February 2012

Pilot Program to Train Two Dozen Social Entrepreneurs

Santa Clara University Launches "GSBI Online"in Collaboration with the World Bank Development Marketplace

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb 23, 2012 — Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society has received funding from the World Bank Development Marketplace to expand its highly successful mentoring and training program for social entrepreneurs—the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™)—to an entirely online format.

Developed in collaboration with the World Bank, the new program, called GSBI Online, will be piloted starting in May 2012 to a select group of social entrepreneurs running business-oriented organizations that aim to solve major social problems related to poverty, such as hunger or lack of power. 

Based on the successful GSBI model, GSBI Online will match the entrepreneurs with mentors and provide interactive training modules to help them build sustainable and scalable organizations. The new online delivery format will reach a greater number of entrepreneurs, including earlier stage ventures and those unable to travel. 

“We are delighted to make the GSBI’s proven capacity development program available to more social entrepreneurs,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of CSTS. “The World Bank’s leadership in launching a pilot demonstrates their deep commitment to supporting the long-term growth and self-sustainability of the high-potential organizations alleviating poverty they have identified through their Development Marketplace.”  

Up to 25 grantees, identified through the Development Marketplace and GSBI, will go through the initial pilot, designed to help participants create sustainable business plans to grow their organizations. During the nine-module program, participants will produce elevator pitches, business plan summary presentations, and investment profiles necessary to attract business and financial partners.

The curriculum will use GSBI’s proven methodology, be available on-demand, and incorporate best practices of online learning. Entrepreneurs will be able to work at their own pace over a maximum of eight months. They will be, guided throughout by a Silicon Valley mentor and a local mentor, who volunteer their time to give feedback to the entrepreneurs about their ventures.

The modules will include: (1) mission, opportunity, strategies; (2) external environment; (3) target market segmentation; (4) value chain analysis; (5) organization and human resources; (6) business model; (7) success metrics; (8) one-year operating plan; and (9) financing strategy. 

“The World Bank Development Marketplace and the GSBI collectively have over 25 years of experience working with social entrepreneurs who develop and distribute public goods and services to the poorest of the poor,” said Andy Lieberman, Program Manager for GSBI Online at Santa Clara University. “With its emphasis on business skills training, GSBI Online is a natural next step for both organizations.”

GSBI Online offers several advantages over other capacity development programs, including lower cost, no travel, greater scheduling flexibility, and customizable curriculum. GSBI Online pilots will continue throughout 2012 and into 2013, sponsored by organizations seeking to provide additional capacity development and business model support to select groups of social entrepreneurs.

The GSBI Online pilot commences during the 10th year of the GSBI program, which is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara. The GSBI’s track record is exemplary: over 90 percent of GSBI alumni enterprises remain in operation, with almost 50 percent growing revenues faster than expenses.

GSBI alumni include: the micro-lending website Kiva.org; African solar-radio maker Lifeline Energy; 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.

About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS)
The mission of the CSTS is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide. The CSTS implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, its partnership with The Tech Museum in The Tech Awards program, Frugal Innovation, a focus on social capital, and numerous education and public engagement activities. Now in its tenth year, the GSBI has provided sophisticated capacity development opportunities to nearly 140 social entrepreneurs, affording us unique insights into leading business models and innovations for the developing world and emerging markets. More information can be found at www.scu.edu/socialbenefit. Those wishing to support the Center and the GSBI should contact Tomitha Blake at tblake@scu.edu.

Media Contacts:
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121     
Katie Buck | CSTS Marketing | kbuck@scu.edu | 408-551-6043     


CSTS,GSBI,World Bank,World Bank Development Marketplace