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  •  Impact Capital at the Vatican

    Wednesday, Apr. 2, 2014

    The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, in collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and the Mendoza College of Business, University of Notre Dame is hosting a two-day, invitation-only symposium. The Center's Director of Impact Capital, John Kohler, was one of the select few invited to discuss the topic of  "Investing for the Poor: How Impact Investing Can Serve the Common Good in the Light of Evangelii Gaudium."

    The conference is an opportunity to learn core concepts of impact investing and how it aligns with the Catholic Church's mission. The goal is to discern how the Church might use or promote impact investing to serve the poor. Several global leaders in the impact investing field from business, government, academia, and philanthropy will be in attendance.  The conference may even have an audience with Pope Francis himself. 
  •  Impact Capital in Nicaragua

    Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014

    Impact Capital program has been moving forward with expanding financial access for social entrepreneurs. As part of an Argidius Foundation grant, we have been developing and promoting the Demand Dividend vehicle.

    Recently, we have been working closely with a group in Nicaragua: Enclude, Agora Partnerships, and a local bank, BAC Nicaragua. Led by Enclude, they have developed a variant of the Demand Dividend. The bank, in conjunction with impact investors, will form a trust to issue loans to local enterprises based on the Demand Dividend structure.

    Access to bank lending for small and growing businesses in many Central American countries is difficult, since extensive collateral is required. The BAC program will lend based primarily on cash flow criteria. Access to capital is doubly difficult for women, and the trust will focus on female-led or owned businesses.

    Development of the BAC program is underway; the group is currently writing the legal documents for the trust.

    We are extremely excited about the potential for the program to expand financial inclusion, not only in Nicaragua, but in additional countries and impact sectors.

  •  Congratulations John Kohler, ANDE Member of the Year!

    Monday, Oct. 7, 2013

     It takes a lot to make a grown man blush.

    Yet, the cheeks of John Kohler, Director of our Impact Capital Program, flushed red when the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) honored him as Member of the Year at their annual conference.

    John thought he was going to give a talk on his ground-breaking Demand Dividend, an innovative investment tool designed to accelerate investment in enterprises serving the world's poorest village communities.

    He simply didn’t see it coming.

    “Well, the award was a surprise! Since ANDE is such a big tent covering all aspects of impact, this is a huge honor. It is peer recognition from a community of practitioners that I care deeply about. It’s just fabulous. I couldn’t be more honored.”

    John is one of the brightest stars of the impact sector. He brings over 30 years’ experience to the Center, gained from his executive leadership at Hewlett Packard, Silicon Graphics, and Convergent Technologies/Unisys and his extensive venture experience. John provides guidance as a mentor and impact advisor to the social entrepreneurs of the GSBI Accelerator and GSBI online community. 

    Congratulations, John! We are happy to have you!


  •  CSTS September Newsletter

    Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013

    Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®

    Evolution and Adaptation of the Flagship GSBI Yields Promising Results

    As part of its vision to positively impact the lives of 1 billion of the world’s poor by 2020, the Center is successfully experimenting with ways to scale social benefit more


    GSBI Accelerator Showcase Videos Now Available

    Meet 12 social entrepreneurs who are shape shifting the scaling and impact investment environment.
    Watch the Videos

    2014 GSBI Accelerator Applications Open Through October 31, 2013

    Social entrepreneurs – the GSBI Accelerator can help prepare your venture to scale its impact and be ready for the investor due diligence. 
    Impact investors – maximize social and financial returns by encouraging your portfolio ventures to participate in our capacity development program.  
    Apply Now

    GSBI Online 2013 Fall Cohort Welcomes 15 Organizations

    With a focus on clean energy solutions, this cohort includes organizations serving populations in Haiti, India, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Uganda, and the United States. 
    Fall 2013 GSBI more

    GSBI Alumni News – A Snapshot of Our World

    - Promethean Power:  Full Cream Ahead!
    - Juhudi Kilimo: only social enterprise to win CIO 100 Global Award!
    - Husk Power Systems featured in Obama’s Power Africa Initiative!

    - Manoj Sinha CEO of Husk Power Systems on his Accelerator Experience 

    GSBI Alumni: have any news or enterprise updates? let us know by emailing 

    Of Note

    Demand Dividend Builds Momentum In Impact Investment Space
    Looking for an investment vehicle optimized for small and growing businesses in frontier markets? Check out the Demand Dividend and generate your own term sheet.

    Special Issue on Social Entreprenuership

    A special issue of The Journal of Management for Global Sustainability edited by Thane Kreiner is devoted to the notion of social entrepreneurship as practical social justice and is now available online

    Accelerating Adoption of Off-Grid Energy

    Based on its work with more than 60 social enterprises addressing energy poverty, the Center posits that matching off-grid energy sources to productive use will accelerate economic development by creating sustainable livelihoods in poor rural and urban communities...Read more
    BOP Summit October 21-23

    BOP SUMMIT: Creating an Action Agenda for the Next Decade 

    200 leaders will meet at the William Davidson Institute to develop a robust roadmap for building better BoP enterprises October 21-23. Executive Director Thane Kreiner and Founding Executive Director Jim Koch will represent the Center and its GSBI and impact investing programs. 
    BOP Summit October 21-23

