GSBI® Online helps early-stage, on the ground, social enterprises formalize their business models through modules focused on business strategy, operational planning, metrics, and financials. GSBI Online prepares entrepreneurs for the more advanced level of training provided by the GSBI Accelerator. Our online platform provides a low-cost diligence tool for investors and it provides a methodology and platform for our GSBI Network partners (mission-aligned universities seeking to train social entrepreneurs), who localize their incubator and accelerator programs to the context of the communities in which the social entrepreneurs operate.
GSBI Online addresses several key needs for social enterprises ready to validate their plans:
- Business plan development
- Elevator pitch refinement
- Development of an annual operating plan
- Marketing collateral creation
Mentoring is at the core of GSBI Online, Each social entrepreneur selected as a part of each GSBI Online cohort is paired with one Silicon Valley executive mentor and one Local Mentor. GSBI Mentors are successful Silicon Valley executives, many of whom are former founders of NASDAQ companies or venture capitalists. Local mentors are identified through networks of partners, alumni, and participants and serve as a resource with local context and expertise.
The GSBI Online 2013 Fall cohort includes 15 organizations serving populations in Haiti, India, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Nairobi, Nigeria, Philippines, Uganda, the US, and globally. On average, the enterprises have been in operation for 2 ¼ years (seven are between three and four years old). The average number of full-time staff is eight.Most organizations have a focus on clean energy solutions; of those five, three are cook stove-related.Nine of the enterprises are for-profit, underlining GSBI's commitment to long-term financial viability.
AYZH Health and Livelihood Private Limited
Social Entrepreneur: Zubaida Ba
Product/activity: AYZH designs, develops and distributes low-cost, high-quality maternal and newborn health products. Their flagship product is a $2 kit for clean births that helps resource-poor medical institutions to implement safe birth practices, and ultimately achieve critical health outcomes set by the global health community. Whenever possible AYZH products are made by women from the community for whom they are designed.
Value proposition: AYZH is the only for-profit social enterprise utilizing a "B2B" business model that has successfully commercialized a clean birth kit designed specifically for facility-based births. Conventional hospital delivery rooms are often unclean and understaffed, medical instruments and surfaces do not get sterilized, and healthcare workers are overworked and undertrained. AYZH's $2 Clean Birth Kit provides convenient and affordable access to the essential tools required to ensure safety and sterility at the time of childbirth, regardless of delivery room conditions.
Green Bio Energy Ltd
Social Entrepreneur: David Gerard
Product/activity: Green Bio Energy's Briketi™ is an organic charcoal briquette that is made out of charcoal dust, organic waste and agricultural residue. It is cheaper than traditional wood fuel (such as charcoal). Green Bio Energy briquettes differ from charcoal and firewood by producing a constant and long-lasting heat, enabling the user to cut on the costs for cooking fuels while not changing cooking habits. The product does not produce any smoke or soot which is ideal for closed environments.
Value proposition: Green Bio Energy is the producer of a new generation of clean, affordable and eco-friendly charcoal briquette. Goal is the development of additional local production capacities and know‐how through partnerships with universities, the private sector and civil‐society organizations. The value chain is all local: the production equipment has been designed and manufactured locally making it a Ugandan product for Ugandans.
Social Entrepreneur: Rik Stamhuis
Product/activity: Jiro-Ve Our delivers renewable energy based on solar charged lights to the rural population of Madagascar (approx. 70%) with no access to electricity. This is done through a range of franchise companies.
Value proposition: Kerosene or candles are frequently used energy sources in rural areas. Jiro-Ve replaces these with clean solar charged lights and delivers them to users' doorsteps for less than the cost of kerosene or candles. The delivery model is based on the involvement of local communities.Jiro-Ve rents out 1,000 lights a day through 10 carefully selected and trained franchisees that ensure all lights are charged during the day and distributed to their members.
Social Entrepreneur: Isabel Cristina Aranda Güémez
Product/activity: MASCINCUENTAYDOS offers locally made products (handbags, purses, wallets, footwear, portfolios, clothing, and footwear) inspired by the fusion of Pre-Hispanic and Spanish culture. Products are made of leather, textiles, and reused materials.Each product has a unique technique and materials and is partially handmade.
Value proposition: MASCINCUENTAYDOS is a holistic fair trade project that aims to establish self-sufficient artisan communities across Mexico.Thereby MASCINCUENTAYDOS creates a link between customers and local artisan communities.
Social Entrepreneur: Rangan Varadan
Product/activity: MicroGraam is an online platform that enables social investors to lend funds to borrowers in rural India. MicroGraam partners with local NGOs and MFIs in rural areas to disburse funds and perform any necessary training programs.
