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Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014
Kolkata, India and the social enterprises I worked with there, Anudip and iMerit are alive, engaged, genuine, and passionate and that is how I want to live my life. I want to be engaged with my society, genuine in my interactions with others, and confident and consistent in my beliefs.
I did not hold these lofty goals when I applied to the Global Social Benefit Fellowship. I was simply excited for the opportunity to go abroad and continue to work on my skills as a filmmaker. These goals were developed in the research and reading in the preparatory fellowship classes and then reinforced in my experiences in Kolkata.
The classes taught me about the different theories of development, social entrepreneurship, and the great need for innovation and technology in service to humanity. Anudip and iMerit showed me why all that information matters.
I saw what earning triple an average family income looks like, and how economic empowerment of women in conservative communities can change perspectives. It was a synthesis of idea and action. I think many educational institutions strive for, but Santa Clara achieved. The Global Social Benefit Fellowship showed me a way of life radically different from the one I was living, and then gave me the opportunity to enact it.
Everything I did within GSBF was highly structured. I had brilliant and exceptional mentors throughout the entire experience helping me both define, realize and execute my research plan. It will not always be so. So, as I enter what college seniors scarily term "Real Life," I intend to do my best to take the education that Anudip, iMerit, and GSBF gave me and continue to act upon it outside of the supportive academic system.
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.