of the must-attend events for December.

From workshops and panels to summits and pitch parties, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Note: This post will be updated to add more events.

December 1 — National Resilience Town Hall: Year in Review, Year Ahead

The Insurance Information Institute and ResilientH2O Partners, in partnership with the Resilience Accelerator, will hold the final session for 2020 in an ongoing series of thought-leadership among insurance, non-insurance, public sector, and technology senior executives. December's National Townhall will bring five unique perspectives together to discuss lessons-learned from 2020 and predictions for 2021's resilience and risk mitigation "agenda" across residential, commercial, industrial, government operations, infrastructure, facilities, and communities.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, at 10 am. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — Angel Investing 101

Learn about how to make effective angel investment decisions and find out more about the newly launched Chicago Booth Angels Network of Texas. The event's keynote speaker is Ashok Rao, serial entrepreneur and board member of Houston-based GOOSE Capital.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 5 to 6 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 1 — The Ion's Industry Day

The goal of the inaugural Industry Day is to introduce and connect minority and women owned businesses (MWBE) with The Ion's Transwestern team. The hour long event is designed to facilitate networking and connect interested businesses with Transwestern, who will run operations for The Ion and catalyze local economic growth. Following the event, interested businesses can set up a walk through of The Ion in mid-December to finalize their bid.

The event is on Tuesday, December 1, from 6 to 7 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 2 — NASA and Your Small Business: Understanding the NASA Procurement Process

Join The Ion to learn about NASA's commitment to providing access for all categories of small businesses to participate in the procurement process.

The event is on Wednesday, December 2, at noon. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — Capital Factory's Venture Summit

Capital Factory is calling all investors, accelerator leaders, limited partners, and more to its annual venture summit, which is taking place virtually this year.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 9:45 to 2 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 3 — Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation

JLABS @ TMC and Southwest National Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium are teaming up for the sixth Annual Evening of Pediatric Device Innovation. The evening of innovation will host top experts from Houston and across the country will discuss their views on the latest in pediatric medical device innovation and updates on bringing a pediatric medical device to market.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 3:40 to 5 pm. It's free and can be accessed through Zoom. Click here to register.

December 3 — An Evening With Women in Corporate Innovation

Join General Assembly Houston to hear from inspiring female leaders in corporate innovation who have blazed the path to stand up and stand out. From learnings to failings and their secrets of success, this event is an opportunity to learn from the best — serious wisdom, from seriously cool women, all designed to supercharge you and your organization's success.

The event is on Thursday, December 3, from 5 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 7 — Pumps and Pipes 20/20 Vision

The annual Pumps & Pipes event is focused on convergence innovation in the fields of aerospace, energy and medicine: a truly uniquely Houston approach. The day-long summit features an expo and various panels and speakers.

The event is on Monday, December 7, from 8 am to 3 pm. It's free and can be accessed online. Click here to register.

December 8 — The Cannon Q4 Pitch Party: Presented by Dell Technologies

Join The Cannon and Dell Technologies in hearing from new companies working in Digital Transformation Tech.

The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

December 8 — How to Start a Startup with Heath Butler of Mercury Fund

The Ion is hosting a startup 101 workshop with Heath Butler from Mercury Fund. You have an idea...now what? Before you start looking for funding, it's important to make sure that your idea is both viable and valuable — if it doesn't have a sound model and a market willing to pay for it, investors won't be interested anyway.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 8, at 5:30 pm. It's free and can be accessed via Zoom. Click here to register.

    December 10 — Greentown Lab's Energy Bar: Wrapping Up an Unprecedented Year

    Join Greentown Labs virtually for the final edition of the EnergyBar networking event for 2020. Greentown Labs is ready to put a wrap on 2020, an unprecedent year for us all. Between the opening of the new community in Houston and a renewed national policy focus on climate action, the organization is looking ahead to 2021. Entrepreneurs, investors, students, and friends of climatetech are invited to attend, meet colleagues, and engage in a community that is focused on climate action at work.

    The event is on Thursday, December 10, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. It's free and can be access through Remo. Click here to register.

    December 15 — The State of Space

    The Greater Houston Partnership is hosting its first State of Space event featuring NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine as the keynote speaker. Since his appointment as Administrator in April of 2018, Bridenstine has led NASA in advancing American aeronautic, science, and space exploration objectives.

