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  •  New Partnership Aims to Channel Venture Capital Toward Promising Solutions to World Poverty

    Monday, Jun. 16, 2014

     

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 16, 2014— In 2010, Clínicas del Azúcar was a promising business that was discovering ways to drastically cut the cost of diabetes care for the estimated 12 million residents of Mexico who suffer from the disease. But it wasn’t until three years later, when a syndicate of investors discovered their progress and potential, that they received a crucial $1.3M investment that has enabled Clínicas del Azúcar to triple their beneficiaries, from 1,000 to 3,000. 

    Introducing investment-ready social entrepreneurs, such as Clínicas del Azúcar,  to investors who have experience in the field of “impact investing” is the idea behind a new partnership between Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®), which provides intense training and mentorship for social enterprises around the world, and Toniic LLC, a global network of investors focused on social enterprise.  

    “This partnership will connect a concentrated group of high-potential social entrepreneurs with one of the largest global networks of high-impact investors—channeling venture capital to fund sustainable solutions to our world’s most pressing problems,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS), home of the GSBI.

    At the heart of the agreement is a shared drive to provide those living in poverty with basic human needs, such as affordable clean energy, safe drinking water, quality health care, education, jobs, and economic opportunity.

    The GSBI-Toniic partnership will magnify each organization’s ability to effect meaningful change.  Impact investors are ready to use their resources for social good, but struggle to find investment-ready social enterprises that have a proven business plan, strong management team, and a viable business model.  

    “Doing due diligence on social enterprises thousands of miles away can be costly and lengthy,” notes Stephanie Cohn Rupp, CEO of Toniic. “GSBI provides a significant screen and enhanced quality control for Toniic investors that gives us an extra level of confidence.”

    In its annual program the GSBI Accelerator, high-potential entrepreneurs are offered rigorous training and mentorship to become investment-ready and able to multiply their reach and impact.  GSBI has worked with some of the finest social entrepreneurs operating today, including micro-lender Kiva, Husk Power Systems, and eyeglass provider VisionSpring.

    "Both Toniic and GSBI seek to address the global challenges of deepening poverty and increasing inequality by enabling more impact investors to use their capital to support and scale stronger social businesses. We are excited to partner with GSBI, whose partnership will provide us with high-quality investment opportunities for our global investors." said Toniic’s chief investment officer and head of Asia Pacific, Shalaka Joshi., based in Mumbai.

    The GSBI-Toniic partnership includes plans to create an executive education program for new and seasoned impact investors, as a way of sharing best practices in the sector.  The curriculum is currently in development with philanthropist-education group, The Philanthropy Workshop West, as a co-creator.

    “We are thrilled to team up with Toniic, one of the few  global networks of impact investors, to expand funding options for  our incredible line-up of social entrepreneurs,” said Pamela Roussos, director of strategic alliances at CSTS.   “Toniic is a pool of sophisticated investors with high expectations that matches and elevates our own work.”   

     

    About GSBI

    The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) is a leader in accelerating global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. The GSBI currently offers two capacity development programs to global social entrepreneurs: the GSBI Accelerator, for more advanced social enterprises seeking to scale their business, and GSBI Online, for earlier stage ventures seeking basic business training. Both programs are designed for high engagement between entrepreneurs, mentors and GSBI program staff.  To date, the over 200 social enterprises that completed the GSBI programs have gone on to impact the lives of 100 million people worldwide.

     

    About Toniic

    Toniic is a global network of action-oriented impact investors, both individuals and institutions. We increase the velocity of money and services into impact investing to address global challenges. Our members commit to discover, evaluate, nurture and invest in entrepreneurs, enterprises and funds that promote a just and sustainable economy. www.toniic.com

     

    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

    Jessica Loman | Director, Toniic | Jessica.loman@toniic.com | 804-814-3195

    Jaime Gusching | CSTS | jgusching@scu.edu | 408-554-6048

    Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121

     

     

  •  Women, Nature, and Opportunity in Africa

    Wednesday, Apr. 23, 2014

    BaNaPads demonstrates an inclusive economy

    The transformation of a social problem into an opportunity for mutual benefit is the kernel of social entrepreneurship. One need not look further than BaNaPads (GSBI 2012) to illustrate how social entrepreneurs recognize a social need and create a business with a mission to serve their fellow human beings. As he was finishing up his studies at university, Richard Bbaale learned about the significant social and economic problems caused by the lack of access to women’s sanitary products in Uganda. Many teenage girls miss school days during the menstruation cycle, and this becomes a leading cause of girls failing to complete their studies. The inability to complete school has lifelong consequences, keeping women at an economic and social disadvantage. Most Ugandans are quite poor, and no multinational corporation perceived any opportunity to market these products to them.

