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A New Class

Sixteen global social entrepreneurs selected for the GSBI® Accelerator

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”—nonprofit 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.

Starting next month, the acclaimed 10-month program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with experienced, startup savvy Silicon Valley executives and advisers. The aim is to help the entrepreneurs focus on and solve the largest obstacles keeping their businesses from “scaling,” or reaching more beneficiaries.

“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.

Visit www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/alumni/current.cfm for a list of current entrepreneurs.

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

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