Thirteen Global Social Entrepreneurs Connect to Silicon Valley Through Santa Clara University’s GSBI® Online Program
Six-month online program advances social enterprises and opens the door for social entrepreneurs anywhere in the world
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Mar. 24, 2014—Santa Clara University is leveling the playing field for social entrepreneurs from Haiti to the Democratic Republic of Congo and beyond, by providing online business mentoring to 13 early-stage social entrepreneurs.
These social entrepreneurs surmount deeply entrenched, complex challenges—human trafficking, lack of potable water, low grade health care--- with fresh, creative, context-specific solutions.
“We are ever impressed by the breadth of applicants and their innovative solutions to local challenges,” said Andy Lieberman, director of new programs and GSBI’s online program director. “Entrepreneurs---men and women---from all around the world are now being virtually transported to the Silicon Valley to take its best practices and incorporate them into their businesses.”
Five of the entrepreneurs in the latest GSBI Online class are tackling the health and environmental issues caused by cooking on open fires or rudimentary cookstoves.
“Building the capacity of clean cooking enterprises is an integral part of the Alliance’s strategy to catalyze and scale markets worldwide,” said Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. “In partnership with GSBI, the Alliance is working to unlock the potential of local enterprises and develop a strong pipeline of investment opportunities across the clean cooking solutions value chain.”
The Global Social Benefit Institute, the flagship program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, aims to foster such lasting solutions into sustainable organizations with a social mission -- whether nonprofit, for-profit, or hybrid. The GSBI offers two capacity development programs to global social entrepreneurs, regardless of sector and at no cost to the entrepreneur: the GSBI Accelerator, for more-advanced social enterprises seeking to scale their business, and GSBI Online, for earlier-stage ventures seeking basic business training. Both programs are designed for high engagement between entrepreneurs and program staff and mentors.
GSBI Online was piloted starting in 2012, in partnership with World Bank, to employ online learning technology to distill and disseminate lessons via webinars and online modules. The program is receiving high reviews from the participating social enterprises and an 84 percent completion rate, far above the average of 6.8 percent for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
This six-month program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with one experienced, start-up savvy Silicon Valley executive as hands-on adviser. The result is a robust business model, more confident team members, and a plan for reaching the next level of scale.
Sponsors of the GSBI Online program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials, Skoll Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney.
The follow is a list of 2014 GSBI Online organizations:
We Farm, Global, runs a platform in which members can ask questions and share farming tips and advice by sending a simple, local SMS message. WeFarm uses the Internet, and a unique peer translation system to share farming knowledge by SMS with other WeFarm members around the world over the Internet.
Estufa Doña Dora, Guatemala, manufactures, distributes and installs safe, clean, and efficient wood-fired cooking stoves that utilize a rocket type high-efficiency combustion chamber. This cookstove helps Guatemalan families save money, time, and trees, while improving health and safety in the home.
IRDA, Kenya, produces and markets clean, zero carbon monoxide and smoke emissions cookstoves that are fueled by a biofuel produced from the stalk/stover of hybrid sorghum that is farmed by local communities for food, fodder, and fuel feedstock. Adapting the clean cooking solution prevents household air pollution, related illnesses and fatalities, creates jobs, increases food security, mitigates climate change and environmental degradation."
Limyè Pa w ("You Light" in Haitian Creole), Haiti, converts agricultural waste into carbon neutral electricity using innovative gasification technology. They then sell this in off-grid rural farming communities through their own distribution system.
Wana, Uganda, distributes liquefied petroleum gas as a clean, reliable and thermally efficient energy to rural, peri-urban and urban customers. Wana also distributes accessories for the use of the liquefied petroleum gas including clean cookstoves.
Emerging Cooking Solutions, Zambia, manufactures and sells cooking pellets made from rice, wheat husks, straw, peanut-shells, saw-dust or maize stoves to replace wood in cooking stoves. The product provides solutions for home cooking stoves and large scale industrial cooking facilities. Use of the product decreases Co2 emissions, prevent deforestation, decrease health risks and save people money on cooking fuel.
Takamoto Biogas, Kenya, designs and manufactures biogas systems that takes farm animal waste product to produce a biogas, which acts as crop fertilizer and electricity for the home. The electricity is purchased in a pay-as-you go fashion and credit can be added using SMS.
Wisdom Stoves, Kenya, provides the people of Kenya with improved indoor air quality, financial stability, and an improved quality of life through the manufacturing and distribution of wood gasification cook stoves.
Learnifi, India, is a social e-commerce platform that sells chapters of textbooks to Indian university students. The platform also doubles as a learning social network for students to discuss questions and get tutoring.
South Vihar Welfare Society for Tribal, India, runs programs that provide entrepreneurship and cooperative opportunities for victims of labor trafficking. They also provide preventative programs to prevent the labor trafficking of young girls from a high trafficking regions of the country.
Jacaranda Health, Kenya, is a network of private maternity clinics in underserved communities. They are innovating in areas such as mobile technology and electronic medical record keeping in order to provide patient-centered care that combines quality and affordability.
Jibu, Uganda, Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo, functions as both a franchisor and bank to help entrepreneurs launch successful safe water businesses. They provide seed-financing for franchises to create a widespread network of profitable drinking water businesses to serve the thirsty urban poor.
Water for Good, Central African Republic, is an organization which dril