    Where others saw problems, Bbaale perceived economic opportunities. He identified an agricultural waste product, the banana stem (technically, a pseudostem) as a free resource. Uganda grows a lot of bananas, and after the fruit are harvested, the banana stalk is chopped down to decompose in the field. Bbaale identified a process for transforming this into different kinds of fibers that are assembled and sterilized into sanitary napkins.

    BaNaPads’ marketing and distribution system is just as innovative and important. Bbaale has recruited BaNaPads Champions: village women – mothers and grandmothers – who sell the sanitary products and foster community education among girls. These micro-entrepreneurs are deeply rooted in village communities, and have the trust of locals. They sell products on consignment, often using local schools as their venue.

    Thus, BaNaPads has been able to keep its costs very low and yet is able to reach and benefit customers very far from the beaten path. At the same time, they provide a modest income for African women villagers.

    When I saw Bbaale give his business plan presentation at GSBI two years ago, I thought: this is very nice, feel-good project, but unlikely to do very much. Later that year, I had the privilege of visiting the BaNaPads facility in Uganda, and came away impressed with the passion, determination, and entrepreneurial approach of Bbaale and his team. He has a bold vision: to scale up significantly and expand to other East African countries. Recent reports indicate he is gaining traction! They have opened a facility in Tanzania and begun operations there, with plans for more.

    In December 2013, Thane Kreiner and Pamela Roussos brought an executive social benefit immersion delegation to visit Bbaale. That night, Thane emailed me and insisted we send Global Social Benefit Fellows to support BaNaPads in their expansion. The enterprise received a grant from the Swedish International Development Agency to scale up their production and expand their networks of BaNaPads Champions. A European investor has expressed interest in funding further expansion.

    This summer, three Global Social Benefit Fellows will spend 7 weeks in Uganda with Bbaale, conducting action research to document how BaNaPads is expanding. BanaPads is replacing their hand machines with an integrated set of biogas-powered production system, and this needs to be analyzed and optimized. The enterprise is scaling up its recruitment and training of village-based micro-entrepreneurs and needs to formalize those processes in a manual. They have demonstrated that demand far outstrips their current capacity, but they are seeking a mobile app that can effectively track their distribution activities. Our fellows will conduct a needs assessment and partner with the Frugal Innovation Lab to recruit engineering students to develop this.

    Women have made good progress toward equal opportunities in the US and Europe over the past fifty years, but many obstacles clutter the path of African women toward equality. Many media reports reinforce Afro-pessimism, the belief that Africa’s problems are unsolvable. Yet Bbaale and BanaPads show us that with entrepreneurial thinking, women can indeed find their place in an inclusive economy.

  •  Sixteen Global Social Entrepreneurs Selected for Pioneering GSBI Accelerator

    Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014

    Sixteen Global Social Entrepreneurs Selected for Santa Clara University’s Pioneering GSBI® Accelerator

    10-month program to advance social enterprises includes August 14-22 in-residence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 14, 2014— Sankara Eye Care Institutions aims to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to millions of rural poor. Eco-fuel Africa converts locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel and organic fertilizers.  Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) develops, manufactures, and distributes durable devices for intensive newborn care for poor communities in Vietnam. 

    These three well-established “social enterprises”— non-profit organizations or for-profit businesses that seek to address social and environmental problems—are among the 16 chosen for the 12th annual Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator program at Santa Clara University. 

    The acclaimed 10-month program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with two experienced, start-up savvy Silicon Valley executives as advisers. The aim is to help the entrepreneurs focus on and solve the largest obstacles keeping their businesses from “scaling,” or reaching more beneficiaries in their home countries or new ones. 

