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Dallas: The Impact City

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In the 1990s, when an entrepreneur came up with a new technology, it was common to head to Silicon Valley to raise capital, hire a team, build a connected board, and develop industry relationships — all the resources were concentrated in one place.

But today, when a dedicated, passionate social entrepreneur comes up with an amazing new process to solve a pressing social problem — hunger, homelessness, war, incarceration, education — where should that person go for a deeply connected and efficient hub of resources?

My answer: Dallas.

Dallas has a unique opportunity to become the center of the world for developing and deploying solutions to our world’s most pressing problems. We can become the Impact City.

Around the world, we find global centers for finance, technology, culture, religion, manufacturing, and medicine, yet no center has emerged for sustainable solutions to humanity’s greatest challenges — until now.

It is time for a global impact center, and that center will be Dallas.

Dallas has a unique opportunity to become the center of the world for developing and deploying solutions to our world’s most pressing problems. We can become the Impact City.

Why Now?

Humanity is more closely connected, has greater potential for advancement, and yet at the same time, faces far greater challenges than ever before. The world urgently needs the development of a center that is as productive for impact as New York City is for finance and Silicon Valley is for technology.

Social entrepreneurship and impact investing are exploding. Millennials have introduced a new demand for purpose and meaning at work. These systemic changes now offer Dallas an opportunity to create a great concentration of resources, attract the brightest minds, and become a global center for solving the most important issues of our time.

Why Should You Care?

For the City. Impact City will bring billions of dollars of investment capital into Dallas. It will attract top talent to Dallas’ corporations, universities, and civic institutions. We will make rapid progress in world-scale education and poverty solutions — and those innovations will apply directly to our city, with its key challenges addressed by the world’s greatest minds. It will provide a deep and powerful purpose for the city — a purpose unlike any other city in the world.

For the World. Right now, resources and minds working on humanity’s biggest challenges are scattered throughout the country and across the globe, with no engine to coordinate them and no underlying infrastructure. Impact City will provide a concentration of institutions, capital, talent, and ideas. It will drive the rapid development of sustainable, scalable solutions to meet the greatest challenges of our time.

Why Dallas?

Blank Canvas. Dallas does not yet have a 21st-century global identity. Throughout our city, innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs are yearning to come together around a huge vision and purpose.

Smart Generosity. Dallas is one of the most philanthropic cities in the world. Dallas gives more per capita than New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, or Los Angeles. Our socially oriented investors have become more sophisticated in demanding financial returns, provable results, and scalable models.

Thriving Economy. North Texas has a diverse, resilient, thriving economy — one of the best performing regional economies in the country year over year.

These systemic changes now offer Dallas an opportunity to create a great concentration of resources, attract the brightest minds, and become a global center for solving the most important issues of our time.

Ideal Airport. DFW Airport is a high capacity, top-notch international facility with easy access to cities throughout the world, including developing nations. Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe are one flight away, making DFW Airport one of the few true “center of the world” airports.

Central Location. Dallas is centrally located, providing easy access to every region of the country. New York and Los Angeles are both less than 3.5 hours away by plane.

Leading Industry. Our region is home to one of the largest concentrations of Fortune 1,000 companies in the country, representing almost every major industry. PepsiCo, Texas Instruments, Kimberly-Clark, American Airlines — these companies all benefit from the talent, engagement, and global purpose created by Impact City.

Deep Capacity. Despite its growth, Dallas has an enormous capacity for supporting additional growth, with broad availability of land, water, and transportation.

Who Will Be Involved?

Most people think of the map of Dallas in terms of “north, south, east, west.” Impact agents, however, think in terms of the stakeholders of society, so that every part of our city can engage in and benefit from our process of becoming the Impact City. The developing Impact City will provide compelling programs that fully engage every sector of the map in the city’s global purpose.

UntitledWhat’s Next?

Dallas has already planted some impact seeds, and they are growing. We have seen the development of a community of sustainable, scalable social business models in the last several years:

  • We now have resource hubs like the Ground Floor and the Grove.
  • We have well-developed sustainable social businesses like Café Momentum and Soap Hope.
  • Our universities now have social entrepreneurship programs.

Dallas investors are also putting their resources behind these business models: in 2015, our own social business startup Good Returns Group raised over $1 million in seed capital, all from local investors.

Now it is time to broaden our vision. In 2016, watch for the launch of the Impact City Initiative, an organization with the specific purpose of concentrating resources and talent from around the world right here in Dallas and engaging the entire city. Connect with us at @TheImpactCity, or reach out directly to me at salah@TheImpactCity.com.


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Salah Boukadoum is the founder of Soap Hope, which sells all-natural body care products online. A self-described “social entrepreneur empowering women to defeat poverty,” Boukadoum founded Soap Ho(...)

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