year in review
Editor's note: As 2022 comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. When it came to impact — from a startup looking to reduce clothing waste and optimize used clothing shopping to Houston being named an emerging startup hub — in Houston, five stories trended among readers.
Houston's ranking on this global report improved 14 spots between now and last year. Photo via Getty Images
As a startup hub, Houston is movin’ on up.
In a new report from Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, Houston ranks fifth among the world’s top 100 emerging ecosystems for startups. Last year, the groups’ report put Houston at No. 19 in the same category.
Ahead of Houston on the list of the top emerging ecosystems for startups are first-ranked Detroit; second-ranked Hong Kong; third-ranked Dublin, Ireland; and fourth-ranked Minneapolis. Read more.
A Houston innovator found second-hand shopping time consuming. So, she designed a better experience. Image courtesy of Trendy Seconds
When the coronavirus pandemic started in 2020, people found themselves at home with a surplus of free time. Puzzles covered dining room tables, remnants of new hobbies were strewn across dens, TikTok dances were rehearsed, and television was binged. Maria Burgos found herself watching Netflix’s “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” which inspired her to clean out her closet. In practicing Kondo’s dogma of parting with items that don’t “spark joy,” Burgos uncovered a bigger issue to purge: America’s unsustainable fashion industry.
She asked herself why there wasn’t a website where she could find items in one place. “That was the genesis of Trendy Seconds,” she shares. Read more.
Amid a growing water shortage, this international company has developed an innovative way to harvest a new water source — and it's bringing it to Houston. Image via Getty Images
More than 2 million Americans don’t have access to clean drinking water, according to one study by the U.S. Water Alliance group.
To help close that water gap, international firm, Botanical Water Technologies, has plans to expand its presence in the United States with the Houston region being a strategic area to roll out the implementation of a patented water filtration technology. In addition, the group is launching a blockchain enabled trading platform with Fujitsu to help support the business.
“Water is finite,” says James Rees, chief impact officer at BWT. “Due to global growth and climate conditions, we are going to have between 20 to 30 percent less water available to us by 2025. Communities are facing issues with water infrastructure. Some communities don't have water. This is where BWT plans to come in to help.” Read more.
Tammi Wallace of the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce is a panelist on The Ion's Pride in Tech event. Photo via LinkedIn
It's Pride Month, and the Houston tech community is celebrating its LGBTQIA+ community — as well as addressing some challenges faced within the business arena.
Wallace, who co-founded the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce in 2016, joined InnovationMap for a quick Q&A ahead of the event. Read more.
Here are two of the latest updates on new appointments from two Houston organizations. Photos courtesy
Three Houston innovators have new roles they're excited about this summer. From new academia to bitcoin, here's who's moving and shaking in Houston innovation. Read more.
in the works
Sparkle and Shine
Houston Community College and partners received a $1.8 million grant from JP Morgan Chase this month with the goal of training underserved Houstonians in jobs that will help boost the city's preparedness for the aftermath of natural disasters.
The funds will go toward creating a certificate program that will launch in the fall 2022 semester as part of The Resilient Workforce Collaborative.
“The Resilient Workforce Collaborative brings together the public sector, private sector, higher education institutions, and our nonprofit partners to make transformational change in our most underserved neighborhoods,” Mayor Sylvester Turner says in a statement. “The collaborative complements our efforts within the Complete Communities to prepare low-to-moderate income Houstonians for high-demand jobs and increase the diversity of candidates in the talent pipelines for green careers that will advance our city’s resilience. This resourceful partnership is a welcomed addition to Houston’s workforce development landscape.”
The collaborative will operate out of HCC's Resiliency Center of Excellence, which was first announced in May and is slated to open its $35 million Resiliency Operations Center at HCC's Northeast College in 2024. Other members of the collaborative include City of Houston, Harris County, Workforce Solutions Gulf Coast, Resilience Innovation Hub, American Youth Works, WorkTexas, TRIO Electric, TRIO Education, Memorial Assistance Ministries, South Union CDC, Impact Hub Houston, Neuhaus Education Center, TXRX Labs, Volunteers of America-TX, Wesley Community Center, and JPMorgan Chase.
The program will aim to help residents who come from some of Houston’s most underserved and under-resourced neighborhoods find career opportunities in the clean energy, disaster response, utilities, trades and manufacturing fields. According to HCC, "an important element of the collaborative is employers changing some of their hiring practices to emphasize specialized training certificates over traditional 4-year degrees."
So far, partnering employers include The City of Houston, Harris County and TRIO Electric—and the collaborative is looking for more employers and funders to support its mission.
“This collaborative provides a ‘go-to place’ for Houstonians to learn skills that will lead to good paying jobs. It is a better system because it’s set up to fulfill needs that already exist in the workplace,” HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado said in a statement.
HCC and the City of Houston signed a memorandum of understanding in August, on the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, that the organizations would train 500,000 citizens, employees, small businesses, volunteers, and first responders in new resiliency training programs starting this fall.
At the time, seven courses in resiliency were announced, with an additional 30 courses slated to be added in 2023. The program will be offered at 22 HCC locations.
in the works