Center for Science, Technology, and Society, News page
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
Greetings from the Mexico City airport!
This was a fantastic, inspiring, educational, chockablock full trip.
Here are a few summary comments on the social entrepreneurs we visited in Mexico. The point is twofold: The GSBI® programs prepare social enterprises for success. Our alumni are doing quite well. Secondly, the Global Social Benefit Fellowship program makes Santa Clara students and their research projects attractive to social enterprises.
We visited a number of social enterprises—Unidos, Grupedsac, Ilumexico, Clincas de Azucar, SalaUno, and Sabbia Telecom—that are alumni of the GSBI® Accelerator or GSBI® Online. At each meeting, we asked for an update on their mission and business model. Then we conducted an informal needs assessment, which is relevant to what we at GSBI could offer.
The social businesses are scaling very quickly, to my eye. Three of them—Ilumexico, Clincas de Azucar, and SalaUno— are about 30 months old and have 25, 29, and 75 employees respectively. These enterprises would all like to host our student fellows. In return, they would like to share some elements of GSBI learning with their senior staff. The social entrepreneurs could provide senior staff with a sort of “GSBI On Demand”, sharing the latest findings from the field.
I asked many of the SEs why they were keenly interested in our Global Social Benefit Fellow students. Why don’t they drawn on local, Mexican students? The answer was quite consistent: they want students to work with them who have been trained to think in the GSBI model. This is one very tangible, value add that the Center gives to Santa Clara students.
Indeed, our visit to Monterrey Tech was fruitful because they are very eager to learn how we prepare students to think and work with a social entrepreneurial mindset. Our work with the students shapes the next generation of changemakers, and our partners at Monterrey Tech are eager to learn more at the next GSBI® Network conference, at SCU in May 2014.
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
In the wake of Typhoon Yolanda, Thane Kreiner and Andy Lieberman spent an amazing week in Manila for the 5th convening of the GSBI Network.
In the midst of supporting relief efforts in the Tacloban region, the John Gokongwei School of Management at Ateneo de Manila orchestrated a stimulating week of connecting, learning, and collaborating for the GSBI Network partners who hailed from the United States, India, Spain, and Mexico.
In addition to strengthening relationships with each other, the Network members were treated to a deep dive into the social enterprise space in the Philippines, a chance to build relationships with the drivers of Ateneo’s social enterprise efforts, and new connections with East Asian Jesuit business schools.
The GSBI Network meets about twice a year to exchange best practices and foster collaboration. This time, the most spirited conversations were around the strategies for engaging students in social entrepreneurship through service learning and incubating student-led social enterprises as the delegates discussed their programs, such as the Center’s Global Social Benefit Fellowships.
The Network meeting coincided with the annual meeting of the deans of the East Asian Jesuit Business Schools, at which Thane and Andy presented GSBI. They deepened the attendees’ interest in social enterprise, with several of the participants expressing desire to launch their own GSBI programs.
Ateneo conveniently arranged the international events to coincide with their annual social enterprise conference, which let the international visitors get to know the Filipino SE ecosystem and key players, including Jaime Ayla, Filipino Entrepreneur of the Year, and Dr. Lisa Dacanay, author of several books on social enterprise impact assessment. The GSBI Network’s panel during this conference and Thane’s participation on the Technology Changing Lives panel provided a global perspective to complement the excellent work being done locally.
Of course, no Center trip would be complete without visiting social entrepreneurs. We enjoyed meeting the teams at the Manila offices and workshops of Rags2Riches (‘11) and Gifts & Graces Fair Trade Association (‘09), both of which provide livelihoods to marginalized women through production of crafts. A 90-minute van ride and 45-minute uphill hike through coconut groves took us to a sari sari store in the Hapinoy (‘11) / CARD BDSFI (‘13) network that provides solar lamps using a rent-to-own model. We also visited current GSBI Online participant, Veritas, the xChange social innovation co-working space, and Gawad Kalinga’s Enchanted Farm—home of 17 social enterprises, launched mostly by graduates of Ateneo de Manila.
