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Center for Science, Technology, and Society, News page

  •  Unlocking the Hero Within

    Thursday, Jun. 6, 2013
    Masked vigilantes. Caped crusaders. Costumed crime fighters.
     
     
    Every summer, millions of moviegoers flock to crowded multiplexes across the globe to see the latest hero don a really cool costume and venture out into the night to save the world. The notion of heroes has always been linked to individuals who possess superhuman abilities and use their powers to protect humanity against supervillains and evil enterprises. After being thoroughly entertained for a couple of hours, the story ends and we exit the world of “make believe” into the harsh realities of the real world. However, in our 21st century world, danger still exists.
     
    You don’t have to be a character in a Hollywood script to save the world. Take a look at Amanda North, who recently reunited with a Boston bombing survivor, Erika Brannock as shown on AC360. I’m sure Amanda would never call herself “a hero,” but her actions in Boston, as well her role within the Jesuit University in Silicon Valley tell the whole story.
     
    Amanda’s passion for social justice and creating a more just and humane world, is why she decided to join the GSBI™ as a mentor – a critically acclaimed social entrepreneurship accelerator program at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. In a recent conversation at the Center, Amanda shared about how much she loves growing things and getting to the heart of why things matter. She enjoys working with social entrepreneurs because they build products and services that have an immediate impact on the lives of people who need them most. Very humble and non-intimidating, Amanda has a natural essence that engages people in a way that they feel they are a part of a greater human story. Just ask Erika Brannock, who says Amanda saved her life. In response, Amanda modestly says, “I felt like there was a reason why I was there. I just felt this compulsion to go over to you…”
     
    It is this same compulsion to act and do something that drives Amanda in her hands-on work with the Center. The Center follows a simple strategy in its mission to benefit the lives of 1 billion of the world’s poor by 2020: Help social entrepreneurs help more people. It’s simple, but powerful in scope and vision.  The vision works because it constantly seeks out entrepreneurs who are inspired to dream big, to build something of great value, and who are motivated to get the training and discipline necessary to impact the greater good.
     
    We are proud of Amanda North, and mentors like her who work closely with entrepreneurs that venture out into sweltering hot days and feverishly cold nights tackling everyday problems that face people living in persistent poverty. GSBI Mentors are more than teachers and guides; they are heroes who encourage us to rise to the challenge and do something.
  •  Social Finance 2.0: Fundraising and Innovations Workbench

    Thursday, May. 16, 2013

    What is the future of innovation? How can we successfully integrate investments in sustainability and social change?

    About the class

    It is time to become social entrepreneurs 2.0. The social sector has matured enough to provide valuable lessons to today’s social entrepreneurs. There have been enough like you to teach what worked, what didn’t and why. It’s time for the next generation to go to school on this. As you prepare your companies for financing, you must understand new tools for financing, what investors are looking for, and how the continuing evolution of social finance effects the way you design, build, and operate. John Kohler brings three decades of experience in venture capital and entrepreneurship to the social sector.

    HUB San Francisco 
    901 Mission Street 
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM (PDT)

    Register Now:

    In this class you’ll cover:

    Equity vs. Grants – what was wrong with the binary

    New Instruments – what types of financing are available and in development including Demand Dividend

    Understanding ambitions to scale: community scale or global scale companies and impact on financing considerations

    Understanding the promise you make to investors: what is it, and how will you make it worth their while?

     

