‘The Impact Factory’ at UT is helping students tackle Central Texas’ toughest problems

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin has a unique program geared toward tackling some of the community’s biggest problems.

“The Impact Factory” has helped students launch a number of new ventures that have had a profound impact during the pandemic.

“We are in the business of innovation and entrepreneurship for good,” Dr. Michael Hole said.

Dr. Hole is a mentor and advisor to the students in the program, and he says his students find a problem and go to work trying to fix it.

“These are remarkable student entrepreneurs who are out there learning new things while they are doing good things,” Hole said.

During the pandemic, he has seen his students pivot and change gears to address new and arising problems in the community.

“Most all of them have been affected in some sort of way, or at least the people that we are serving have been affected by the pandemic,” Hole said.

Zack Timmons launched Good Apple, a doctor-prescribed grocery delivery company fighting food insecurity before the pandemic started. Once the pandemic started to grip the community, he saw another need.

“We shifted some of our impact efforts, shifting from children to serving people who are elderly and immunocompromised, and that is where our ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ program started,” Timmons said.

Since starting the business, Good Apple has served more than 800,000 pounds of food.

“We have been able to serve 26,000 people since we launched the company,” Timmons said. “We really wanted to focus on how do we get food directly to people’s doors.”

Good Apple just one of the many programs Hole has helped students launch under the project.

“Some students will want to take the venture beyond their graduation and continue it for years,” Hole said.

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