Value proposition: MicroGraam enables people to invest in building self-reliant communities and ensuring capital assurance and financial return while creating a social impact. It varies from traditional micro-credit by providing above-average returns to lenders, introducing loss guarantees in any case of borrower default, and introducing flexible repayment terms and low interest rates to borrowers. 'Micro-VCs' provide the upfront funding to the micro-entrepreneur to build a small business. Then the two parties share profits or losses for a pre-determined number of years.
Social Entreprenuer: Steele Lorenz
Product/activity: MyRain is a wholesale distributer of agricultural technologies for small plot farmers in Tamil Nadu, India.It combines technology with education in order to lift agricultural communities out of poverty while reducing the ecological impact of cultivation. MyRain's strong focus on product education, availability, price, and service helps small plot farmers achieve long-term technology adoption, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability.
Value proposition: MyRain is an agricultural machinery wholesaling social venture. It was inspired by the potential of efficient drip irrigation systems as an alternative to flood irrigation, a method that stunts crops and washes away valuable soil nutrients. MyRain launched to provide small plot farmers access to this technology by creating a retail and distribution network focused on the four main tenets of accessibility: education, availability, price, and service. The value proposition was later applied to a range of technologies to be delivered and adopted in rural farm settings. For manufacturers, MyRain provides consolidated access to many retailers and dealers.For retailers and dealers, MyRain provides discount pricing, small order availability, product discovery, training, and a high level of customer support.
Social Entrepreneur: Phillip Cooke, SJ
Product/activity: RISE provides entrepreneurs with education, access to capital, and access to the necessary business services. Through entrepreneurial training programs RISE enhances local communities by identifying problems of poverty, then providing services to support local entrepreneurs in executing solutions that are socially and economically sustainable.
Value proposition: RISE creates viable and sustainable enterprises to help people rise out of poverty and dependence upon extra community organizations. RISE's solution incorporates economic and small enterprise education; the creation of sustainable enterprises as a part of the education curriculum; ongoing mentoring for success and accountability; enterprise funding through micro credit; and savings methods to foster enterprise and community growth.
Second Home Early Child Care Network
Social Entrepreneur: Erica Williamson
Product/activity: Second Home Early Child Care Network provides services to child care providers that enable them to develop vibrant businesses, children & communities. Through its network (involving child development specialists, an online portal, and discounted rates for child care expenses) Second Home supports aspiring entrepreneurs in starting or maintaining home-based family child cares.
Value proposition: Second Home providers offer high-quality, intimate and stable learning environments that allow parents to work and feel confident that their children will be ready for school and life. Second Home is the only organization to support providers through the entire process of starting and maintaining home child cares. It serves home child care providers in two phases. In phase 1, Second Home partners with community-based organizations to increase awareness of home child care ownership.In phase 2, Second Home provides ongoing support to providers maintaining home child cares.
Social Entrepreneur: Elvis Austins
Product/activity: SpellAfrica Initiative's Mobile Vocabulary (mV) is a mobile education-based solution that is designed to help improve English vocabulary in Africa using mobile phone. They do so by sending word, meaning, and usage via text message to their subscriber base.
Value proposition: SpellAfrica Initiative is an organization that was created with the purpose of implementing simple and affordable solutions to improve the English vocabulary of Africa's youth.
Social Entrepreneur: Keneth Ndua
Product/activity: STAMP developed the Energy Conserving Stove (ECOS), a fuel-efficient biomass stove featuring an innovative built-in jacket that can be filled with 7 liters of water. This feature insulates the stove, making it both more energy efficient and allowing the user to simultaneously boil water whilst cooking. The stove is used with firewood and can be modified for the use of bio gas or bio fuel.
Value proposition: STAMP's Energy Conserving Stove (ECOS) utilizes biodegradable biomass and performs two tasks simultaneously during the cooking process.The stove uses most of the energy released to cook while simultaneously heating water in an inner boiling chamber. This maximizes the uses of boiled water and thus reduces the consumption of contaminated (untreated) water. The value chain is local: production, distribution and market are in Kenya. The target market for the stove are informal rural and urban settlements which are the greatest consumers of wood fuel.
Social Entrepreneur: Noura Sa'd
Product/activity: Tadreesna is an online learning community that links high school and undergraduate students in the Middle East with professionally experienced online facilitators. The emphasis is on tutoring students in the MENA region in an affordable way.
Value proposition: The traditional educational system in Jordan fails to cater for the unique needs of students. This goes along with a growing desire by parents to secure the best possible educational opportunity for their children. Tadreesna's online learning platform provides a cost efficient solution for experienced online tutors to fill the educational gap.
