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Santa Clara University's Ninth Annual Global Social Benefit Incubator Competition Available on Social Edge

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010

Up to 20 candidates to be selected to attend Summer 2011 session on a full scholarship.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. Dec. 7, 2010 — Social entrepreneurs from around the world are invited to apply for the 9th annual Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), a capacity-building program for up to 20 social ventures ready to scale their enterprises with the help of seasoned Silicon Valley start-up veterans and Santa Clara University faculty.

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. The 20 selected entrepreneurs receive four months of on-line mentoring and assignments, culminating in their attendance at a motivating two-week in-residence program Aug. 7 – 19, 2011, at Santa Clara University.

It’s not just the 20 chosen social entrepreneurs who benefit: Applicants who fulfill all of the Social Edge application process requirements receive constructive feedback from Silicon Valley mentors and other experts on their application and business plans. 

The Global Social Benefit Incubator application process starts December 7th on Social Edge, the online community for social entrepreneurs and a program of the Skoll Foundation. Information on the online process is available now at Social benefit entrepreneurs from around the world can download the application on December 7th and will be able to submit beginning January 4th, 2011. 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.

"Through the access to world-class resources, participating social benefit entrepreneurs will be able to accelerate the impact of their innovations. This is a transformational program for people with the power and vision to change the world,” says Jim Koch, Professor of Management at Santa Clara University, Co-Founder and Director of the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI). “The GSBI brings together grass roots innovators and Silicon Valley executive mentors with university faculty to support the scaling of innovative solutions that serve the common good all over the world.”

The GSBI will continue last year’s emphasis on social entrepreneurs who are using technology and sustainable, scalable business models to provide electricity to the under-served in developing countries. Up to one-third of the GSBI scholarships are being targeted to social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions that address the unmet needs of peoples and communities who are off-the-grid or suffer frequent disruptions in their energy supplies.

"The lack of access to affordable energy limits prospects for livelihoods and stunts the aspirations of future generations by precluding the opportunity to learn and engage in productive pursuits,” says Koch.  “Access to reliable energy is the pivotal enabling factor for economic growth in ‘off the grid’ communities worldwide.”

All GSBI applicants participate in three business planning exercises. These exercises are designed to help social entrepreneurs write and revise key sections of their business plans based on feedback from mentors at Santa Clara University and others in the Social Edge community.

Many social entrepreneurs have commented that they learned a tremendous amount through the application process. “Applicants receive advice on their business proposition, their strategy and their application. This interaction helps them convey their story in a more compelling way and helps them clarify their impact and strategy for scaling their ventures,” says Victor d'Allant, Executive Director of Social Edge.

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, Laos, Canada, Haiti, Indonesia, Vanuatu, and the United States. The cross-cultural community of support and personalized mentorship helps social entrepreneurs accelerate progress. The benefits of the program endure well beyond the xx months of official mentoring, thanks to the network formed from their experiences with fellow attendees and the ongoing support of veteran Silicon Valley start-up mentors.

Starting immediately, social entrepreneurs around the world may visit to download their application. There is no application fee. Applicants can prepare their applications now and post them online during January and February 2011.

GSBI scholarships cover tuition, room, and board for the two-week intensive immersion program focused on venture planning, beneficiary analysis, business models, metrics and successful scaling strategies. Selected candidates are responsible for their own travel expenses. The winners will be announced no later than April 1, 2011.

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

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley. Santa Clara offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s degrees in a number of professional fields, law degrees, and engineering and theology doctorates. Distinguished by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, Santa Clara educates leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion grounded in faith-inspired values. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara is California’s oldest operating institution of higher education. For more information, see

About the Global Social Benefit Incubator
The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), combines four months of on-line preparation with an intensive two-week residential program at Santa Clara University that enables successful social benefit entrepreneurs, who have demonstrated their commitment to applying technology to address urgent human needs throughout the world, to scale their endeavors and achieve sustainable, systemic change to impoverished communities. The GSBI combines classroom instruction, case studies, and best practices with carefully matched mentoring on the specific challenges of each participating organization. The signature program of the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, the GSBI embodies Santa Clara University’s vision of creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world in combination with leading executive and entrepreneurial resources of Silicon Valley. More information is available 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: 

Katie Buck

Victor d’Allant
Social Edge


Tags: CSTS, GSBI, social entrepreneurs

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