    Experienced CEO Pamela Roussos Named Strategic Alliances Director 

    "Having been a GSBI mentor for 5 years, I’ve been very impressed with how this organization has grown and truly established itself as a leader in the social entrepreneurship and impact capital space.” Read Pamela's bio here

    SOCAP Recap

    The Center Shines at SOCAP13
    The Center reinforced its position as a thought leader and practitioner in social enterprise. Read about our role in mentoring entrepreneurs and advancing impact more

    Read blog entries from workshop panel organizers John Kohler, Thane Kreiner, and Andy Lieberman

    AT A GLANCE: GSBI Statistics 

     •    202 enterprises have completed GSBI programs
     •    Nearly 100 million people’s lives have been positively impacted* by these
     •    40% of the enterprises are scaling, meaning that impact is growing in
          a financially sustainable manner

    •     This scaling rate is more than three times that of conventional
          for-profit ventures
     •    $89 million of funding has been raised by enterprises post-GSBI programs
     •    90% of GSBI alumni are still in business

    *Social impact is challenging to measure, especially since GSBI alumni impact lives in many different ways. As part of their participation in GSBI, entrepreneurs identify a metric for tracking the number of lives their venture positively impacts, such as number of people with clean drinking water or number of people using clean cookstoves.  The impact of each enterprise is displayed on its alumni profile.


    Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013


    In The Power of Unreasonable People, John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan articulate what makes social entrepreneurs seem so unreasonable, including: a drive to transform dysfunctional systems; insane ambition; enormous emotion that fuels them; the ability to see the future, and create it; and incorporation of social benefit into the value equation. They quote Muhammad Yunus, “the future of the world lies in the hands of market-based social entrepreneurs.” Many of us who are working to help social entrepreneurs overcome barriers that appear insurmountable endorse this future.

    It is evident, however, that social entrepreneurs often face challenges far beyond the complexities of launching a Silicon Valley venture. What drives social entrepreneurs to pursue these unreasonable endeavors, to imagine the impossible, and to make their dreams real? Viktor Frankl quotes Nietzsche in his landmark memoir Man’s Search For Meaning, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

    “Why?” is thus a fundamental vocational discernment question for social entrepreneurs, and by extension, for impact investors and other stakeholders in the broader social enterprise ecosystem.

    Santa Clara University, in the heart of Silicon Valley, fashions future leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. The Jesuit tradition in which Santa Clara’s educational paradigm is rooted emphasizes “men and women for others” and a “preferential option for the poor”; Chris Lowney’s Heroic Leadership articulates four unique values of Jesuits that form the core of what he calls “leadership substance”: self-awareness, ingenuity, love, and heroic ambition. These characteristics aptly describe many social entrepreneurs I know.

    Indeed, every great spiritual and religious tradition is built upon a belief that there is a greater good, or a why, that transcends personal success, wealth, or power. While conceptions of God or gods vary in many dimensions, the universality of helping the poor and living righteously illuminates a core tenet of humanity. More and more, young people today are choosing careers with meaning; meaning is often influenced by individual spirituality. In fact, Time magazine reported in 2007 that Generation Y workers want to “spend their time in meaningful and useful ways.”

    This year, meaning is one of the themes at SOCAP. The track will focus on “the intersection of money and meaning” in both spiritual and non-spiritual terms. We are convening a session entitled Impact Investing and Spiritual Belief:  Breaking the Persistent Cycle of Poverty. Panelists from different spiritual traditions will explore resonance between their faith and vocations in the broader social enterprise and impact investing ecosystem.

    From the Desk of Thane Kreiner
    Executive Director, Center for Science, Technology, and Society

  •  SOCAP in Review

    Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013


    The Center reinforced its position as a thought leader and practitioner in social enterprise. Read about our role in mentoring entrepreneurs and advancing impact capital.

    The eighth Social Capital Markets Conference (SOCAP13) took place earlier this month (Sept 3-6) at Fort Mason in San Francisco.  SOCAP focuses on the space between philanthropy and traditional capital markets. Over the past six years this gathering has grown to be the flagship conference in social investing and draws over 2000 social entrepreneurs, corporations, philanthropists, NGOs, and impact investors who believe you can invest with the goal of making a positive impact, while also making positive financial returns.

    The Center was well represented at SOCAP. We co-hosted a reception with ANDE, Opportunity Collaboration , and the World Bank that drew over 400 attendees and guests. At our booth on the main floor of the conference facility, we promoted GSBI Online, GSBI Accelerator, and our Impact Capital program.

    Most importantly, the Center submitted three panel proposals for the conference, and all three were selected with capacity attendance. John Kohler moderated Impact Investing: Keeping the Investor and Entrepreneur Happy. Thane Kreiner hosted Impact Investing and Spiritual Belief:  Breaking the Cycle of Persistent Poverty; and Andy Lieberman organized Innovation in Capacity Development for Social Enterprises.  Read these and other blogs here.

  •  We Did It! SOCAP 2013 Winners Announced!

    Monday, Aug. 12, 2013

    The Center for Science, Technology, and Society would like to thank all of our supporters who voted for our panels for SOCAP 2013. All three of our panels were accepted out of 128+ submissions! Your efforts helped us make it to the top and we could not have done it without you.

    Santa Clara SOCAP Panels

    For more Information on SOCAP13, please visit

  •  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


    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:

  •  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.


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