2014 will see even more gatherings of GSBI Network members and prospective members, starting with a week of activities at Santa Clara University in May that will highlight service learning and action research with social enterprises. In July, Thane will lead a social enterprise track at the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools annual meeting, which will include a GSBI Network panel and a keynote by Thane. GSBI and Ateneo de Manila are also planning a train-the-trainers workshop in Manila to prepare faculty and mentors from East Asian universities to work with social enterprises using the GSBI model.
To learn more about the GSBI Network, please contact Andy Lieberman at email@example.com
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
We are hiring a GSBI® Program Manager! Join a great team with a fantastic supervisor and secure a job with purpose.
Temporary, Feb. 3 – Jun. 27, 2014
Job Classification: Non-exempt, full time
Salary Range: $25 - $29/hr.
Reports to: New Programs Director, GSBI, Center for Science, Technology, and Society
The Center for Science, Technology, and Society accelerates global, innovation-based
entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Our signature program, the Global Social Benefit
Institute (GSBI®) supports social entrepreneurs (SEs) through intensive capacity‐building that
integrates the development of knowledge and skill with experienced mentoring to address the
challenges to achieving both social impact and financial sustainability at scale.
The GSBI Program Manager is in charge of driving GSBI Online and GSBI Accelerator programs
towards successful completion. This person is responsible for overseeing all day-to-day activities
and keeping track of and documenting program operations.
Manage program information and disseminate to internal and external stakeholders as
- Provide updates at weekly GSBI team meetings relative to SE/Mentor work progress and program logistics
- Manage program communications to mentors and SEs
- Manage Groupsite online collaboration platform (member invitations, timely work product postings)
- Maintain accuracy of website
- Work with marketing team to promote the social enterprises and the August
- Showcase event to impact investors and other stakeholders
- Prepare program status updates for sponsors
Support SE/Mentor teams
- Work with Mentor Network Director to identify local in-country mentors
- Provide support to entrepreneurs (e.g. writing letters in support of visa applications, give advice and assistance where needed for participant travel arrangements)
Support content leads and content meetings
- Working with Content Leads, ensure modules are posted in timely manner, webinars are scheduled, and delivered (support content leads, communicate to SEs, track participation)
- Maintain database of applicants, alumni, mentors
- Coordinate event logistics for 8/14/2014 Welcome Reception and 8/21/2014
- Investor Showcase (e.g. book venues and send save-the–date e-mails)
- Coordinate housing and food services for August in-residence
- Manage recruitment and selection of GSBI Online Spring 2014 cohort
- Manage communications to applicants regarding their application status
- Prepare online platform for April launch
- Work with Mentor Network Director on identification and pairing of mentors
- Manage mentor and SE orientation webinarsWork with marketing to update website
- Prepare program status updates for sponsors
- Bachelors degree required
- Excellent writing and communication skills
- Strong time management skills, exceptional attention to detail, proven planning skills, and superior follow-through
- Proficient with PowerPoint, Excel, and Google Docs. Familiarity with Salesforce desired
- Experience participating in, or working in, a capacity development training program (desired, but not required)
- Flexible schedule, including ability to work remotely and participate in early morning and evening webinars as required
- Exercises judgment and maintain confidentiality
- Able to work independently
Please send a cover letter describing your interest in working with the Center and CV/Resume to
Cyndy Ainsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
Our November newsletter reflects the urgency of our work in light of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, GSBI Accelerator's new cohort, Tech Award winners and more! Read it here.
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
Next week, people across our relatively blessed nation will have a Thanksgiving feast and then go on a shopping spree for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There is a growing nationwide movement to follow these days of indulgence with "Giving Tuesday." Now in its second year, Giving Tuesday is a national day devoted to remembering those less fortunate and supporting the charities that help them. Join us on December 3rd on our facebook or donate here.
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013
Originally published on Weds, Nov. 20 2013 on nextbillion.net
The BoP Summit organized by William Davidson Institute last month focused on creating an “action agenda” to help build better enterprises serving the global poor. In both breakout and plenary sessions, human capital emerged as a core challenge. Specifically, many social enterprises struggle to attract, develop, and retain talent – especially in rural markets that lack infrastructure and the big-city vibe that appeals to young entrepreneurs.
