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A Jesuit Franchise, Going Global

Tuesday, Jul. 5, 2011

This past spring, Northern California-based Santa Clara University and India-based Jesuit business school XLRI Jamshedpur signed a unique agreement: XLRI would be the first Jesuit university outside of Santa Clara to train and mentor 15-20 entrepreneurs that are pursuing not just profits, but also the betterment of poor communities -- known as “social entrepreneurs.” The program they’ll use is SCU’s nine-year-old Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI).

It turns out this could be just the tip of the iceberg for the expansion of GSBI, a program that has already contributed to the betterment of an estimated 74 million lives around the world. Plans are underway to expand the program to other Jesuit and mission-aligned universities worldwide, and to offer the program online, for a fee, to social entrepreneurs who aren't ready for the immersion program or can't attend an in-residence component because of their field responsibilities.


*On July 18, two officials from the Center for Science, Technology and Society – founder Jim Koch and executive director Thane Kreiner -- will be meeting with a group of interested leaders at the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools meeting in Lima, Peru to discuss expanding GSBI, with a focus on Latin America, Asia and Africa.

*GSBI Online is being discussed with a number of potential donors for a startup and pilot phase. 


GSBI has been the signature program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society for nearly a decade. It has grown into a true gem for the lucky 20 or so ventures that are chosen each year for a fully subsidized, eight months of online mentoring by Silicon Valley executives, venture capitalists, consultants, and SCU faculty, and a two-week program of intensive classes at SCU during the summer.

Ninety percent of the more than 120 businesses that have come through GSBI are still in existence today – an impressive survival rate for any business program anywhere.  And more than half of them are growing their revenues faster than their expenses, or “scaling.”

At SCU’s program, the entrepreneurs get online help from mentors to take preliminary business plans and turn them into professional-grade presentations that can – and do—win the respect of investors. Thereafter, they come to California to spend two formative summer weeks taking an intense series of back-to-back classes on marketing, distribution, finance and other key concepts taught by SCU faculty and volunteer executives from Silicon Valley.

The graduates have gone on to great things, and have been empowered to serve sometimes hundreds of thousands of people who make less than $2 a day.

At XLRI Jamshedpur, the initial phase of the GSBI program will leverage both Silicon Valley mentors and in-country experts sourced by XLRI. Silicon Valley mentors may travel to India to participate in portions of the GSBI programming there.

XLRI will focus on developing a pipeline of social entrepreneurs from India exclusively. XLRI faculty and SCU will provide ongoing mentoring after they graduate from GSBI. The entrepreneurs will have the benefit of about 40 social ventures that have already gone through GSBI in the past decade.

"The Global Social Benefit Incubator embodies our mission to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world," said Kreiner.  "We consider it a practical manifestation of social justice values while creating a unique knowledge asset for the Jesuit University network."

July 5, 2011



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