The highlight of the GSBI Accelerator is a nine day in-residence program in August, when the entrepreneurs travel to Santa Clara University to learn from industry experts and each other. At the end of the nine days, they pitch to Silicon Valley and impact investors and participate in introductory meetings. The expected outcome of GSBI Accelerator is for the enterprise to move from the prepare to scale stage to the scale stage. This means that the enterprise will have a strategy for expanding to serve new beneficiaries within current geographies, serve existing beneficiaries with additional products/services, and/or expand to new geographies.
The GSBI Accelerator program consists of the following 3 parts:
Online Pre-work (February - July): Entrepreneurs and mentors collaborate remotely to work on several lessons designed to identify and create options to resolve the largest gaps in the organizations and plans. The work helps the SE/Mentor teams to build a strong working relationship, understand where the enterprise is on its path to scale, know the business planning concepts and vocabulary used by GSBI and impact investors, and to prepare the business plan, financials, diligence folder, and other materials about the enterprise that will be used in- residence and beyond.
In-Residence (mid-August): The in-residence, or boot camp, portion of GSBI will be the most intense and most rewarding. Most days are deep dives, in which pieces of your business plan and enterprise operations will be critiqued by experts, mentors, and fellow social entrepreneurs and you will have a chance to work with your mentors, peers, and experts to address the issues that have been raised.
The nine days on campus at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley are intended to allow working teams to continue addressing gaps in the businesses; refining the pitches, business plans, and operating plans; for SEs to receive live instruction and support from mentors and content leads; and, to draw upon the networking and resource opportunities of Silicon Valley.
The in-residence culminates in the Investor Showcase event, which showcases the cohort to a cross-section of potential investors, donors, advisors, board members, and mentors and facilitates networking opportunities for all parties. Participants will deliver 6-minute presentations that will be simulcast to a global audience, followed by private investor meetings.
Implementation (September - December): Social entrepreneur-Mentor teams will continue to meet regularly during this time period to develop and implement the strategic initiatives and tactical steps as needed to move the enterprise forward on its path to scale. The GSBI team is available for consultations on issues as they arise, including support in closing financing deals.
The program will end with a Gratitude Ceremony webinar in December. This event will celebrate the achievements of the cohort and provide an opportunity to reflect on the various milestones throughout the year.
The Accelerator is the flagship program of the GSBI and was piloted in 2003 to support early stage social enterprises. The program was adapted in 2013 to serve a more mature demographic, with GSBI Online addressing the needs of earlier-stage organizations.