Skip to main content

April 2014

Humane Business Practiced Here: Global Jesuit Universities Meeting May 19-21 at SCU to Share Ways to Better Foster "Social Entrepreneurs"

In the vein of "humane capitalism" that's been urged by Pope Francis, a group of universities – most of them Jesuit – interested in advancing "social entrepreneurs" will come to SCU May 19-21, to learn best practices from one another.

Meeting of "GSBI Network" Brings Together Universities Helping Social Entrepreneurs to Help the Poor

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Apr. 30, 2014 --A wave of activity is underway by Jesuit universities to help battle the sort of inhumane capitalism and indifference to the poor that Pope Francis warned against in his exhortation last November. The tool these universities are increasingly embracing is “social entrepreneurship,” with universities incubating businesses that serve the poor; teaching students to start or support them; or conducting research on their social benefit.

Helping Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs use businesses and innovative business strategies to solve humanity’s biggest problems—poverty; health-care scarcity; toxic cooking fuel; or agricultural unsustainability.  They often have “triple bottom lines” – a goal of making a profit and creating a lasting business; having a measurable impact on social problems, and conserving the Earth’s resources.

Santa Clara University has for more than 12 years run mentoring programs to help social entrepreneurs expand their impact, as part of its Jesuit mission for a humane, sustainable world.  It also offers classes in such topics, and an undergraduate fellowship to work directly with these entrepreneurs. In recent years, about a dozen Jesuit universities worldwide have started similar programs, or have become interested in working with social entrepreneurs in other ways.

Global Meeting May 19-21

Now, interested Universities from Philippines, Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia, Italy and Spain, will be meeting at Santa Clara University  May 19 – 22 for a meeting of the “GSBI Network,” a group of universities – most of them Jesuit – interested in advancing this promising way of helping the poor.  In attendance will be Michael J. Garanzini, S.J., the Secretary for Higher Education for the Society of Jesus and president of Loyola University in Chicago.

Media are invited to attend by RSVPing to Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations, 408-554-5121 or

At the meeting, there will be numerous “best practices” sessions, during which the schools will learn lessons from SCU’s 12 years of experience in how to train entrepreneurs and how to get students involved in helping, researching and fostering social entrepreneurs.  And SCU educators will learn lessons from what other schools are doing, including: 

*ESADE in Spain mentors a half-dozen social entrepreneurs a year in partnership with the Catholic Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (in Peru). It also mentors 10 a year in Spain through its Momentum Project.

* Ateneo de Manila has set up a Center for Social Entrepreneurship and hosted a social entrepreneurship conference in the Philippines last November.

*A Philippines meeting of the East Asian Jesuit business school deans in November included a session on incorporating social entrepreneurship into their curriculum. 

Besides SCU, other Jesuit universities who will be in attendance at the GSBI Network meeting are (*indicates they are members of GSBI Network): from Mexico (Universidad Jesuita de Tijuana); from the Philippines (Ateneo de Manila*);  from Spain (ESADE Business School* and Universidad Loyola Andalucia*); from Taiwan (Fu Jen*) and from the U.S. (Le Moyne; Marquette; Loyola Chicago).    Representatives from the non-Jesuit Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)*, of Mexico, will also be attending.

Future Collaboration Among Jesuit Universities

After the Network event, organizers hope the participants will expand their social entrepreneurship work in a variety of ways:

*Help more students to incubate ideas to address the needs of the poor, and launch more social enterprises.

*Cross pollination of ideas for how to incorporate career discernment into research work by students (Nine out of 10 students in SCU’s first class of social entrepreneurship fellows are now pursuing jobs or higher education in socially beneficial business.)

*Students immersions to one another’s schools and social entrepreneurs

*Faculty fellows and joint research projects across participating Jesuit universities.

*Phil Cooke, S.J., is currently a fellow at CSTS working on a project to help non-University Jesuits working in a variety of ministries to learn more about social entrepreneurship.

*John Kohler, director of “Impact Capital” at SCU’s Center, will be going to Rome in mid-June to participate in a two-day conference devoted to how the Church can better sponsor and promote social entrepreneurs through investing that looks at both “bottom lines:” profits and social benefit.

For more information about the GSBI Network, see an op-ed in Marketwatch.

For more information on the GSBI Network event, see this flyer.