A number of social enterprises focus on livelihood training and have developed hybrid models. GSBI alum Anudip, for instance, provides market-aligned skills training for marginalized women and youth in rural and peri-urban India. Graduates can compete in the open market, or if they wish to remain in their communities, work at global “smartsourcing” firm iMerit, a for-profit in which Anudip holds a significant stake. Digital Divide Data, another GSBI alum, provides higher education opportunities and impact sourcing employment to youth in Kenya, Cambodia, and Laos.
Many social enterprises provide other goods and services that governments and markets fail to deliver – safe drinking water, clean and affordable energy, therapeutic foods, agricultural inputs – to name a few. While these enterprises frequently result in dignified livelihood opportunities that fuel local economies, the paucity of proximal talent can impede their rate of scaling. Experienced managers know that the cost of turnover is high: it takes time to recruit and develop; institutional knowledge, often not centrally stored is lost; and relationships that drive revenue aren’t instantly transferable. Harris and Kor recently reported on the role of human assets in scaling of social enterprises.
The human capital challenge spans every level of the enterprise including entry-level positions, mid-level management, senior leadership, and more often than not, governance. Proportionally, there simply aren’t that many experienced, successful business people who can serve as leaders or mentors in frontier markets, particularly not in rural areas. Moreover, entrepreneurial ecosystem services that catalyze formation of appropriate human capital are underdeveloped, including a paucity of institutions of higher education, credentialing programs, and enterprise incubators and accelerators.
A “$1:$1:$1” recommendation emerged from the BoP Summit working group on Enterprise Support. It goes like this: for every $1 invested directly in a social or BoP enterprise, there is a need for $1 in capacity development or technical assistance to the enterprise, and for another $1 in ecosystem development. The dollars don’t all need to come from the same source. Still, the burning question is, where is all this money going to come from?
In September, the World Economic Forum assessed the impact investing sector from the supply side, citing various estimates of growth to the $400 billion to $1 trillion range by 2020. However, WEF noted the current market size is around $25 billion. Whether the growth estimates are unrealistic or not, the estimated $41 trillion upcoming wealth transfer from Baby Boomers to Generation X and the Millennials is transforming asset management paradigms as younger generations express enthusiasm for double or triple bottom line returns. Once reliable financial and social returns are demonstrated, it is reasonable to anticipate that investment capital will become much more abundant.
But human capital is a different matter. Among the more than 200 social entrepreneurs with whom we’ve had the honor to work, a significant fraction are Western educated. As they scale their ventures, their compelling visions for a more just and sustainable world attract young talent, whom they train and groom. These ambitious young managers forsake high-paying jobs with benefits that enable them to plan for their own futures. After several years, however, many feel they are “falling behind” – servicing student loans, saving for a home, creating a foundation for their own families are simply not possible on the salaries social enterprises are able to pay them, even if they enable quality lifestyles in Kenya, India, or elsewhere in the developing world. In the developed world, social sector salaries present many of the same challenges and often preclude quality lifestyles, especially in big cities; the human capital gap is not limited to BoP markets.
Providing reasonable compensatory benefits to Western educated talent would encourage more to devote their careers to building and leading social enterprises; this of course only a partial solution: ecosystems services must evolve to generate sufficient local talent to build and lead impact enterprises globally. In parallel, however, encouraging well-educated Western youth to pursue careers in social entrepreneurship can help close the human capital gap.
It seems ironic that choosing vocations devoted to poverty eradication and planetary sustainability should consign some of the most talented young leaders of our generation to relative poverty themselves, at least compared to their peers. Providing compensatory benefits, such as contributions to a 401(k) and student debt service, would further tax the financial returns of social enterprises, or reduce the surplus available to invest in scaling. So, what, then, is a possible solution?