    “This year we received the strongest applicant pool of leading social entrepreneurs to date,” said Cassandra Staff, GSBI’s program director. “This speaks to the value of the GSBI Accelerator program and the impact the program has on preparing mature entrepreneurs for additional investment capital and growth.” 

    Sponsors of the GSBI Accelerator program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials, Skoll Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney. 

    After six months of online work with GSBI staff and two Silicon Valley mentors apiece, the cohort will come to Santa Clara University’s campus Aug. 14 for nine days of intensive training that culminates in an “Investor Showcase” Aug. 21. The showcase has become an inspiring event attended by hundreds of impact investors and others interested in accelerating the work of social entrepreneurs. 

    The 16 organizations in this year’s GSBI class operate in countries across the world including Mexico, South Africa, Jordan, and Vietnam. Among the other members of the GSBI Class of 2014 are: a company that makes biodigesters for small scale farmers in Mexico; a Peruvian employer of unskilled labor, whose workers are delivering data services to international clients; a South African company that teaches disadvantaged youth to be self-directed learners and chart careers; and a Chinese provider of renewable solar energy.

    The list of GSBI mentors can be found at http://www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/mentor.cfm.

    Reporters interested in interviewing any of the entrepreneurs while they are in town or Silicon Valley mentors may contact Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations, dlohse@scu.edu or 408-554-5121. 

    GSBI® Online is a similar program, tailored to early-stage social enterprises, that leverages Silicon Valley acumen and features online modules on business strategy, operational planning, metrics, and financials. Applications are open through Feb. 21 for the next cohort: http://cms.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/

    The follow is a list of 2014 GSBI Accelerator organizations:

    · Buen Manejo del Campo, dba Sistema Biobolsa 

    Sistema Biobolsa revolutionizes small scale agricultural by empowering farmers with high quality, patented biodigester technology, which allows them to convert animal and organic wastes into natural gas and organic fertilizer.  

    http://sistemabiobolsa.com/home/ 

    · Digital Divide Data 

    Digital Divide Data (DDD) is a social enterprise that delivers solutions with impact to meet the data services needs of businesses and institutions worldwide.  DDD pioneered a new model called Impact Sourcing in Cambodia from 2001.  

    http://www.digitaldividedata.org/

    · Eco-fuel Africa Limited 

    Eco-fuel Africa empowers communities in Africa to use tailor-made technology to convert locally sourced farm and municipal waste into clean cooking fuel (green charcoal) and organic fertilizers (biochar). This slows the rate of deforestation, reduces indoor air pollution, improves educational opportunities among girls and women by eliminating the need to search for wood, and reduces malnutrition by providing farmers with organic fertilizers.

    http://ecofuelafrica.com/

    · Ecofogão Ltda

    Ecofogão is a woodstove manufacturer, which introduced the innovative concept of ecological clean and efficient stoves to the Brazilian market in 2004. Ecofogão was mainly created to serve low income market that depends on woodstoves for daily cooking, but also has taken advantage of the middle class market that uses woodstoves for recreation purposes.  Ecofogão now wants to scale up toward the larger low income market of the northeastern Brazil.

    http://www.ecofogao.com.br/

    · Esoko

    Esoko is Africa’s leading communication platform for the agriculture sector, with a range of mobile based solutions, and serving a diverse array of partners in 10 countries.

    http://www.esoko.com/

    · IkamvaYouth 

    IkamvaYouth enables disadvantaged South African youth to pull themselves and each other out of poverty through education. The core program is the provision of after-school tutoring support to self-selected learners in grades 8 to 12 three times a week. This results in an actively engaged self-directed learner.  

    http://ikamvayouth.org/

    · iKure Techsoft Private Limited 

    iKure is establishing a chain of Rural Health Centers using innovative technology. Patients receive quality primary healthcare in their community, including doctor consultation, medicine, and basic check-ups. In case of any secondary or tertiary care, the patients are connected seamlessly to hub hospitals using proprietary software.

