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Social-Entrepreneurship "Global Social Benefit Fellows" Program Funded at SCU
Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
Unique, transformative opportunity for top students to work side-by-side with global social entrepreneurs, for the betterment of the world’s neediest populations.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 3, 2011—Starting in winter 2012, at least eight Santa Clara University students will get the rare chance to experience life with “social entrepreneurs” running growth-oriented businesses that strive to improve conditions for the world’s most vulnerable.
The Global Social Benefit Fellows program was funded by a generous grant from the RNN 99 Foundation through its trustees Ann Bowers, Barry Fernald, and the late Paul L. Locatelli, S.J.
The $2 million grant will support students in a yearlong experience that brings together the best of Jesuit education with targeted coursework, in-country immersion, and mentored research and reflection.
Bowers, a resident of Palo Alto, said she and Fernald were inspired by the work being done at SCU in the area of social entrepreneurship, as well as by Fr. Locatelli’s devotion to creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world. Locatelli was SCU’s president from 1988 to 2008 and sought to provide the University’s students with life-changing experiences.
“We wanted to create an enduring legacy to honor Father Locatelli, who was so passionate to see that the world’s most disadvantaged populations not be abandoned,” said Bowers, who served on Santa Clara University’s board of trustees for 12 years. “It is our hope that being a Global Social Benefit Fellow will inspire our most promising student leaders from all disciplines to leverage their talents, in ways small or large, for the betterment of all humanity.”
The GSB Fellows program builds on the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at SCU, the Global Social Benefit Incubator™. For the past decade, GSBI has sponsored up to 20 global social entrepreneurs for eight months of mentorship and training by Silicon Valley executives and SCU faculty, as well as an intensive two-week “boot camp” on SCU’s campus. The entrepreneurs, including such well-known success stories as Kiva.org, VisionSpring, Husk Power Systems, and Solar Sister, learn the skills they need to hone their business plans, articulate their visions to stakeholders, and successfully grow revenues faster than expenses.
The students who will be chosen as Global Social Benefit Fellows through a competitive application process will take a preparatory course on social entrepreneurship the spring of their junior year, which will also introduce them to the enterprises at which they will intern. That summer, they will spend four to six weeks working in the field with social entrepreneurs, after which they will return to campus to help facilitate the in-residence component of the Center’s GSBI training program. As seniors, they will work on faculty-supervised research related to the social enterprise, and share what they learn through a dedicated fellows-research forum.
"We are very grateful to Ann Bowers and the RNN 99 Foundation for enabling us to offer our Global Social Benefit Fellows a unique immersion experience. This singular opportunity will expose them to SCU's network of social entrepreneurs who help lift millions of people out of poverty,” said SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. “This new program integrates and strengthens the University's focus on technology, engaged education, and Jesuit-inspired service of humanity.”
Bowers and the RNN 99 Foundation have long been supporters of SCU, supporting endowed scholarships, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, Women in Math and Science, and other University priorities. Bowers served on the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees from 1986 through 1998 and received an honorary Doctor of Public Service in 2000.
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