August 2013

GSBI® Online Announces Fall 2013 Cohort

GSBI® Online Announces Fall 2013 Cohort Capacity Development Program Matches Silicon Valley Expertise with Early-Stage Social Enterprises

Capacity Development Program Matches Silicon Valley Expertise with Early-Stage Social Enterprises

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 16, 2013—They don’t know each other, but for six months beginning in October, 15 social entrepreneurs from around the world will be virtual classmates in a program designed to help them in their quest to build viable ventures that help solve some of the most persistent problems of poverty.

GSBI® Online is a mentored, training program pioneered at Santa Clara University (SCU) and targeted to early-stage social entrepreneurs. The GSBI Online Fall 2013 Cohort includes a woman who runs a tutoring service in Jordan; a Canadian who has installed simple, but effective, water filters all over the world; an entrepreneur who is franchising solar lighting in Madagascar; and a Stanford MBA who is helping women start home-based child care centers in Brooklyn.

“We are thrilled with the diversity of this GSBI Online cohort,” said Cassandra Thomassin, Program Director of the GSBI.  “A third of the entrepreneurs are women; the ventures are located in 10 different countries; and they work in clean energy, education, health, economic development, agriculture, and microfinance.” 

Many of the selected entrepreneurs were referred to GSBI Online through the GSBI Discovery Partners Network, including members Echoing Green and Unreasonable Institute. The GSBI Online Fall 2013 cohort is supported in part by Applied Materials, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and Donor Circle for Africa of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Entrepreneurs receive scholarships, valued at $5000 each, to participate in the six-month GSBI Online program. Through a competitive application and screening process, they have demonstrated the potential to create significant social impact through their businesses. The Fall 2013 Cohort commences October 2013 and ends April 2014.  Program graduates will be equipped with business-plan presentations, elevator pitches, and one-year operating plans, all of which can help them procure appropriate impact capital to scale their ventures. 

The Fall 2013 cohort is the third of the GSBI Online program.  To date, 30 social enterprises have completed this GSBI program.  Its sister program, the GSBI Accelerator, includes an in-residence component and helps later-stage social enterprises become investment-ready so that they can increase growth and impact.
Each GSBI Online participant will be paired with two seasoned mentors, who serve as guides through structured, online modules that help the entrepreneurs apply core business concepts such as target market segmentation and distribution strategies to their ventures. One mentor will be an experienced Silicon Valley corporate-level executive; the other will be an in-country executive familiar with the local challenges each entrepreneur faces.

Fast facts regarding the GSBI Online Fall 2013 Cohort
* Average company age: 3.5 years.
* Nine for-profit companies; six non-profit companies.
* Geographic areas of focus include: Haiti, India, Jordan, Madagascar, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Uganda, and the United States.
* Impact areas include:
•    Clean-energy solutions
•    Higher efficiencies in agriculture
•    Education via mobile and internet technology
•    Low-cost and innovative technologies to improve health
•    Connecting the unbanked with capital

Cohort members (Enterprise Name, Entrepreneur, Geographic Area of Focus, and Sector)
AYZH Health and Livelihood Private Limited (Zubaida Bai), Global, Education, Health
Green Bio Energy Ltd (David Gerard), Uganda, Clean Energy, Economic Development
Jiro-Ve (Rik Stamhuis), Madagascar, Clean Tech & Energy, Infrastructure
MASCINCUENTAYDOS (Isabel Cristina Aranda Güémez), Mexico, Community Development
MicroGraam (Rangan Varadan), India, Agriculture & Fishing, Microfinance
MyRain (Steele Lorenz), India, Agriculture & Fishing, Economic Development
Second Home Early Child Care Network (Erica Williamson), USA, Education
Silver Linings (Phillip Cooke, SJ), Haiti, Community Development & Infrastructure
SpellAfric Initiative (Elvis Austins), Nigeria, Economic Development, Education
STAMP (Keneth Ndua), Nairobi, Clean Tech & Energy, Water & Sanitation
Tadreesna (Noura Sa'd), Jordan, Education, Information & Communications Technology
Twothirds Water Inc. (Bradley Pierik), Global, Health, Water & Sanitation
UpEnergy (Sylvain Romieu), Uganda, Clean Tech & Energy, Environment
Veritas Social Empowerment, Inc. (Fr. Benigno P. Beltran), Philippines, Infrastructure
Village Energy Limited (Paola de Cecco), Uganda, Clean Tech & Energy

Details about each enterprise can be found here.

About GSBI®
GSBI is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University. The mission of the Center is to accelerate global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity.  GSBI programs prepare social entrepreneurs for appropriate capital so that they can build sustainable, scalable organizations that solve problems for people living in poverty around the world. The GSBI leverages Silicon Valley startup acumen and expertise to eradicate poverty through its GSBI Accelerator, GSBI Online, and GSBI Network programs. The Center’s impact capital program encourages interested but uncommitted capital to enter the impact space, and drives impact investing into underserved sectors. The Center’s education program provides practical, social justice learning opportunities for students and faculty with social enterprises. For more information about the Center and GSBI programs, visit

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