Santa Clara University

SCU Today

University Press Releases

Back to Blog

74 Million Served, and Counting: 10th Annual Class of Global Social Entrepreneurs Coming to Silicon Valley Aug. 12–24 to Expand Businesses Serving the World's Most Needy

Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 2, 2012— Juan Carlos Rodriguez’s startup company, salaUno, has performed about 133 cataract surgeries a month for the past year in Mexico, enabling impoverished citizens to vastly improve their quality of life, job prospects, and ability to care for themselves. The surgery is free for those who can’t afford it, and about two-thirds cheaper than other options for those who can.

Anuj Sharma’s company, Sarvajal, has found a way to bring clean water to thousands of households in rural India, who would otherwise have to walk miles or drink disease-causing dirty water. Sarvajal dispenses water from solar-powered, ATM-like machines. Customers pay around $3 a month with their cell phones, and special mobile technology alerts the company if there are problems with any of its 157 franchised machines.

The two entrepreneurs are part of the 10th annual class of social entrepreneurs from all over the world coming Aug. 12–24 for Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator, or GSBI™.  A group of 19 is coming to SCU’s Silicon Valley campus for business classes, advice from tech-industry veterans, and business-plan techniques to help them expand their ventures serving some of the world’s neediest populations.

This year, the 19 social entrepreneurs are in businesses ranging from a sanitary-pad manufacturer who uses cheap banana stems in Uganda, to a jatropha-nut biofuel producer in Western Africa. Others are creating solar or clean energy products to bring light to off-grid populations or replace toxic products now in use. They come from 16 countries including Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya and Pakistan. Descriptions of all the companies can be found here:
www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/alumni/current.cfm.

They will have two weeks of intensive, back-to-back classes, and continued guidance from some of the 50 tech-industry veterans who have been mentoring them online since May. On Aug. 23, they will present their business plans to Silicon Valley venture capitalists, industry experts, and others at a well-attended, all-day public event.

Media are welcome to attend the presentations or to meet any of the social entrepreneurs during the summer in-residence program.

About GSBI

For a decade, 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, and more than half are growing.

More on GSBI can be found at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi.

The list of 2012 mentors—who work or have worked at NUMMI, Omidyar Networks, Mentor Graphics, Flextronics, Intel, and Redpoint Ventures—can be found at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/mentor.cfm.

GSBI is different from other accelerators or incubators in the following ways:

*Any social entrepreneur from around the world can apply. This year 180 entrepreneurs applied for one of up to 20 spots. 
* GSBI only accepts ventures that are clearly committed to alleviating poverty directly in “Base of the Pyramid” countries.
*The program is highly structured—with eight modules that must be completed in the entrepreneur’s home country before they come to Silicon Valley.
* Many of these businesses have won awards in their fields (Ashoka, World Bank, The Tech Awards) for their promising technologies.

GSBI Alumni include: the micro-lending website Kiva.org; Indian safe-drinking water distributor Naandi; “cloud phone” service provider Movirtu; Indian rural electrification pioneer Husk Power Systems; physical mobility device producer and advocate MAARDEC; optical health leader VisionSpring; and the earthquake-resistant construction nonprofit Build Change. A complete list of alumni can be found at: www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/alumni.

GSBI is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara. It is currently funded in part by a grant from the Skoll Foundation; corporate gifts from Applied Materials, Deloitte, and Microsoft; and 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 Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121

Tags: CSTS, GSBI, salauno, sarvajal

Printer-friendly format