USAID Awards $767,000 Grant to Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and New Ventures India

Photo Credit: ONergy Solar

Photo Credit: ONergy Solar

Initiative aims to deliver off-grid, clean energy to 1 million Indians.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 8, 2016 — In an effort to lift one million of the 289 million people in India without electricity out of darkness, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and New Ventures India (NVI) have been awarded a $767,000 grant for an Energy Access Investment Readiness Program. This public-private partnership, made possible by the generous support of the American people through USAID, has the goal to enable delivery of clean, innovative, off-grid power to people in India who currently lack energy access.

Under the program, NVI will facilitate the investment of $41 million of impact capital over three years to support local social enterprises that are able to deliver clean energy. Already, close to $5 million has been committed to the program. Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) will train social entrepreneurs in India to help them become investment-ready and able to increase the reach of their businesses and resulting impact.

“This grant from USAID further validates Miller Center’s GSBI methodology, which helps social enterprises worldwide apply Silicon Valley business principles to scale their impact,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D.,executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “GSBI mentors will work in India with the social entrepreneurs and continue mentoring them remotely as the entrepreneurs build partnerships, overcome business model challenges, and obtain investments. We believe social entrepreneurship is an effective agent for change to address serious global issues including energy poverty and climate change.”

Addressing Energy Access and Climate Resilience

Of the 1.3 billion people globally without electricity access, approximately 20 percent are in India. Entrepreneurs seeking to supply clean energy products and services to these households face numerous challenges in entering the market, overcoming barriers to scaling their operations, and accessing managerial and technical talent, and limited working capital. Miller Center’s GSBI methodology, combined with NVI’s ability to source funding from local impact investors and foundations, is expected to help overcome these challenges.

“The need for energy access in India is great,” said Sanjoy Sanyal, director of NVI. “This public-private partnership and grant from USAID promises to make a real difference in the lives and livelihoods of a million Indians, and the benefits will radiate out to their entire communities. This program signifies a shift towards building locally-led partnerships that can identify game-changing solutions in addressing development problems such as clean energy.”


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. 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 degrees and engineering Ph.D.’s. 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

About the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | (408)-554-5121
Colleen Martell | Martell Communications for Miller Center | | (408) 832-0147