    About John Kohler

    Executive Fellow – Center for Science, Technology and Society

    Santa Clara University

    Co-founder – Toniic

    jkohler(at)scu.edu

    For the past several years, John has been a mentor to Social Entrepreneurs at the Global Social Benefit Incubator and now also serves as an Executive Fellow and Director of Social Capital at Santa Clara’s Center for Science, Technology and Society. Last year he co-authored a report on impact investing entitled Coordinating Impact Capital: a New Approach to Investing in Small and Growing Businesses. In addition, he is one of the founders of Toniic, a syndication network of impact investors. Outside of this, John manages technology investments through Redleaf Venture Management. He has been heavily involved in technology product formation and has been concentrating on Internet and Life Science startups since 1994. John’s background includes twenty years of executive level positions at technology corporations including Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics and Convergent Technologies and Unisys. He was one of the founding executives at Netscape Communications. John is currently on the board of Redleaf Group, chairman of the board at LucidMedia, and serves as a board member at PACT, an NGO based in Washington D.C. He previously led investments at AdRelevance (JMXI), Mosaic Communications (TWX), NetGravity (DCLK), RedCreek Communications (SNWL), and Wireless Online. John is a managing member of the UCLA Venture Capital Fund and serves on the UCLA Sciences Board of Visitors. John received his bachelor’s degree in international economics from UCLA and completed executive programs at Wharton and Stanford business schools. He also serves on advisory committees at CSTS, the UN Foundation, and HUB Ventures. He is a nationally accredited soccer coach, an avid skier, sailor, and a member of the Santa Cruz Yacht Club.

     

    Register at eventbrite today:

  •  Head of the Class:The Global Social Benefit Incubator Announces 2013 Social Enterprise Recipients

    Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013

     

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 4, 2013 —When pressing social problems and innovative entrepreneurs collide, dramatic change in the humanitarian landscape is possible. That’s exactly what is happening at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS), which today announces the latest group of 15 social enterprises chosen to receive training through its signature Global Social Benefit Incubator or GSBI™.
     
    The newly named GSBI Accelerator program has been revamped to focus on investment-ready social enterprises that have the potential to vastly increase their impact on the lives of the poor—as CSTS strives to improve the lives of 1 billion by 2020. This year’s cohort of 14 was selected through a competitive process that began last November.
     
    "As the GSBI enters its eleventh year, we have intensified our focus on helping successful social enterprises scale,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the CSTS. “The 2013 GSBI Accelerator will develop, train, and guide investment-ready social enterprises to rapidly expand their reach." 
     
    "As a long-time GSBI mentor, I have worked with hundreds of social enterprises over the last decade. This is unequivocally the most accomplished cohort I have ever seen,” said Paul Meissner, Ph.D., senior director of the GSBI. “Their momentum reflects how quickly social entrepreneurship is expanding, and how many millions of lives can be impacted by their work."
     
    Leaders from 14 enterprises have been selected to take part in the eight-month GSBI Accelerator program, beginning in April and ending in December 2013. Participants will receive mentoring from top-level Silicon Valley executive experts, highly specialized instruction, and intense on-campus education. For the first time this year, the social enterprises are being directly monitored by an elite group of interested funders, the GSBI Impact Investing Partners. While not necessarily committing to funding the ventures, the partners will help participants evaluate their organizations from a funding perspective.
    The in-residence portion of the program will take place August 15–23 at Santa Clara University, culminating in a networking event with the impact investors. The GSBI Impact Investing Partners include: Accion, Acumen Fund, Bamboo Finance, Beyond Capital Fund, The Eleos Foundation, Emcor Securities, Grassroots Business Fund, Halloran Philanthropies, Hub Ventures, Invested Development, Khosla Impact Fund, KL Felicitas, Skoll Foundation, Toniic, and Village Capital.
    This year’s GSBI class members are building businesses including ­“biodigester systems” that help small farmers treat animal waste and convert it into powerful organic fertilizer and methane-rich biogas for cooking and heating; “100-percent biomass waste gasification” to generate electricity and distribute power to rural households; water pumps that run on solar power; two-way, on-demand mobile platforms that teach reading and writing skills to poor families; low-cost, pre-paid electricity meters that enable the extension of renewable energy to global communities living off-the-grid, and many more.
     
    In addition to launching this year’s GSBI Accelerator, the CSTS joined with longtime GSBI sponsor Applied Materials last year to make a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to support 18 clean energy social enterprises over the next three years. Including this year’s GSBI Accelerator class and the related online program, GSBI Online, the partners have already reached 15 clean energy enterprises.
     
    “We want to thank Applied Materials for its ongoing support of the Center and GSBI,” said Meissner. “We are also delighted that eBay Foundation is sponsoring four enterprises in this year’s cohort: AVANI, Drishtee Development and Communication Ltd., Juhudi Kilimo, and Kinara Capital.”
     
    For more details about the program and the 2013 GSBI class, visit the Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s website at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/.
     