    The event is on Tuesday, December 15, at noon. It's $35 for GHP members and $60 for nonmembers. Click here to register.

    Log on to one of these informative online events happening throughout the rest of the month. Getty Images

    10+ can't-miss virtual business and innovation events in Houston for November​

    Where to be online

    November is usually the last busy month for business events before the end of the year and ahead of the holidays, and this year — even though events have pivoted to virtual gatherings — is no different.

    From panels and ask-me-anything meetings to summits and startup competitions, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. This month in particular there's the return of The Houston Innovation Summit and the brand new awards program called, The Listies (nominate now for those). Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

    November 5 — Dell Technologies Ask Me Anything

    Dell Technologies is hosting an "Ask Me Anything" session for the Ion community. During this time, attendees can ask experts anything in regards to IT pain points during these times. Entrepreneurs may also use this time to brainstorm the back end IT Infrastructure of their business.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, November 5, at 10 am. Register here.

    November 5-6 — Greentown Labs Climatetech Summit

    Join Greentown Labs for its first Climatetech Summit for a deep dive into scaling climate action. Across the two days, attendees will engage with Greentown's pillars of climate action — technology, finance, policy, and justice — discover groundbreaking startups and their climatetech solutions, learn from industry experts, and forge meaningful connections with entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, policymakers, startup support organizations, and other climate champions.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, November 5, and Friday, November 6. Register here.

    November 10 — Igniting Leadership: The State of COVID Vaccines

    Join Ignite Healthcare Network for a special night of discussion hosted by IGNITE Steering Committee member Susan Feigin Harris about the status of COVID19 vaccine development with Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, Co-director of Texas Children's Center for Vaccine Development.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, November 10, at 6 pm. Register here.

    November 10-12 — Texas Life Sciences Forum

    The Texas Life Science Forum is the premier life science event in Texas that brings together members from industry, emerging life science companies, academic, and investors. The 2020 event will be virtual and will still be the "must attend" event for anyone in the life science industry in Texas or affiliated with innovation at the life science academic institutions. This event represents an opportunity to meet investors, learn about promising life science companies, to learn about opportunities for entrepreneurs, investment professionals, big pharma, academics and business executives serving the life science industry.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, November 10, to Thursday, November 12. Register here.

    November 12 — Plaza Tec: Funding Fundamentals

    Though Latinx-owned businesses and startups make up at least 38 percent of businesses in the Houston area, there is still a lack of access to capital blocking growth and progress for Latinx founders.

    In this discussion presented by The Ion, representatives from baMa and NextSeed will join together to discuss angel investing and crowdfunding options for Latinx founders and what challenges one might face when seeking capital.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, November 12, at 5:30 pm. Register here.

    November 12 — Women in Tech and Biz

    If you're interested in hearing from some badass women in tech and business, come to the virtual Women in Tech + Biz event created by the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The event will be split into two sections — one focused on entrepreneurship and the other focusing more on software and engineering — followed by networking.

    The event will take place online on Thursday, November 12, at 6 pm. Register here.

    November 13 — Climathon 2020: Hacking Solutions to Houston’s Climate Challenges

    On Earth Day this year, the City of Houston published its first Climate Action Plan. The plan is the culmination of thousands of volunteer time from industry professionals, policy stakeholders, and community advocates. Together the working groups have laid out a concise plan to address the climate challenges that Houston faces along with maintaining a leadership role in the energy transition. This year's Climathon will look to realize some of the goals of the plan through design sprints led by local subject matter experts in the areas of transportation, energy innovation, building optimization, and materials management.

    The event will take place online on Friday, November 13, at 1 pm. Register here.

    November 16-20 — The Houston Innovation Summit

    The Houston Innovation Summit — THIS — celebrates Houston's innovation ecosystem during Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). THIS responds to 2020 with a special focus on the intersection of Impact and Innovation, spotlighting Houstonians at the forefront of education, ecosystems, inclusion, and policy. Join Impact Hub Houston and Houston's startup and small business community for a week of exciting programs and connect with the thinkers, doers, makers and innovators driving Houston forward.

    The event will take place online on Monday, November 16, to Friday, November 20. Register here.

    November 17 — Struggles and Bubbles: Pivoting during a Pandemic

    Join General Assembly Houston to listen to a panel of startup founders who will share their journey and entrepreneurial struggles, and what it really takes to launch a startup during global pandemic, and scale a startup.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, November 17 at 5 pm. Register here.

