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January 2015

Twenty Social Entrepreneurs Chosen for the Class of 2015 Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator

Ten-month program to advance social enterprises includes August 13–21 in-residence in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Twenty social entrepreneurs, working all over the world from Namibia to Nepal, have been selected to receive mentoring, training, and on-campus instruction as part of the Global Social Benefit Institute’s (GSBI) 13th annual GSBI Accelerator program.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 15, 2015— Twenty social entrepreneurs, working all over the world from Namibia to Nepal, have been selected to receive mentoring, training, and on-campus instruction as part of the Global Social Benefit Institute’s (GSBI) 13th annual GSBI Accelerator program. 
The entrepreneurs are using nonprofit or for-profit businesses to help solve major social problems, which include unsanitary water conditions, lack of employment or business opportunities, youth unemployment, and maternal health care. 
Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society has been training social entrepreneurs online and in-person since 2003.
“The incredible sophistication and accomplishments of this year’s class of social entrepreneurs is a reflection of the maturation of the social entrepreneurship field,” said Cassandra Staff, director of GSBI programs at Santa Clara. “We are very excited to play a role in helping them reach their goals for scale and impact.” 
The acclaimed Accelerator program pairs one leader from each social enterprise with two experienced, startup-savvy Silicon Valley executives and advisers for a total of 10 months. The aim is to help the entrepreneurs focus on and solve the largest obstacles keeping their businesses from “scaling,” or reaching exponentially more beneficiaries.
After six months of online work with GSBI staff and mentors, the cohort will come to Santa Clara University’s campus Aug. 12 for nine days of focused, customized work on concepts such as investment readiness and operational excellence. On Aug. 20 the entrepreneurs pitch their businesses before an audience of “impact investors” and others interested in accelerating the work of social entrepreneurs, at an “Investor Showcase.” 
This year, the GSBI Accelerator received hundreds of applications from social entrepreneurs to attend the program. The chosen businesses have demonstrated robust business models that are “scalable,” or capable of increasing exponentially while maintaining profitability and viability, as well as a proven ability to alleviate poverty and adverse conditions in their communities.
Sponsors of the GSBI Accelerator program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney.
Twenty-one percent of the social enterprises are operating in Kenya; 17 percent are operating in India; 30 percent of the entrepreneurs are women. A list of this year’s class, their locations, and their impact are below, as well as on the GSBI website (
Judith Joan Walker; African Clean Energy (ACE); Lesotho South Africa; efficient biomass cookstove producer.
Impact: Sold 25,000 stoves to date, and substantially improved the lives of an estimated 100,000 people.
Pavin Pankajan; Aquasafi Purification System; India; water purification provider.
AquaSafi has established state-of-the-art water purification units across several villages in the Gadag district in Karnataka, India.
Impact: Established 101 water stores in 100 villages. Each store delivers water to a minimum 200 households. In total, the water stores provide clean drinking water to around 100,000 people every day. 
Sanjay Banka; Banka BioLoo; India; installer of biotoilets to treat human waste with bacterial cultures.
Impact: Installed over 570 public and private facilities with over 25,000 daily users. Approximately 1,252,500 kg of waste is treated per year and 115,000 liters of water are recycled daily.
Eric Sorensen; Carbon Roots International; Haiti; converter of agricultural waste biomass to carbon char dust for cooking briquettes.
 Impact: Created over 150 jobs, paid smallholder Haitian farmers over $40,000 in direct income for their raw materials, and produced over 200 tons of green charcoal. The charcoal saves over a kiloton of tree wood. 
Rob Taylor; Columba Leadership; South Africa; youth development.
Impact: Since 2009, Columba Leadership has run 145 academies and produced over 2000 graduates. 
Anya Cherneff; Empower Generation; Nepal; trainer of women as energy entrepreneurs.
Impact: EG’s women-led distribution business includes seven women-led businesses that employ a network of over 50 administrators, technicians, and sales agents. The network has made over 10,000 solar sales and gave over 34,000 people cleaner, safer, and less expensive homes.
Prashanth Venkataramana; Essmart; India; retail marketplace builder in rural locales.
Impact: Operate six distribution centers and work with a network of over 510 local retail shops, some of which have improved their earnings by 10 percent since starting to work with Essmart. Sold over 6,500 life-improving technologies and impacted over 26,000 end users.  
Renata Szeles; Gastromotiva - Food HUB; Brazil; culinary training and kitchen rental space for micro-entrepreneurs.
Impact: Trained over 1,000 people. 
Jonathan Mativo; ICT for Development; Kenya; supplies community-based information and communications technology and job training.
Impact: Trained 17,311 people in three countries in three years. 
Rebecca Kaduru; KadAfrica; Uganda; producer and seller of passion fruit and trainer of girls in agribusiness.
Impact: Over 962 out-of-school girls in Western Uganda have begun passion fruit farms. More than 600 girls have been provided land and begun clearing for planting. There are 19 passion fruit growing cooperatives and 60,000 quality seedlings planted on 92 acres of rent-free land. More than 23,000 kilograms of passion fruit produced, purchased, and transported to date. 
Kirsten Gagnaire; Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA); Global, including South Africa, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria; provider of health messages to expecting women and their families via mobile phones.
Impact: In two years, reached nearly 2 million women with MAMA programs and nearly 1 million more via organizations who use MAMA content.
Michael Njoroge; Multi-link Investments Group; Kenya; clean cookstoves.
Impact: 25,012 stoves sold. 
Anoop Ratnaker Rao; Naandi Community Water Services; India; builder and operator of Community Water Centers (CWCs) for safe, reliable, and affordable water
Impact: Secured access to safe drinking water for more than 500,000 people in 375 villages.
Dr. Asher Hasan; Naya Jeevan; Pakistan and Mexico; provider of health insurance to working poor.
Impact: Enrolled more than 100 institut