Twothirds Water Inc.
Social Entrepreneur: Bradley Pierik
Impact/Reach: Global (pilot market: Philippines)
Product/activity: Twothirds Water'sTapp is an extremely simple and user-friendly household water filter for families in developing countries. This water filter is able to remove over 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, and dirt from drinking water. Tapp is so easy to use that anyone can produce safe water in minutes with no training or written instructions. It is well suited to the end-users' needs and preferences, and it connects to whatever water vessels the family normally uses (such as buckets, jerry cans, jugs or bottles), thus avoiding several major adoption barriers. The cleaning process is also extremely simple, taking about 10 seconds to flush away any trapped debris.
Value proposition: Vast numbers of families in developing countries do not have access to safe drinking water. This results in many people suffering from waterborne diseases and large amounts of money being spent on water treatment. Boiling is often the preferred treatment method as it is simpler than using other filtration systems. The problem with boiling is that it creates a substantial financial burden on a family as well as posing a number of health and safety risks. The Tapp filtration system requires no training or written instructions to use.It fits into the rural lifestyles and offers a significant improvement both in terms of cost and impact on health.It addresses the distribution challenge.
Social Entrepreneur: Sylvain Romieu
Product/activity: UpEnergy has developed a distribution system to provideenergy-efficient products to rural Ugandans. UpEnergy makes its products accessible through direct sales by the UpEnergy sales team and by developing strong partnerships with local retailers, micro-entrepreneurs and micro-finance community organizations. UpEnergy is able to provide affordable products to low-income populations by leveraging micro-finance solutions. UpEnergy is the only player in Uganda to provide energy-efficient firewood stoves at scale.
Value proposition: UpEnergy works with technology manufacturers and local partners to deliver high quality products such as efficient cookstoves, and solar lights to underserved households at affordable prices. UpEnergy creates value for customer by providing products which are unique, aspirational, and provide for strong health and savings value propositions.
Veritas Social Empowerment, Inc.
Social Entrepreneur: Fr. Benigno P. Beltran
Product/activity: Veritas Social Empowerment's value-chain brings significant cost reductions to the marketplace, as well as time efficiency and convenience. It introduces new systems of infrastructure, new ways of socializing, new meaning as to how time is spent, and new ways of living these possibilities among the poor.
Value proposition: Veritas contributes to poverty alleviation by combining wealth creation and business opportunities through the aggregation of the buying power of urban and rural poor communities. It does so through the use of Internet-enabled devices (cellphones and computers) to improve logistics, price performance, distribution systems and economies of scale. Veritas combines business innovation along the whole value chain with different information and communication technologies to empower the poor.
Village Energy Limited
Social Entrepreneur: Paola de Cecco
Product/activity: Village Energy develops, markets and sells integrated packages of solar products and services. It combines local product development and manufacturing with technical support in selecting (sizing) the product, financing strategies and post-sales support. Its array of energy solutions span from miniature solar lanterns, through solar home systems, to larger commercial, institutional and community systems, allowing it to support development in very different areas such as health and healthcare improvements, access to education and more generally economic development.
Value proposition: Village Energy provides integrated, local manufacturing, customer education, technical support and micro-credit in order to sell solar energy solutions for Ugandans.Village Energy pioneered the local assembly of micro-home solar systems designed or customized to address a broad range of needs. Its 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, shifting the focus from selling a solar product to delivering a technically and financially sustainable energy solution.
Applications for the next GSBI® Online cohort will open in January 2014.
To receive a notification of the next round of applications for GSBI Online, email email@example.com.
Characteristics of successful GSBI® Online applicants include:
- Commitment to creating impact in base of pyramid communities
- Tested technology, product, or service
- Operational for at least six months
- Preparing for financing to validate or model
Will application materials be kept confidential?
Yes. All application material is treated as confidential information and only shared with those reviewing applications for the GSBI®. GSBI Impact Investor Partners receive an overview of GSBI Online applicants to determine which they may have interest in funding. Before any application materials are shared with interested investors, we will first obtain each applicant's express permission.
What metrics are being used to evaluate applications for GSBI Online?
The following criteria are used by the GSBI leadership to evaluate each application:
- Compelling impact-oriented mission
- Demonstrated proof of concept
- Potential for significant impact
- Solid founder or leadership team
How will the participants for GSBI Online be selected?
GSBI leadership ranks applications using a standardized scoring matrix. After reviewing all applications, 20-40 of the highest scoring applicants are selected as finalists.