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Applications Open Now for Santa Clara University's 10th Annual Training Program for Global Social Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

Up to 20 candidates will be selected through a competitive process via the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge platform. Winners will attend the Summer 2012 boot camp on a full scholarship.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Dec. 13, 2011—Social entrepreneurs from around the world are invited to apply for the 10th annual Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), one of the oldest and most immediately beneficial mentoring and training programs for social entrepreneurs around the world. 

The GSBI, the signature program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, is designed to help leaders of social-benefit enterprises create sustainable and scalable business plans that maximize social impact—be it electricity for communities that lack grid power, food for starving children, or economic development for impoverished, unemployed populations. 

The application process for GSBI is open on Social Edge, the online community for social entrepreneurs and a program of the Skoll Foundation ( Social benefit entrepreneurs from around the world can download the application now, and will be able to submit the first of three application exercises beginning January 3, 2012. 

Up to 20 candidates, who best demonstrate a sustainable and scalable approach to addressing urgent human needs throughout the world, will be chosen to receive a full GSBI scholarship valued at US$25,000.

Chosen entrepreneurs receive four months of online mentoring by Silicon Valley executive-level mentors on several assignments, culminating in their attendance at a motivating two-week summer in-residence program focused on venture planning, beneficiary analysis, business models, metrics, and successful scaling strategies. This year’s in-residence program will take place Aug. 12-24, 2012, at Santa Clara University.

The scholarships cover mentoring and tuition, room, and board for the two-week in-residence program.  Candidates are responsible for their own travel expenses. The winners will be announced no later than April 17, 2012.

“2012 marks the tenth anniversary of the Global Social Benefit Incubator,” says Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society.  “Since its inception in 2003, the GSBI has mentored nearly 140 entrepreneurs from more than 20 countries. More than 90 percent of these ventures are still extant, most are scaling rapidly, and collectively they’ve positively impacted the lives of over 70 million people in base-of-pyramid communities.”

Energy and Health a Special Focus

For the third year in a row, the GSBI will place a priority on admitting social entrepreneurs who are using technology and sustainable, scalable business models to provide energy to the underserved in developing countries. Up to one-third of the GSBI scholarships will be awarded to those providing electricity to populations that are off-the-grid or suffer frequent disruptions in their energy supplies.

Up to six others will be awarded to ventures providing services for health care, including clean water, sanitation, or improved maternal and child health. The GSBI will give special consideration to mobile technologies centered on those applications. 

“The GSBI has focused for a number of years on critical sectors such as off-grid electrification and mobile health technologies,” says Kreiner. “That has enabled us to build up a much deeper understanding of what it takes technically, organizationally, and systemically to have a larger, more lasting impact on the variety of poor communities worldwide.”

The Benefits of Applying

Even before the winning attendees are chosen, all those who apply and follow the interactive three-exercise application process stand to benefit from feedback provided by graduate-level mentors from Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. The mentors help applicants home in on the three elements of the application: target market, value proposition, and business model. Many applicants have commented that they learned a tremendous amount through the process.

“Applicants receive advice on their business proposition, their strategy, and their application,” says Victor d'Allant, executive director of Social Edge. “This interaction helps them convey their story in a more compelling way and helps them clarify their impact and strategy for scaling their ventures.”

Starting immediately, social entrepreneurs around the world may visit to download their application. There is no application fee. Candidates can prepare their applications now and post them online starting January 3, 2012.

In the past, GSBI scholars have come from all over the world: Costa Rica, India, Namibia, Mexico, Philippines, Rwanda, Argentina, Cambodia, Paraguay, Ecuador, Bangladesh, Jordan, Guatemala, Laos, Nepal, Bolivia, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, Haiti, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the United States. The cross-cultural community of support and personalized mentorship helps social entrepreneurs progress more rapidly than they would otherwise, and builds a strong network formed among fellow attendees and their Silicon Valley mentors.

More information can be found at Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University, and at Social Edge, a program of the Skoll Foundation,

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS)
The mission of the CSTS is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide. The CSTS implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator,  its partnership with The Tech Museum in The Tech Awards program, Frugal Innovation, a focus on social capital, and numerous education and public engagement activities. Now in its tenth year, the GSBI has provided sophisticated capacity development opportunities to nearly 140 social entrepreneurs, affording us unique insights into leading business models and innovations for the developing world and emerging markets. More information can be found at Those wishing to support the Center and the GSBI should contact Tomitha Blake at

About Social Edge
Headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, Social Edge is the global online community where social entrepreneurs and other practitioners of the social benefit sector connect to network, learn, inspire, and share resources. It provides expert content for guidance, videos and podcasts for inspiration, and discussions and other resources written by those in the field of social entrepreneurship. Features include blogs by social entrepreneurs sharing how they are building their social ventures and discussions on vital topics led by experts in social entrepreneurship. Social Edge is a program of the Skoll Foundation,, which was founded in 1999 by eBay’s first president, Jeff Skoll, to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting, and celebrating social entrepreneurs. More information is available at

Media Contacts:
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121
Katie Buck | CSTS Marketing | | 408-551-6043


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