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Entrepreneurs with a Higher Purpose

Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010

Entrepreneurs with a Higher Purpose: 21 Global Social Entrepreneurs Coming to Santa Clara University Aug. 15-27 for Silicon Valley Mentoring and Training

SANTA CLARA, Calif.,July 23, 2010— It’s not every day that a South African entrepreneur bringing electricity to remote parts of Africa can spend a year with two Silicon Valley financiers and a retired tech executive. And not often does the founder of a company bringing solar-powered refrigeration to Indian dairy farmers get to consult a veteran CEO in the industry.

But for the eighth year in a row, more than 20 such social entrepreneurs have been invited to Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™), a fully funded, 12-month program offering Internet-based mentoring and two weeks of intensive classroom instruction to social entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs hail from more than a dozen countries, and typically have award-winning, but resource-starved, ventures that aim to alleviate poverty or empower human development.

From August 15 to August 27, the GSBI Class of 2010 will be at Santa Clara University’s campus for courses in business planning, management and core business concepts.

In addition to attending back-to-back classes daily, the participants will spend their time honing their own business plans that they will present to experienced U.S. financiers at the conclusion of their stay. The business plan presentations, which are open to the public, will take place Aug. 26 at the Locatelli Student Center on campus. Information on attending the business plan presentations is available at CSTS.

For eight years, the University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society—GSBI’s sponsor—has tapped veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, marketers, and venture capitalists to work alongside Santa Clara faculty to help social entrepreneurs expand and mature their noble ventures. Enterprises that have graduated from the GSBI program have, collectively, gone on to serve or benefit millions of people. Alumni include the micro-lending website Kiva.org, African solar-radio maker Freeplay Foundation, and reading-glasses provider Vision Spring.

A list of program mentors is available at CSTS.

This year, the program has a special focus on finding renewable sources of electricity for underserved populations in developing countries, with about half the attendees focused on finding or using such power in parts of the world where reliable energy is lacking.

Other areas of focus for incoming social ventures include information and communication technology, economic development, health, and education.

Among the ventures to be represented in this year’s GSBI class:

* AVANI provides cooking gas made from pine needles to households in the Uttarakhand region of India.
*WE CARE Solar provides solar-powered lighting and communication systems for obstetric health care facilities in Nigeria.
* Literacy Bridge provides impoverished Ghanaians with durable audio computers that distribute vital tips for health and income improvement.
* Mobility Aid and Appliances Research and Development Centre mentors and employs otherwise-ostracized Nigerians with disabilities, teaching them to make and sell disability aids.

For more details about the program and this year’s GSBI class, visit the Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s website at www.scu.edu/sts/gsbi.

About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society
Founded in 1997, the Center for Science, Technology and Society (CSTS) is one of three “centers of distinction” at Santa Clara University. Its mission is to promote the use of science and technology through social entrepreneurship to benefit underserved communities worldwide. CSTS implements its mission through education, public engagement, and direct social impact. The Center’s Social Impact Program includes the internationally recognized Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI), the online Social Enterprise Innovation Network, and the sourcing and judging of the Technology Benefiting Humanity Awards in partnership with The Tech Museum of Innovation. More information can be found at http://www.scu.edu/sts.

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 Assistant Media Relations Director | 408-554-5121 | dlohse@scu.edu.

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