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August 2016

Photo Credit: Pollinate Energy

Photo Credit: Pollinate Energy

International Social Entrepreneurs Punctuate 10-Month Accelerator Program with an Investor Showcase at Santa Clara University

Miller Center social entrepreneurs will fine-tune business plans with their Silicon Valley mentors and pitch impact investors on plans addressing serious global issues

International Social Entrepreneurs Punctuate 10-Month Accelerator Program with an Investor Showcase at Santa Clara University

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 4, 2016—For the past six months, 14 social entrepreneurs in countries such as Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar and Rwanda have worked individually with Silicon Valley executive mentors to hone their social enterprise business plans. On Aug. 18, the participants in the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship will take the next important step in their social enterprises’ development: presenting their business plans to a roomful of impact investors during the invitation-only GSBI Investor Showcase.

GSBI Investor Showcase Supports Obama’s and Pope’s Social Entrepreneurship Efforts
This 4th Annual GSBI Accelerator Investor Showcase coincides with other high-level recent attention paid to social entrepreneurship and impact investing. In June, President Obama hosted his 7th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Silicon Valley, where he talked with entrepreneurs from 150 countries about tackling global challenges. Also in June, Pope Francis led the second Vatican Impact Investment Conference, which aims to bridge the worlds of impact investing and Catholic social ministries serving the poor.

“Miller Center is aligned with the goals of both the Obama administration and the Vatican conference, supporting social entrepreneurs who are striving to solve the world’s largest problems—the elimination of poverty, the advancement of women and girls, and climate resilience in the face of global climate change,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “Hosting the GSBI Accelerator social entrepreneurs here in Silicon Valley is significant because this region has that special ‘jet fuel’ for entrepreneurs that you can’t find anywhere else. During the Investor Showcase, impact investors have a chance to evaluate promising social entrepreneurs in person, without having to travel the globe to meet them.”

Impact Investing Powers Social Entrepreneurship
Among the attendees at the Investor Showcase are impact investors: those whose investments take into account positive social and environmental impact as well as financial return.

“Unlike venture capital or traditional donor-based funding, the goal of impact investing is to balance social/environmental and financial goals, which makes it a highly aligned and important source of capital for many social enterprises,” said Miller Center’s John Kohler, an impact-investing expert and speaker at the pope’s Vatican conference. “Impact investment dovetails with our GSBI programs, which help social entrepreneurs to apply proven business solutions to the problems of poverty, so that their enterprises can become more successful and affect exponentially more people.”

Miller Center puts special emphasis on social enterprises working to empower poor women and girls–particularly those in areas affected by climate change. Of the 14 social enterprises in this year’s GSBI Accelerator cohort, eight are women-led or specifically benefit women, and six focus on resilience to climate change. They are working to solve problems ranging from impure water and unemployed youth to farming droughts and dangerous childbirth. Their businesses are positively impacting 27 countries across Latin America, Africa, Asia, India, and North America.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University in California. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry and theology; and law and engineering doctoral degrees. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Information for Investors
The Investor showcase is not open to the general public, but some invitation-only seats are available. Interested investors, social enterprises, donors or like-minded organizations may request an invitation at or email The event will also be live-streamed at

Media Contacts:
Pat Haines | Miller Center | 408-551-7118 |
Colleen Martell | Martell Communications for Miller Center | | (408) 832-0147



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