    November 17-19 — Capital Factory's Texas Startup Roadshow

    For the first time, Capital Factory is taking its roadshow online. For three days, the organization will be introducing investors to the various innovative cities across the Lone Star State.

    Houston will be the city of focus on Wednesday, November 18.

    The event will take place online on Tuesday, November 17, to Thursday, November 19. Register here.

    November 20 — The Listies

    Let's toast to the entrepreneurial spirit of Houston in a time when celebrating victories is more important than ever. Introducing the Listies, brought to you Houston Exponential and InnovationMap, commemorating the launch of HTX TechList, Houston's innovation discovery platform.

    The event will take place online on Friday, November 20, at 3 pm. Register here.

    SpaceCom is taking place online this year for free. Here's what you need to sign up for. Photo courtesy of SpaceCom

    10 can't-miss events from Houston-based SpaceCom's virtual conference

    where to be online

    Today marks the first day in SpaceCom's two-week online conference featuring space entrepreneurs, NASA executives, government experts, and more.

    Usually a must-attend event hosted at George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston, SpaceCom is free and virtual this year. Register to attend and check out this curated list of 10 can't-miss discussions.

    Click here for the full schedule. (All times have been updated to reflect CDT times)

    Tuesday, October 20 — General Session: Whole of Government

    Greg Autry, director at SoCal Commercial Spaceflight Initiative, will moderate a discussion with Kevin O'Connell, director at the Office of Space Commerce Department of Commerce, and Scott Pace, executive secretary at the National Space Council. The panel will discuss how they will work together on policies and actions they need to take to enable the trillion-dollar space economy.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Tuesday, October 20, from 10 to 10:45 am. Learn more.

    Tuesday, October 20 — Carbon Footprint and Emissions Monitoring

    Satellite data can give governments and industry the ability to monitor and reduce the carbon footprint. In this panel, experts will discuss the companies that operate and use satellite data to monitor, manage and profit from satellites that monitor the planet's carbon footprint.

    • Lou Zacharilla, director of Innovation Space & Satellite Professionals International (moderator)
    • Sebastien Biraud, staff scientist and Climate Sciences Department Head at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
    • Steve Hamburg, chief scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund
    • Yotam Ariel, CEO of Bluefield Technologies
    This virtual panel takes place online on Tuesday, October 20, from 12 to 12:45 pm. Learn more.

    Thursday, October 22 — Keynote: Industry Applications

    This general session features how Amazon Web Services helps terrestrial industries take advantage of space enabled services already in place at competitive pricing. Speaker Clint Crosier from Amazon Web Services and moderator Douglas Terrier, chief technology officer at NASA.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Thursday, October 22, from 10 to 10:45 am. Learn more.

    Monday, October 26 — Keynote: International Space Station

    The new head of NASA's International Space Station program, Joel Montalbano, who is based in Houston's Johnson Space Center, provides a status of and exciting new industry applications for the ISS as well as insight into the future of ISS.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Monday, October 26, from 10 to 10:45 am. Learn more.

    Monday, October 26 — NASA Session: Transferring NASA Technology

    NASA's treasure trove of technology is available to American industry and entrepreneurs to apply in profitable ways. In this session, NASA technology transfer leaders — Daniel Lockney, Kimberly Minafra, and Krista Jensen — will discuss the many ways the private sector can tap into the accumulated knowledge NASA has to share.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Monday, October 26, from 11 to 11:45 am. Learn more.

    Tuesday, October 27 — Space Tourism: The Excitement and Expectations

    A panel of industry experts will discuss the space tourism industry, taking a deep dive into what the future holds, constraints for the industry's ability to address the market for many years to come and how some of these projects will be executed from a business, technology and execution perspective.

    • Amir Blachman, chief business officer of Houston-based Axiom Space
    • Jane Poynter, founder and co-CEO of Space Perspective
    • Sudhir Pai, CEO of Autonomous Energy Ventures
    • Richard Garriott, private astronaut (moderator)

    This virtual panel takes place online on Tuesday, October 27, from 11 to 11:45 am. Learn more.

    Tuesday, October 27 — Spaceports as the Innovation Hub for Regions

    Spaceports around the world can, and in many cases are, serving as regional innovation centers for high tech activities and creating positive economic development opportunities. Speakers Cherie Matthew, project manager at Corgan, and Pam Underwood, director at the FAA Office of Spaceports, review what the future looks like for spaceports and what funding will be necessary with moderator George Nield, president of Commercial Space Technologies LLC.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Tuesday, October 27, from 12 to 12:45 pm. Learn more.

