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April 2022

Photo of Miller Center Alumna Manka Angwafo, co-founder of Grasslands Cameroon

Photo of Miller Center Alumna Manka Angwafo, co-founder of Grasslands Cameroon

Miller Center Launches Investment Fund for Social Entrepreneurship Alumni

A new funding vehicle, Miller Center Invest, aims to catalyze $500 million for alumni of Miller Center's social-entrepreneurship programs.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., April 13, 2022 – Miller Center Invest is a new funding vehicle designed to unlock and catalyze capital for social enterprises that are women-led and local leaders typically left behind in the impact investing ecosystem. Announced today, the fund aspires to catalyze $500 million for Miller Center’s global network of social enterprise alumni, with a focus on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment.

“Our high-performing social enterprise alumni can change the world with access to capital,” said Brigit Helms, executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “We are celebrating 25 years as a pioneer in advancing social entrepreneurship, and the creation of Miller Center Invest is a natural next step.”

Anchor investors include John A. Sobrato ’60, whose $5 million impact investment through Sobrato Philanthropies will be unlocked as Miller Center Invest raises a matching amount of investment capital from other impact investors. The Miller Family Foundation has also committed to participate as an anchor investor.

“As a long-time supporter of Miller Center and Santa Clara University more broadly, we see entrepreneurship as an essential tool to address many of the world’s social and environmental challenges,” said Sobrato, SCU trustee and founder & board chair emeritus of The Sobrato Organization. “Our $5 million investment aims to catalyze the launch of this new fund, attracting investment capital from other impact investors who share our motivation to seek significant impact alongside financial returns.”

More than 1,300 alumni have participated in Miller Center accelerator programs, and an additional 50-100 social entrepreneurs are added each year, making for a strong pipeline. This, combined with Miller Center Invest’s willingness to make the “first” investment in an enterprise, serves as an incentive for other investors to join, while also diminishing the risk.

Miller Center Invest includes two funds for its top-performing social enterprises: the Innovation Fund for post revenue start-ups and the Growth Fund for early growth stage. The two funds will offer ticket sizes between $50,000 and $2 million and will seek to offer a range of financial instruments tailored to the unique needs of social enterpises.

A partnership with Santa Clara University will enable engagement with student teams to support screening, research and due diligence on potential investments, under the supervision of Miller Center mentors, staff and outside fund managers. Investments are anticipated to begin this summer.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the foremost university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world. With an emphasis on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment, we accelerate social entrepreneurship to eliminate global poverty. Located at Santa Clara University (SCU), we have served more than 1,300 social entrepreneurs, engaged 162 SCU students in field research, and currently work with more than 300 business leaders from around the world who participate as mentors in our programs.

About Santa Clara University
Founded in 1851, Santa Clara University sits in the heart of Silicon Valley—the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial region. The University’s stunningly landscaped 106-acre campus is home to the historic Mission Santa Clara de Asís. Ranked among the top 15 percent of national universities by U.S. News & World Report, SCU has among the best four-year graduation rates in the nation and is rated by PayScale in the top 1 percent of universities with the highest-paid graduates. SCU has produced elite levels of Fulbright Scholars as well as four Rhodes Scholars. With undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, and graduate programs in six disciplines, the curriculum blends high-tech innovation with social consciousness grounded in the tradition of Jesuit, Catholic education.  For more information see 

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121
Rhonda Brauer| Miller Center | | 310-508-0426


Press Release, Social Entrepreneurship
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Manka Angwafo, co-founder of Miller Center alumni organization, Grasslands Cameroon