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April 2012

Tenth Annual Class of Social Entrepreneurs for the Global Social Benefit Incubator Training and Mentoring Program Announced

Twenty socially minded entrepreneurs from around the globe have been chosen to participate in Santa Clara University’s intensive, eight-month Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) program this year, the 10th anniversary of GSBI.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 18, 2012 — Until recently, small-scale farmers in Kenya who spent their household savings on seeds could lose everything in the case of severe drought or excess rain. Rahab Karanja helped start a unique type of insurance company for such farmers—Kilimo Salama—that pays farmers if extreme weather wipes them out. For simplicity, payments are made through the popular M-Pesa mobile-phone payment system, and the price of the insurance is embedded in the seed or fertilizer prices.

“Until now the only thing Kenyan farmers could do about the risk of extreme weather was to pray,” said Karanja. “We are offering some protection for their livelihoods.”

Karanja is one of 20 socially minded entrepreneurs, and one of 10 women, from around the globe who have been chosen to participate in Santa Clara University’s intensive, eight-month Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) program this year, the 10th anniversary of GSBI. The final phase of the Silicon Valley-based program is a two-week in-residence “boot camp” on SCU’s campus, Aug. 12 to Aug. 24, culminating in public business-plan summary presentations Aug. 23.

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

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, and more than 90 percent of the organizations are still operating.

“We are thrilled to welcome this class of global leaders to our 10th annual GSBI program,” said Eric Carlson, director of the GSBI at Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. “Each year the applicant pool becomes more sophisticated, with extraordinary enterprises looking to dramatically extend and deepen their impact on impoverished communities around the world.” 

The program features mentoring by Silicon Valley executives and experts, collaboration for the social entrepreneurs, and MBA-caliber classes during the summer in-residence program. More on GSBI can be found at

The other enterprises that have been chosen from among 180 applicants to be part of GSBI 2012 include:

*Backpack Farm Agriculture Program, training and unique backpacks containing advanced products for small-crop vegetable farmers, from drip irrigation to soil protectants and crop journals, Horn of Africa.

*BaNaPads Social Enterprise, affordable sanitary pads from banana stems to help Ugandan girls attend school, Uganda.

*Carbon Keeper, mobile customer and supply-chain management for household energy project developers, East Africa.

*EarthSpark International, clean-energy supply chain and product purveyor, Haiti.

*EcoEnergyFinance, clean energy products and business opportunities, Pakistan.

*Edom Nutritional Solutions, micronutrient-rich porridge and maize, East Africa.

*InVenture, methods for investors to make business loans and otherwise help successful sole proprietors in developing countries, United States.

*Lifeline Technologies Trading Ltd., solar and crank-powered MP3 player for education, Sub-Saharan Africa.

*M-Farm, SMS alerts for crop pricing and collective-selling opportunities, Kenya.

*MaliBiocarburant, biodiesel processing of Jatropha curcas, a non-edible oil crop, West Africa.

*Nazava Water Filters, affordable and safe household water filters, Indonesia.

*Nokero, solar light and phone chargers for 125 countries, United States and Hong Kong.

*OneChildOneLight, solar powered LED lights, India.

*Potential Energy (formerly Darfur Stoves Project), fuel-efficient cook stoves, Sudan.

*SalaUno, free or low-cost cataract surgery for impoverished Mexicans, Mexico.

*Sarvajal, clean water franchising using “water ATMs” and social-impact tracking, India.

*Solanterns, for-rent or purchasable durable solar lanterns, Kenya.

*Sustainable Health Enterprises, nontraditional business opportunities solving social problems, such as girls missing school due to lack of sanitary products, New York.

* UbiLuz, solar LED lighting and other products, Central America.

These leaders have been selected to receive full scholarships to participate in Santa Clara’s 10th annual GSBI™. Veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, marketers, venture capitalists, and industry consultants join with Santa Clara faculty to mentor the entrepreneurs in developing their business plans, capital investment sources, sustainable revenue streams, distribution models, and ways to increase their social impact while maintaining positive cash flow.

As in past years, half of the 2012 GSBI class is focused on developing or distributing cleaner, cheaper and more sustainable sources of energy to the poor, as a way to help the estimated 1.5 billion people living “off the grid” with no reliable source of electricity.

GSBI alumni include: the micro-lending website; 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:

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 and individual donors. The Center partners with Social Edge, the Skoll Foundation's online community for social entrepreneurs ( to administer the online GSBI application process, comprising of three mentored exercises all applicants must complete.

“We are pleased to have been part of GSBI’s success by hosting the online application process and sharing this valuable opportunity with our community of social entrepreneurs using the Social Edge platform,” said Victor d’Allant, executive director of Social Edge.

For more details about the program and this year’s GSBI cl