    Wednesday, October 28 — NASA Session: Industries of the Future

    NASA technology is creating the underpinning for new industries of the future. NASA's work has already changed the world with advances in telecom and microprocessors. More is yet to come. This panel led by Douglas Terrier, NASA chief technologist will explore the industries on the horizon that will stem from NASA innovation.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Wednesday, October 28, from 11 to 11:45 am. Learn more.

    Thursday, October 29 — Keynote: Women of Space

    NASA's head of human exploration, Kathy Lueders, based in Houston's Johnson Space Center, discusses the crucial role that women have, are, and will continue to provide in getting America back to the Moon, as well as in creating the trillion-dollar commercial space economy with moderator Vanessa Wyche, deputy director at JSC.

    This virtual panel takes place online on Thursday, October 29, from 10 to 10:45 am. Learn more.

    Thursday, October 29 — Zoom to the Moon

    An international panel discussion with Orion Program Managers about progress toward launching NASA's first human-rated spacecraft to travel around the Moon since 1972.

    • Catherine Koerner, NASA Orion Program Manager NASA at JSC
    • Didier Radola, head of ORION ESM Programme Airbus
    • Nico Dettman, Lunar Exploration Group Leader for Lunar Exploration Development Projects European Space Agency
    • Tony Antonelli, Artemis II mission director Lockheed Martin

    This virtual panel takes place online on Thursday, October 29, from 12 to 12:45 pm. Learn more.

    The beloved festival, like so many others, is going virtual this year. Photo courtesy of Bayou City Arts Festival

    Nonprofit arts event in Houston pivots to virtual experience

    the show must go on

    As summer rolls on and Houston adapts to the new normal of the COVID-19 pandemic, myriad arts organizations are pivoting, morphing their in-person events into virtual experiences.

    One such event is the 49-year-old, annual Bayou City Arts Festival, which has just announced that it has reimagined its outdoor event originally scheduled for October 10-11 this year. Due to the cancelation of the event because of coronavirus concerns, all 2020 festival tickets will be honored at Bayou City Art Festival events in 2021, according to organizers.

    In place of an in-person festival in 2020, a Bayou City Art Virtual Experience will take place the week of October 5-11. The event will feature an art auction, virtual performances, art projects for kids with Bayou City Art Festival nonprofit partners, creative activities with Bayou City Art Festival sponsors and more, according to a press release.

    "The decision to convert our Bayou City Art Festival Downtown to a virtual experience was difficult, but the health and safety of our community and our festival family is our top priority," says Kelly Batterson, executive director of the Art Colony Association.

    Organizers have also announced that a fundraising campaign dubbed Save Our Art - One Passion. One Purpose. One Community, in partnership with the City of Houston to support the arts and the festival's local nonprofit partners.

    Interested parties can donate by sending a text SaveOurArt to 243725, donating via our website and Facebook page, or by participating in the many upcoming fundraising events.

    Festival fans can stay up to date via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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    This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

    Help out your fellow Houstonian on this Day of Action on Friday, June 26. Getty Images

    Houstonians can help their community amid COVID-19 on a virtual 'day of action'

    online only

    The renewed spread of COVID-19 and its adverse effects on individuals and communities has sparked a desire in many to give back. But just how to do so has been confounding in this era of social distancing.

    To the rescue comes the United Way of Greater Houston, which is hosting a virtual "Day of Action" volunteer event to support those in need. Those who participate in the Friday, June 26, event can complete volunteer projects from the comfort of their home at little to no cost, according to a press release.

    All participants will receive a project guide prior to the event with details for each project and can join a kickoff webinar on the morning of June 26.

    Volunteer projects fall into the following categories:

    Disaster response
    Notes of encouragement for essential workers; hurricane preparedness kits; and care cards for seniors or families living in shelters.

    Basic needs
    Assembly of breakfast bags for homebound senior citizens or snack packs for students who rely on school resources for meals; activity kits to keep seniors engaged and busy while remaining isolated due to COVID-19.

    Summer learning
    Assembly of family game kits and summer activity kits to keep families and children beat boredom and stay mentally engaged during time off from school; donation of books and design of a printable bookmark for each donated book.