    http://www.ikuretechsoft.com/

    · JITA Social Business Bangladesh Limited 

    JITA Bangladesh is a joint venture of CARE International & Danone Communities dedicated to empowering women through a network of enterprises to create employment opportunities and improve access to markets for BOP consumers.

    http://jitabangladesh.com/

    · Komaza 

    Komaza is an agro-forestry company working to provide African dry land farmers with planting inputs, training and maintenance services, and processing-sales support. The goals are to cultivate a life-changing income for farmers, curb rampant deforestation, and earn investor returns.

    http://komaza.org/

    · Mali Biocarburant SA (MBSA) 

    Biofuel Mali SA (MBSA) is the first company producing biodiesel in West Africa. It is a private company that makes farmers shareholders in the company. By producing, processing and marketing biodiesel locally, Mali Biofuel SA contributes to the development of the local economy.

    http://www.malibiocarburant.com/malibio/

    · Medical Technology Transfer and Services (MTTS) 

    MTTS is a social enterprise that develops, manufactures, and distributes intensive newborn care medical devices, specifically designed for the needs of low-resource countries. They exist to ensure that all children, irrespectively of the place of birth, have the chance of a healthy upbringing.

    http://www.mtts-asia.com/

    · One Earth Group Ltd. (Brand Name: One Earth Designs) 

    One Earth Designs creates clean, sharable energy. They began by working alongside nomads in the Himalayas, where they developed 54 solar cooker designs to combat fuel scarcity and household air pollution. Now, their R&D portfolio includes collaborations with governments and corporations to develop renewable energy solutions with the potential to improve living standards. 

    http://www.oneearthdesigns.com/ 

    · Prospera 

    Prospera empowers female-led micro businesses and connects them to conscious citizens and consumers looking to create a more equal and engaged society. 

    http://www.prosperando.org

    · Sankara Eye Care Institutions 

    Sankara Eye Care Institutions through its network of hospitals across India is one of the largest communities of eye care providers in the country. Sankara’s mission is to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to the millions of rural poor through a strong service oriented team. 

    www.sankaraeye.com

    · SMEFunds 

    SMEFunds produces a proven, cleaner, and lower-cost alternative to dangerous cooking fuels in Africa that can also be sold as transport fuel at economies of scale.

    http://www.smefunds.com/

    · World Wide Hearing 

    World Wide Hearing Foundation International is a non-profit organization that provides access to affordable, high quality hearing aids to children and youth with hearing loss in developing countries. Their goal is to empower people with hearing loss so that they can realize their full potential.

    http://www.wwhearing.org/

    The GSBI program is unique for several reasons: 

    *The program has built up a strong group of nearly 70 Silicon Valley mentors who are CEOs, venture capitalists, marketing experts, experts in solar or other forms of alternative energy, and other seasoned executives who find it rewarding to work with social entrepreneurs free of charge, as a way of paying it forward.  Some of them have volunteered at the GSBI for 10 years or more. 

    *While many university-based social entrepreneurship programs seek to help their own students become social entrepreneurs, the GSBI Accelerator helps entrepreneurs who are on the ground around the world helping communities. 

    *Undergraduate students leverage the relationships with the social entrepreneurs through research fellowships in countries like Brazil, India, Nepal, Uganda, and Paraguay. 

    *The GSBI has spawned the GSBI Network, composed of mission-aligned universities and programs around the globe that work directly with on-the-ground social enterprises.

    *Earlier stage social enterprises learn the tenets of the GSBI methodology through an online-only version, GSBI Online. Through web modules and video conferencing, participants receive guidance from their Silicon Valley mentors, as well as mentors in their home regions. 

    A Billion Lives 

    It is the ambitious goal of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society — home to GSBI— to positively impact the lives of a billion people by 2020, by catalyzing the growth of social enterprises who provide the poor with affordable life-saving or life-enhancing products; new jobs or livelihoods; or information and tools to help themselves. 

    “Our GSBI Accelerator, Online, and Network programs could enable social entrepreneurs to collectively improve the lives of up to one-fourth of the global poor,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Center. “Our Global Social Benefit Fellows program is creating the next generation of ‘changemakers’: it provides SCU undergraduates transformative social justice learning experiences through practical action research projects with GSBI Alumni social entrepreneurs.” 