The Overseas Development Institute identified a potential source in a report released last week: redirect fossil fuel subsidies to support human capital for social good. Shockingly, the International Energy Agency found that fossil fuel producers received over $500 billion in subsidies in 2011. These subsidies distort both energy and carbon markets. Off-grid clean energy solutions created by social enterprises around the world are less competitive, as the full cost of extraction isn’t reflected in market prices for fossil fuels. Carbon prices are artificially low as a result of these subsidies, limiting incentives for innovation that slow global warming. Energy accounts for a disproportionate share of household expenditures among the poor, and global warming disproportionately affects the poor, a fact that not only causes significant harm to those nations, but is disrupting international relations around the world. As ODI indicates in the title of its report, time for change: let’s shift subsidies to sustainable energy solutions and to closing human capital gaps so that social enterprises can scale more quickly.
Thane Kreiner is executive director of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society, at Santa Clara University, home of the Global Social Benefit Institute.
Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
Many people I know and respect had told me that Opportunity Collaboration was the best conference they went to. Being an unconference, the guidance was “it is what you make of it”.
From the moment we were all boarding the flight from Mexico City to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, I knew I was in for something different. It felt like we were going to summer camp. The plane was abuzz with conversations. Fellow conference goers were already meeting and engaging one another. The conversations ensued on the bus ride from the airport to the conference facilities, Club Med. Even though most of us had been on red-eyes to get to Mexico City, the air sparked with energy and enthusiasm.
Upon arrival at Club Med, we were taken to Communications Central where each of us had mail slots. This was one way of connecting with each other. I came to refer the slips of paper I would find in my box, asking to meet, as love notes. It proved to be an efficient method of scheduling time with interesting people. The only difficult part was where to meet. By the pool? In the bar? Walk on the beach? One of my favorite moments was scheduling a meeting using my iPhone. The location of the meeting? “Beach”. I laughed typing that in.
I can safely say that every conversation I had throughout the week, be it in a breakout session, before or after colloquium (homeroom class), by the pool, or saddled up at the bar, were fascinating learning moments. I have been to hundreds, if not thousands of conferences throughout my professional career; that never happens. There is a magic combination of attracting 350 passionate people from around the sector and the relaxed environment that allows for truly interesting discussions. The transactional nature of “typical” conferences has no place at Opportunity Collaboration. I went from one impromptu discussion on what role BIG banks can play in this sector to a dinner breakout on spiritual activism.
The connections I made at the conference go way beyond having a business card. I have already had a number of conversations with people I met, some of which were “thank you”, others “see you soon” and others still “let me connect you with people I believe can help you”. And who knows where other connections I made will go. There were many stories of people meeting several years ago at Opportunity Collaboration and now they are working together.
Opportunity Collaboration is an unconference about continuing to build a strong and resilient social impact sector through relationships. Like good wine, it takes time.
From the Desk of Pamela Roussos, Director of Strategic Alliances
Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013
The CSTS October Newsletter is out!
This Month's topics include the GSBI Accelerator, Alumni in the News, and Opportunity Collaboration.
Read and download the PDF here
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
Even though it has been over three months since I returned from my Global Social Benefit Fellowship placement in Zambia, I still have not processed all that I learned.
When we were told about the roundtable presentations, we chose a theme and were charged with presenting cross cutting themes of social entrepreneurship based on our experiences in the field. We were put in teams of 3-4 fellows with the rule being that none of our roundtable members could have been part of the same fellowship placement.
The Sunday before our presentation, Emily (Solar Sister/Angaza Design in Uganda), Phil (Anudip/Imerit in India), and I gathered sluggishly in a conference room. Our title was “Clean Energy: Unlocking Economic Potential”, but aside from that, we had nothing. The three of us had been in three different countries, with three different enterprises, conducting research in three very different areas. Yet there we were trying to string together our experiences into a coherent presentation with cross cutting themes, all while trying to remain interesting and engaging.
The first few hours of preparation was a cycle of thinking we had gotten somewhere only to realize that we were wrong about something and had to start back from square one. Pacing back and forth, slowly but surely, however, we began to cover all of the whiteboards in a colorful splattering of words, arrows, questions, and comments. Little by little, with the help of many cups of tea and some much needed Thai food, we began to piece together what we thought would be a suitable presentation. We then wrote down a list of open ended questions and tacked them on to the end of the presentation.
