Hi everyone, Spiffy here, your one and only interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth. I’m thrilled to be talking to an entrepreneurship ecosystem builder working to make the world a better, more equitable, and innovative place. John-Paul Parmigiani is the co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub New York Metropolitan Area, and working hard to extend support to up and coming entrepreneurs. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, John-Paul! Can you start by telling me what challenges you are addressing?
John-Paul: It's great to finally get the chance to talk to you, Spiffy! The New York Metro Area has thousands of startups, non-profits, creatives, and investors. It has leading research institutions, international development agencies, and major corporations. We believe we have a responsibility to unlock the potential of these resources to improve lives locally and globally. Impact Hub New York Metropolitan Area is a locally-rooted organization supporting the social innovation ecosystem through programs and activities designed to help impactful ideas takeoff. We're part of a global network of innovators in over 100 cities and more than 60 countries.
Spiffy: Stellar! Now, can you tell me more about what motivated you to support entrepreneurs through Impact Hub?
John-Paul: Witnessing the events of 9/11 as a teenager had a profound effect on my life. I realized the responsibility I had to use my energy and talents to contribute to building a more peaceful and just world. I started a journey that took me abroad learning, volunteering, and leading passion projects aligned with humanitarian work. When the global financial crisis hit, it became clear that entrepreneurship can be a powerful vehicle to impact lives sustainably. I fell in love with the idea of helping people reach their own dreams to solve important challenges—this is why I'm so enthusiastic about Impact Hub.
John-Paul Parmigiani meeting Angela Merkel at Impact Hub Accra, Ghana. (Image courtesy of John-Paul Parmigiani)
Spiffy: That all sounds life altering—and your enthusiasm is contagious, John-Paul! Can you tell me more about how you are working to create a more equitable world?
John-Paul: Many communities and neighborhoods in the New York Metro Area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut) do not have the same level of visibility and access to resources as others. We are intentionally building an inclusive community to advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by designing our programs and engagements specifically to reach and support entrepreneurial visionaries of diverse ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and geographic backgrounds.
Spiffy: Are there any new initiatives that you’re embarking on?
John-Paul: We are excited to announce that we will be hosting Climathon 2021, powered by Ideanco, in New York this October. Climathon is an iconic hackathon aimed to catalyze action toward combating climate change. Registration is now open for anyone with a promising cleantech idea who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur!
Spiffy: Can you tell me about a startup or project you’ve worked with that exemplifies the impact you’re striving to make?
John-Paul: In the past year we have been so proud of the Million Patients Cured (MPC) team, and their mission to empower humanity to prevent and cure diseases by connecting people, information, and services through shared technology. MPC reached over 106 million users in the first year to help address their needs for integrated information on mandates, testing, and research during the Covid-19 epidemic across 50 states, 3,000 counties and two continents—North America and Africa.
Spiffy: Have you learned something unexpected lately, John-Paul?
John-Paul: I have! You don't know if an opportunity is real unless you pursue it—those data points are helpful!
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
John-Paul: Yes, Spiffy, I believe you can do anything you put your mind to. The most worthy goals often take sacrifice and very hard work, but those are the times you will remember as the best!
Spiffy: I hope I’m not the only one inspired by those words! Thank you for talking to me, and for reminding us to work hard and open doors for others. It’s been an honor.
John-Paul Parmigiani serves as co-founder and CEO of Impact Hub New York Metropolitan Area. He is also a co-founder and Board Chair of Impact Hub Accra, and serves on the boards of The African Innovation Centre and Crowdfrica. (First published on the Ladderworks website on June 15, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.