    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

    Jaime Gusching, CSTS Marketing Manager, jgusching@scu.edu, 408-551-6048

     
  •  To Distribute or Not To Distribute, That is the Question!

    Monday, Jan. 13, 2014

     At the Center we provide business model centric training to our social entrepreneurs (SEs).  One element of a business model is sales and distribution.  Even in Silicon Valley, with companies working in well established markets, I’ve seen companies struggle with this one.  Do we sell direct?  Indirect? Inside sales? Outside sales?  And as a startup you can’t invest in all of them at once.  How do you pick which one is first and then the phasing of additional ones?  Our SEs struggle with the same questions.  We have seen many solar lighting and clean cookstove companies come through GSBI.  They wrestle with the question of are we a design/manufacturing only company?  Design and distribution?  It is easy to quickly think about distribution because how else are you going to get product out?  And you have the illusion of being “in control” of the sales situation.  But let me tell you, distribution in frontier markets is HARD.  

    In our recent trip to Kenya and Uganda we visited two GSBI alumni working to solve the distribution issue, Livelyhoods and Solar Sisters.  Both organizations are distributing solar lighting and clean cookstoves, some of whom are also GSBI alumni such as Angaza.  

    Livelyhoods is focused in urban slums using youth they train and Solar Sisters is focused in rural areas using women they train.  Both organizations have learned a lot in the years they have been in existence.  Some of the lessons are obvious like commission rates, keeping sales agents involved, objection handling, normal sales related things.  Others aren’t, e.g. Livelyhoods learned that even though they have a mobile sales force, youth pick up the products they want to sell for the day and walk around their community selling them, they needed to have a physical store to provide credibility.  There are a lot of transients in urban slums, if a prospect bought a product and it didn’t work, where would they go with it? How would they know the sales agent would still be around? I’ve seen this in other developing markets, product quality is so bad that everyone expects things not to work and need to return it.  

    When we went to Kapchorwa, a rural area in northeast Uganda with Solar Sisters, that wasn’t an issue because everyone knew the women selling them product, in fact their customers invited the Solar Sisters microentrepreneur and us into their homes. 

    For a product design/manufacturing company to learn all these sales and distribution lessons, it would be very expensive.  That said, as a former product person, I know the value in “hearing from the customer”.  Getting product feedback is paramount to iterating and continuing to build great products.  

    In our short time of walking around the rural areas of Kapchorwa and going into people’s homes to see the solar products they bought we learned about how the lights were used, and abused by our western standards, but it is the reality on the ground.  For instance, I have two bedside lamps, and that is where they stay, by my bed.  I also have a desk lamp that stays on my desk.  Many of these people had bought one small solar lamp, that was moved around from room to room, being connected and disconnected many times a day.  

    From this we learned two valuable things.  It behooves the product companies to meet with their distributors on a regular basis to get on-the-ground feedback. In this case they would learn that durability of the connectors is very important for the longevity of the lamp. Both Livelyhoods and Solar Sisters said that some companies whose products they sell ask for feedback but it isn’t systematic.  

    Again, wearing my product hat, getting this kind of feedback is critical to product success and it doesn’t cost nearly the same as having boots on the ground. The other thing we realized is there is an opportunity in the market for service repair and Village Energy, who is currently going through GSBI Online, has identified that.  

    We take market systems for granted in the US.  For instance, cars, there are organizations that manufacture, others that sell, others that service, some that sell and service, some that provide financing for them, others that do after-market adjustments, etc....  The reality is that our SEs, working in developing countries, don’t have the luxury of operating in a well-established market system.  Not only do they have the difficult job that every entrepreneur has, creating and building a killer product or service, but they either have to create the market system themselves or find others that are fighting the good fight in frontier markets to partner with.    

     

  •  Immerse Yourself in Learnings from Social Entrepreneurs based in Kenya and Uganda

    Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013


    Thane Kreiner and I led an Executive Immersion program for 7 guests, including our advisory board members, to Kenya and Uganda. We got to see the work on the ground of 8 GSBI alumni from both the Accelerator and Online programs. They included Penda Health, Kopo Kopo, M-Farm, Juhudi Kilimo, Livelyhoods, Solar Sister, BaNaPads and Village Energy.