When the day of the presentation rolled around, I was apprehensive about what was going to happen. I was worried that we would sound disjointed and fail to get to the level that was expected. As we began rolling however, I became more comfortable and realized that we didn’t in fact sound too bad. At the end of our presentation, we entered into a discussion with the audience, posing the open ended questions that we had written down. This led to an exciting debate about the usefulness of the social entrepreneurship in addressing the needs of off grid communities. I came to realize that we had in fact, learned quite a lot from our many hours locked in the conference room. Not only did each of us have some experience that was relevant to the topic, but we were able to articulate it in such a way as to broaden one another’s understanding of this theme.
After watching the second round table presentation from three other fellows, the fact that we had all learned so much from our placements became even more apparent. Despite our wildly different experiences in the field, through a few hours of serious discussion, we were able to come together and generate some very interesting questions and theories.
Again, even though it has been three months, I am still learning from my experiences, and I can say that I am very grateful to have 13 other fellows whose experiences I can learn from as well.
Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013
Arriving in India was a sensory overload. It has hot. The food was spicy. I couldn’t understand the language and it was a twelve and a half hour time difference.
Even with extensive preparations through the Global Social Benefit Fellowship, it was hard to process all the experiences we were emerged in daily. Utilizing my film background, I worked with sister enterprises Anudip and iMerit, who focus on rural education and job placement in Eastern India, documenting their methods, processes, and social impact. I regularly took three to four hours trains rides to rural villages to film interviews with both the employees and students of the sister organizations.
The excursions were enlivening, eye-opening, and my favorite part of my trip providing a true insights into life in rural India. My fellow fellows and I sifted through a lot this information through discussion and blogs over the summer, but the Social Entrepreneurship Action Research Roundtables (SEARR) gave us another opportunity to analyze our time abroad in a more discussion-based manner.
Our mentors and teachers, Thane Kreiner and Keith Warner, helped fashion us into groups for the roundtables with each team focusing on a different aspect of Social Entrepreneurship. I teamed up with Emily Albi, who worked in Uganda with Solar Sister and Angaza Design, and Jack Bird, who worked with Lifeline Energy in Zambia. As Jack and Emily are very passionate about energy poverty, we decided to center our roundtable on the idea of clean energy in developing nations. While I personally had not dealt with clean energy while working in India with Anudip and iMerit, Jack and Emily were experts on it. After a brief consultation we came up with our name, “Clean Energy: Unlocking Economic Potential,” and we were off.
The Sunday before our presentation Jack, Emily, and I found our way in to a conference room, opened our laptops and our minds and began to talk, think, discuss, and debate clean energy in the developing world. In setting up the lecture, we decided to play to our strengths. Jack and Emily focused on explaining the idea of energy and the power sustainable energy has as a catalyst for change, while I talked about how energy access in rural areas allowed Anudip and iMerit, the companies I worked for, to enact their business strategy and help rural poor transform their lives.
After Jack, Emily and I spoke, we planned to open it up to discussion with the audience. This was the part I was most nervous for, relying on audience participation to fuel discussion always makes me nervous because there is no way to predict what might be said or if anything will be said at all. We posed two main questions to the audience, “What defines an energy Social Enterprise?” and, “Does holding Social Enterprises to a triple bottom line hinder their growth and impact?”
With the first question we hoped to provoke discussion by debating whether PG&E could be considered a social enterprise as they provide energy to ‘underserved’ populations in rural areas. In the second question, we speculated whether clean energy was unlocking potential, or actually undermining potential by restraining scalability in order to keep the enterprise environmentally sustainable.
The answers for the spectators were phenomenal putting all my fears to rest. The audience was passionate, engaged and voiced defenses of both sides of the issue. The excited discussion and connection of the audience turned our lecture on clean energy into a true roundtable.
The Social Entrepreneurship Action Research Roundtables were a fantastic opportunity for my fellows and I to organize all the knowledge we had gained while abroad in our respective placements, draw some conclusions, and compare perspectives on key issues. It allowed us voice the experiences we had, and apply them to the materiel we learned developing out action research projects.
Moreover, the talks helped raise awareness of the fellowship as it ends its second placement and begins to recruit a third class. Hopefully, you attended one, but if you didn't keep an eye out for the talks next year with the next installment of Global Social Benefit Fellows.