    To view available projects and register, visit the Day of Action site.

    When the projects are completed, participants are asked to deliver the finished item to a suggested nonprofit organization in their community by July 3.

    "Now more than ever, families and individuals in our region need support as they face the unknown due to COVID-19," said Emily Faron, manager at United Way of Greater Houston, in a statement. "The Day of Action is a great way to not only give back to those in need, but understand what United way does year-round to support our community's most vulnerable."

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    This article originally ran on CultureMap.

    Preventing paper business card waste and hand-to-hand contact, Ncrowd has created a tool to maintain connecting in an evolving networking space. Photo courtesy of Ncrowd

    This Houston startup is revolutionizing event networking

    going digital

    A Houston-based startup is launching this month in order to up the ante for networking at events — whether they are in-person or virtual.

    NCrowd allows its users to avoid the hassle and awkwardness in-person networking and takes connecting into the virtual space. The app, available through the App Store and Google Play, is the only networking platform that uses an interactive RSVP list for users to market themselves and network before an event.

    "Professional networking has been done the same way for over 60 years," says CEO and co-founder Roland Martinez. "Young professionals do not approach networking as someone did decades ago."

    NCrowd users can create their own profile and their very own digital business card that allows for users to enter virtual networking lounges to view attendees that have RSVP'ed to events. The events are easy to find in the app, allowing users to pick and choose what event they would be interested in, exchange digital business cards, view other attendees' profiles, including their social media handles.

    "The app is user friendly and helps professionals see who is attending the event before the event happens," says Martinez. "This is pretty valuable for those aiming to make a great first impression."

    The platform is especially useful during the COVID pandemic where in-person events are being taken into virtual spaces.

    The networking platform makes it easy to stay connected online and all in one app. The digital business cards are archived on the platform providing a digital footprint and allowing users to call, chat, and email other professionals and create connections.

    "COVID-19 has changed the way people interact forever," says Martinez. "Networking will be forever changed because now we know it isn't essential to meet face-to-face. NCrowd optimizes virtual events with our platform that allows professionals to connect in an online environment."

    NCrowd allows users to connect while keeping social distancing measures that reduce the risk of infection by reducing the need to meet in large gatherings. That's not the only positive side effect, Martinez says that reducing paper waste was a huge motivator during NCrowd's development phase.

    "About 10 billion paper cards are printed each year and the vast majority end up getting lost or thrown away a few days later," says Martinez. "It makes a lot more sense to go digital and reduce paper waste to help the planet."

    Now that NCrowd has completed its year of beta testing, according to Martinez, he is excited to launch and grow their business. They will test out their platform later this month with a company that will be using telecommunication software and their app to make networking virtually easier.

    Ncrowd's co-founders are Craig Sico, Roland Martinez, Larry Olivarez, and Priscilla Olivarez. Photo courtesy of Ncrowd

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    Houston innovator joins VC world to increase her social impact

    Q&A

    Kelly Avant didn't exactly pave a linear career path for herself. After majoring in gender studies, volunteering in the Peace Corps, and even attending law school — she identified a way to make a bigger impact: venture capital.

    "VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems," Avant tells InnovationMap.

    Avant joined the Mercury Fund team last year as an MBA associate before joining full time as investment associate. Now, after completing her MBA from Rice University this month, Avant tells InnovationMap why she's excited about this new career in investment in a Q&A.

    InnovationMap: From law school and the peace corps, what drew you to start a career in the VC world?

    Kelly Avant: I graduated from Rice University with an MBA, starting scouting for an investment firm in my first year, and by the summer after my first year I was essentially working full-time interning with Mercury. But, I like to tell people about my undergraduate degree in gender studies and rhetoric from a little ski college in Colorado. If you meet someone else in venture capital with a degree in gender studies, please connect us, but I think I might be the only one. I’ll spare you what I used to think — and say — about business students, but I have really come full circle.

    I always thought I would work in a nonprofit space, but after serving in Cambodia with the Peace Corps, working for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and briefly attending Emory Law School with the intention of becoming a civil rights lawyer.I found that time and time again the root of the problem was a lack of resources. The world’s problems were not going to be solved with my idealism alone.