    About the GSBI
    The GSBI is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. The mission of the Center is to accelerate global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. The GSBI empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations and solve problems for people living in poverty around the world. For over a decade, the GSBI has helped mission-driven enterprises build, sustain, and increase the reach and impact of their businesses. The GSBI is currently funded in part by a grant from the Skoll Foundation, corporate gifts from Applied Materials, and generous support from individual donors.
     
    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 
    www.scu.edu.
     
    Media Contacts:
    Beverly Nuako | Marketing Manager | 408-551-6048 | bnuako@scu.edu
    Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | 408-554-5121 |
    dlohse@scu.edu

     

  •  Video: A Vision to Accelerate Economic Growth

    Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013

    Quality livelihoods depend on access to energy.  Paul Meissner, Ph.D., GSBITM director, is joined by leading social entrepreneurs in clean energy to share findings from the Center’s recent field research. We will also unveil the latest edition of the Energy Map and our vision of the potential for innovative technical and business approaches to distributed energy.

    This new approach is informed by over 10 years of experience, with more than 170 social enterprises that have impacted the lives of over 80 million people.  As practitioners on a global scale, we predict that a convergence of technology and business model innovations will disrupt how off-grid energy is produced, distributed, and financed in the next 10 years.

  •  SAID Conference 2013 Features GSBI Alumni

    Monday, Feb. 25, 2013

    Come hear GSBI Online alumni Gemma Bulos with the Global Women's Water Initiative speak about "Maximizing Potential through Entrepreneurship and Education" at The Stanford Association for International Development's.

    Where: Stanford University

    When: Sat. March 2nd

    Sign Up: http://bit.ly/WeEVD8

  •  When Worlds Collide: Platform Technologies for Social Benefit

    Friday, Feb. 8, 2013

     

    Executive Director Thane Kreiner predicts “… in the next 10 years, the convergence of technology and business model innovations could disrupt how energy is produced, distributed, and priced – not just in the frontier markets of the developing world, but also in the developed world.”

    To read the article, click Here.

  •  Celebrating Holiday Cheer and Impact Investing

    Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

    Earlier this week the Center was delighted to host a holiday reception to celebrate the accomplishments of the last year, like the graduation of several GSBI Online cohorts, and the first year of our GSB Fellowship program.

    The main event of the evening was John Kohler's presentation of his new research proposal for a demand-dividend investment vehicle for impact investing.

    The Demand-Dividend project work will include final financing model design, a regression analysis on existing enterprises, and the creation of flexible term sheets.  The Argidius grant will fund the field-oriented phase - preparing to test the new financing model with between four and six enterprises beginning in early 2013.  Planning and initial diligence visits will occur in the autumn of this year.

     

    Two years ago we launched a dedicated Impact Capital initiative with the aim of preparing social enterprises to move beyond philanthropic grants to attract private investment capital.  Early work culminated with the release of a white paper, Coordinating Impact Capital in the summer of 2011.
     
    You can read more about the demand-dividend project in our press release.

     

  •  Finding myself in the Solar Revolution of Uganda

    Friday, Dec. 7, 2012

    Our own GSB Fellow, Kirsten Petersen, has been updating her blog on her experience working with GSBI Alumni, Solar Sister in Uganda. Her latest article "Finding myself in the Solar Revolution of Uganda" touches on her unique perspecitve as an up and coming Masters engineering student looking at distrubuted power in developing countries admidst her passion in solar photovoltaic and how the two can mix together for an amazing future career! 

    Click here to read the article. 

    Kirsten in Uganda

     

  •  There's More To Fighting Poverty Than Writing Big Checks And Claiming Tax Deductions

    Monday, Dec. 3, 2012

    Our Executive Director Thane Kreiner, was recently featured on Forbes.com in an article by Janet Novack. Here's a taste, "An onslaught of designated shopping days— Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday—have assaulted our senses, urgently urging us to buy gifts for all of the special people in our lives. Here in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s easy to pine for the iPad Mini, that 55-inch flatscreen TV, or the latest Kindle. In this season, it’s easy to forget that nearly 4 billion people on our planet live in poverty, on a daily average of less than the cost of one Starbucks specialty coffee."

    You can read the rest of the article on Forbes.com by clicking here.