    Purposefully it was a mix of sectors, and urban and rural. As always when we meet with these incredible, dedicated, passionate social entrepreneurs it was exhilarating and insightful.

    In the next couple blog posts we'll share some of our learnings from the trip to include how to roast coffee to differences between rural and urban distribution.



    ·         Penda Health- provides high-quality, affordable, outpatient healthcare through a chain of health clinics. By 2020 they will operate over 100 clinics across Kenya with millions of happy patients. Penda Health aims to be affordable to everyone in Kenya, including low- and middle-income population.

    ·         Kopo Kopo- is a web based mobile payment platform that enables SME owners to accept mobile money payments. Kopo Kopo aggregates payments from multiple mobile money systems, reflects those payments on an intuitive online dashboard, and automatically posts those payments to a back-office system via a notification API.

    ·         M-Farm- connects smallholder African farmers with urban and export markets via SMS and a web-enabled marketplace. M-Farm negotiates with buyers to create demand and assures quality through its network of agents. This motivates smallholder farmers to move beyond subsistence and into cash crops that can feed Africa and the world.

    ·     Juhudi Kilimo- is changing the way farmers do business. They finance targeted agricultural assets for smallholder farmers and rural enterprises across Kenya. Operating exclusively in very rural areas, Juhudi Kilimo gives smallholder farmers access to the tools they need to scale up and succeed.

    ·         Livelyhoods- taps the power of high potential youth in urban slums two create economic opportunities. They create jobs, give slum consumers access to life-changing products and assist companies to penetrate hard-to-reach markets.

    ·         Solar Sister- eradicates energy poverty by empowering women with economic opportunity. By combining the breakthrough potential of solar technology with an Avon-style direct sales network, Solar Sister brings light, hope, and opportunity to even the most remote communities of rural Africa.

    ·         BaNaPads-  are cost effective sanitary pads made from the processed stems of freely available banana plants. The eco-friendly absorbent material is derived from plant and paper materials and is packaged for monthly distribution to school girls. BaNaPads fabrication centers employ and serve the female residents of the rural communities in Uganda.

    ·         Village Energy- pioneers the local assembly of micro-home solar systems and built distribution infrastructure with rural and peri-urban based entrepreneurs at the center. Their approach to renewable energy is to view solar products as the basis upon which previously non-existent services can be delivered in off-grid communities.

  •  eBay Partners with the Center to Benefit Social Enterprises in Bay Area and around the World

    Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013

    Last week, the Center for Science, Technology, and Society formalized a deeper partnership with the eBay Foundation to scale the impact of high-potential social entrepreneurs through the Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®).


    The eBay Foundation will sponsor two social entrepreneurs in the soon-to-be announced 2014 GSBI Accelerator program as well as 15-20 earlier stage social entrepreneurs in a custom built 2014 GSBI Online cohort. The social entrepreneurs receiving eBay support will be selected for their potential to maximize social impact through increased income generation, access to markets, and local employment. Given eBay's goals, there will be a focus on entrepreneurs from Brazil, India, and China. With hands-on mentorship and a refined curriculum, the Center will take social entrepreneurs to the next level, help them scale their enterprises, and attract funding.


    Additionally, with eBay Foundation’s support, the Center will begin to work with local social enterprises. The Center will pilot a GSBI “Boot Camp” for Bay Area Social Entrepreneurs. This will be comprehensive two-day training for 8-12 social enterprises, which are dedicated to improving the livelihoods of the disadvantaged or underrepresented populations in the Bay Area. The boot camp will help them grow their enterprises in a financially stable and sustainable way.


    More information about these programs will be forthcoming in 2014.
     

  •  GSBI Network Gathers in Manila

    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 alieberman@scu.edu
     

  •  Human Capital, Sustainable Social Enterprises, and Fossil Fuel Subsidies

    Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013

    Originally published on Weds, Nov. 20 2013 on nextbillion.net
    http://www.nextbillion.net/blogpost.aspx?blogid=3614


    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.

 


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