    The problem with operating as a nonprofit in a capitalism is you basically always pandering to the interests of the donors. The NFL was a key sponsor of The National Domestic Violence Hotline. The United States has a complicated, to put it lightly, relationship with Cambodia and Vietnam. It became pretty clear that the donor/nonprofit relationship was oftentimes putting the wrong party in the driver’s seat. I was, and still am, very interested in alternative financing for nonprofits. I became convinced that the most exciting businesses were building solutions to the world’s problems while also turning a profit, which allows them to survive to have a sustainable positive impact.

    VC is an awesome way to shape the future in a more positive way because you literally get to wire money to the most innovative thinkers, who are building solutions to the world’s problems.

    IM: What are some companies you’re excited about?

    KA: There are a couple super interesting founders I’ve met directly engaging with . To name a few: CiviTech, DonateStock, and Polco.

    I’m very proud to work on mercury investments like Houston’s own, Topl, which has built an extremely lightweight and energy efficient Blockchain that enables tracking of ethical supply chains from the initial interaction.
    I’m also excited about mercury’s investment in Zirtue, which enables relationship based peer to peer lending to solve the massive problem of predatory payday loans.

    We have so many awesome founders in our portfolio. The best part about working in VC is meeting passionate innovators every day. I get excited to go to work everyday and help them to build better solutions.

    IM: Why are you so passionate about bringing diversity and inclusion into Mercury?

    KA: I love working with exciting, highly capable, super smart people. That category includes so many people who have been historically excluded. As an investment team member at Mercury, I do have a voice, and I have an obligation to use that voice to speak highly of the best people in rooms of influence.

    IM: With your new role, what are you most focused on?

    KA: In my new role, I am identifying and researching high potential investments. We’re building out a Mercury educational series to lift the veil of VC. We want to facilitate a series that gives all founders the basic skills to pass VC due diligence and have the opportunity to build the next innovative companies. My goal is ultimately to produce the best returns possible for our investors, and we can’t accomplish that goal unless we’re building out resources to meet the best founders and help them grow.

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    This conversation has been edited for brevity and clarity.

    Houston college system plans to open $30M resiliency-focused center

    to the rescue

    Houston’s initiative to protect the city from catastrophes is getting a big boost from Houston Community College.

    The college is developing the Resilience Center of Excellence to aid the city’s resilience campaign. At the heart of this project is the 65,000-square-foot, $30 million Resiliency Operations Center, which will be built on a five-acre site HCC’s Northeast campus. The complex is scheduled to open in 2024.

    HCC estimates the operations center will train about 3,000 to 4,000 local first responders, including police officers and firefighters, during the first three years of operation. They’ll be instructed to prepare for, manage, and respond to weather, health and manmade hazards such as hurricanes, floods, fires, chemical spills, and winter freezes.

    According to The Texas Tribune, the operations center will include flood-simulation features like a 39-foot-wide swift water rescue channel, a 15-foot-deep dive area, and a 100-foot-long “rocky gorge” of boulders.

    The college says the first-in-the-nation Resilience Center of Excellence will enable residents, employers, civic organizations, neighborhoods, and small businesses to obtain education and certification aimed at improving resilience efforts.

    “Our objective is to protect the well-being of our citizens and our communities and increase economic stability,” Cesar Maldonado, chancellor of HCC, said when the project was announced.

    Among the programs under the Resiliency Center of Excellence umbrella will be non-credit courses focusing on public safety and rescue, disaster management, medical triage, and debris removal.

    Meanwhile, the basic Resilience 101 program will be available to businesses and community organizations, and the emergency response program is geared toward individuals, families, and neighborhoods.

    HCC’s initiative meshes with the City of Houston’s Resilient Houston, a strategy launched in 2020 that’s designed to protect Houston against disasters. As part of this strategy, the city has hired a chief resilience and sustainability officer, Priya Zachariah.

    “Every action we take and investment we make should continue to improve our collective ability to withstand the unexpected shocks and disruptions when they arrive — from hurricanes to global pandemics, to extreme heat or extreme cold,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said last year. “The time is now to stop doing things the way we’ve always done them because the threats are too unpredictable.”

    In an InnovationMap guest column published in February 2021, Richard Seline, co-founder of the Houston-based Resilience Innovation Hub, wrote that the focus of resilience initiatives should be pre-disaster risk mitigation.

    “There is still work to be done from a legislative and governmental perspective, but more and more innovators — especially in Houston — are proving to be essential in creating a better future for the next historic disaster we will face,” Seline wrote.