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To help ensure that the GSBI met its own objective of continuing effectiveness as an action learning program, Karen Coppock gathered data from not only participants but also mentors and staff. She found that the three greatest reported strengths of the GSBI were: the networking opportunities offered the participants (with the mentors, each other, and the boarder Silicon Valley community); the learning and business skills from which they “obtained great benefit;” and, the quality of teaching and “knowledge of the presenters” (rated 6.7 on a seven-point scale). Within this global learning community the relationships of trust, respect, and reciprocity that were fostered enabled participants to adapt the insights of faculty and the innovations of their fellow classmates into their own operations.
While we are pleased with the success of the program, this is a “work in progress” that involves learning on “both sides of the lectern.” From a program design perspective, admissions, content, and the development of program effectiveness measures are all areas for further development. In addition, augmenting support for the GSBI work products and post-program continuing education, as well as the development of collaborations to support access to funding for well conceived business plans, would further strengthen this promising program launch.
On the eve of the business plan presentations anxieties were running high among GSBI class participants. Venture capitalist Bill Unger provided an extraordinarily insightful session on best practices in business plan presentations that seemed to empower the right combination of thinking and heart for the presentations that followed the next day. Here are the words of one class participant that many others seemed to echo in their own way.
“Hopefully by now you and your team are rested from our whirlwind visit to Santa Clara. You provided us all with such amazing access to beneficial resources that I am still telling everyone how GSBI changed my life. I know it sounds strange, but attending GSBI, and being in the atmosphere you and the team created, inspired me in so many ways. I left the program feeling like I could conquer the world and wanting to start doing so immediately.”
“The final presentation day for me was the most exhilarating. I am comfortable presenting to large groups and “selling” my organization, but the structure of this presentation was so different for me and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able pull it off. Well, GSBI gave me the tools do it and do it well. Everything that we had learned came into play. I was very thankful for Bill Unger’s final presentation on Thursday about keeping your enthusiasm in your presentation. This helped me to shape my story like a news anchor, but keep my presentation engaging. When I completed my presentation I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. I had completed a journey that was long and hard but worth every moment of it.”
Santa Clara’s GSBI 2004 class of social entrepreneurs now have a roadmap for success (their business plans) and the confidence they can implement them. They also have a support structure (their fellow classmates, mentors, and GSBI staff) in place to assist them with their quest to scale up. The fellowship and bonding that grew from these two weeks of intensive study and reflection mirror vibrantly U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan’s 2003 charge that “we must take a proactive approach if the wider agenda for human rights is to be realized everywhere.” The GSBI creates a framework to enhance human dignity and opportunity by joining people from diverse cultures and facilitating programs committed to creating sustainable businesses that are agents of change in communities around the world—communities connected in part by the shared experiences of the entrepreneurs and their commitments to not only their own countries but to a more ethical and just world at large.
For more information on the GSBI and an application to the 2005 program please go to http://www.scu.edu/sts/programsandpartnerships/gsbincubator.cfm
The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the presenters for the GSBI 2004 curriculum:
William Behrman, Consulting Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University
David F. Caldwell, Stephen and Patricia Schott Professor of Business, Senior Associate Dean, Leavey School of Business and Administration, Santa Clara University
Maureen Conway, Senior Vice President, Emerging Market Solutions, Hewlett-Packard
James R. Fruchterman, President, Chief Executivde Officer, Chairman, and Founder, The Benetech Initiative
David Green, Executive Director, Project Impact
Terri Griffith, Breetwor Fellow, Professor of Management, Leavey School of Business and Administratoin, Program Director, Innovation and Organizational Change, Center for Science, Technology, and Society
Kirthi Kalyanam, J.C. Penney Research Professor, Department of Marketing, Leavey School of Business and Administration, Santa Clara University
Tammy Madsen, Dean Witter Foundation Fellow, Assistant Professor of Strategy, Department of Management, Leavey School of Business and Adminisration, Santa Clara University
Maragret McCarthy, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Development Office, Santa Clara University
Regis McKenna, Chariman, Center for Science, Technology, and Society Advisory Board, Santa Clara University
Jeff Miller, Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Documentum, Inc. Venture Partner, Redpoint Ventures
Ted Moser, Managing Director, Mercer Management Consulting
Marck Nicolson, Leadership Consultant and Coach, Ventana Project
Joni Podolsky, Consultant, Director of Community Programs,Entrepreneurs Foundation, Bay Area
Aaron Slettehaugh, Director of Business Development. ApproTEC
Tyzoon Tyebjee, Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing, Leavey School of Business and Administration, Santa Clara University
Cynthia Typaldos, Founder,