  •  Santa Clara University Welcomes Applications from Investment-Ready Social Enterprises to Attend GSBI Silicon Valley Training and Mentoring Program

    Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012— Applications are now open for Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), an 11-year-old program that helps social entrepreneurs create greater impact in their poverty-alleviating missions.

    This year, the program has been renamed GSBI Silicon Valley and revamped to focus on later-stage, investment-ready organizations with potential to reach significant scale. Up to 15 accepted enterprises will receive eight months of mentoring from Silicon Valley veterans, 10 days of intensive, on-campus education, and — for the first time this year — will be paired with at least one interested funding partner.

    GSBI Silicon Valley 2013 is seeking applications from proven social enterprises — those that have been able to reach large numbers of beneficiaries. Those selected will utilize their eight months in GSBI to develop skills and martial resources to achieve operational excellence and attract financing that enables rapid, effective expansion of impact. Qualifying criteria for applicants can be found on the GSBI website.

    GSBI Silicon Valley 2013 applications must be completed fully by Jan. 11, 2013. Ten to 15 successful applicants will be awarded scholarships valued at $25,000 each; the in-residence portion at Santa Clara University is scheduled for Aug. 15 to 23, 2013.

    The intensified focus reflects the GSBI’s goal of positively impacting one billion people living in poverty by 2020. The program’s new curriculum focuses on achieving significant scale, so alumni of GSBI are also encouraged to apply.

    “Last year, we launched GSBI Online in collaboration with the World Bank Development Marketplace to provide earlier-stage social enterprises the core training we’ve always provided through GSBI — establishing a business model, identifying a target market, and crafting distribution plans,” said Eric Carlson, Ph.D., director of the GSBI. “Now, to maximize the impact of our intensive GSBI mentoring and structured curriculum, we’re focusing on social enterprises with the greatest potential to lift vast numbers of people from poverty, and attract impact investors in the process.”

    Connecting Impact Investors to Build Stronger Enterprises

    Each participating enterprise in the 2013 cohort will be matched with one of the GSBI’s Impact Investment Partners. GSBI’s impact investor partners include AccionAcumen Fund, Beyond Capital Fund,The Eleos FoundationInvested Development, and Hub Ventures, among others.

    “Impact investors seek a more investment-ready pipeline of social enterprises,” said John Kohler, director of impact capital at the Center. “GSBI Silicon Valley will help social enterprises prepare for and find capital to support scaling of their enterprises.”

    GSBI Silicon Valley 2013

    Over the past 10 years, the GSBI has built an impressive network ofalumni, mentors, and other resources, all of which will be available to GSBI Silicon Valley 2013 participants. As in past years, the program will comprise four processes, which will be more advanced and customized: Application, pre-work, in-residence, and implementation.

    “GSBI has traditionally and successfully focused on fundamental business-model development,” said GSBI Program Manager Cassandra Thomassin. “GSBI Silicon Valley intensifies the focus on operational excellence to attract investments that expand already-proven business models.”

    Applicants must provide a recorded elevator pitch; a business plan; a one-year operating plan; and financial statements. Applicants will be evaluated based on a scoring matrix that includes: strength of mission, financial sustainability, potential for scale, potential for social impact, management capacity, and business model efficacy.

    Social enterprises focused on off-grid clean energy, health, and mobile applications for any sector are especially encouraged to apply.

    Top applicants will be interviewed in March 2013 and participants announced by early April. Each social enterprise will then be partnered online with two or three GSBI mentors to complete tailored pre-work exercises.

    About the GSBI
    The GSBI is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. The mission of the Center is to accelerate global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. For a decade, the GSBI has helped mission-driven enterprises build, sustain, and increase the reach and impact of their businesses. Collectively, alumni of the program have provided essential products and services to an estimated 74 million underserved people worldwide. More than 90 percent of the organizations are still operating. It is currently funded in part by a grant from the Skoll Foundation, corporate gifts from Applied Materials, and individual donors. For more information, visitwww.scu.edu/socialbenefit.

    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 www.scu.edu.

    Media Contacts
    Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu |            408-554-5121      
    Erin Berkenmeier | GSBI Marketing Manager | eberkenmeier@scu.edu |             408-551-6048      

 


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