Tomorrow, eighteen social entrepreneurs making impact around the world will showcase their work in front of an audience of investors and will highlight the hard work they have been doing over the past 10 months in the GSBI® In-Residence accelerator program.
To me, this event is one of the most inspiring days of my year and it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the potential for these enterprises to scale their impact and truly help change the world. But the skeptic inside me also wonders how many of these ambitious social entrepreneurs will deliver on their promises and projections? Have we at Miller Center done our job and equipped these entrepreneurs with the tools they need to scale and to become architects of hope?
Looking back at the 2017 GSBI In-Residence accelerator lends us some insights and I am happy to report that our alumni’s ambitions are matched by their ability to deliver.
Out of the 14 social entrepreneurs that pitched at last year’s showcase, over 50% of them were successful in meeting or exceeding their justifiable ask or the investment request they and their mentors think is “justifiable" based on their financial model and ability to meet their operational growth targets. As a cohort, they have raised a median of ~$500,000 and a cumulative total of over $12 million.
Raising investment is one thing, but are these enterprises able to utilize this capital they receive to grow their social impact and serve more people? Happily, the answer here is a resounding yes! Last year’s cohort on average doubled their impact in the 12 months since graduation and some have seen growth in the 5x range.
One of last years’ Social Entrepreneurs who has had transformational success since last year’s showcase is Wawira Njiru, CEO of Food 4 Education. In Kenya, where food for education works, 1 in 5 children are developmentally stunted due to malnourishment. Food 4 Education provides high quality, nutritious meals to students in Kenyan public primary schools to improve their nutrition and education outcomes. They use a social enterprise model that caters healthy and convenient meals to Kenyan corporates and private institutions and uses the profits to provide the nutritious lunches that keep children in school, improve their learning ability and opportunities to use education as a means to break out of the cycle of poverty.
When Wawira joined the GSBI program in 2016, Food 4 Education was one of our earliest stage enterprises; they had raised less than $100,000 in investment and had served only 2,500 school children.
Since graduating from the GSBI accelerator, Wawira has attracted some of the most influential partners in the impact investing space. Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation invested shortly after Wawira completed the program, and Mulago Foundation recently named her as one of the fellows in their newest class.
Food 4 Education has now grown their investment from $100,000 to $550,000 and has utilized this investment to more than double their social impact from 2,500 children served to over 6,000.
Food 4 Education is just one example of the many social enterprises that have grown their impact dramatically since last year’s showcase and we would invite you to review their progress on our GSBI Alumni Database.
This retrospective gets me even more excited to be working with this 2018 class of GSBI In-Residence accelerator social enterprises. When I am watching the pitches tomorrow, I will be inspired by not only the audacious ambition of our social enterprises to create change, but the data that gives me faith that they will be successful in meeting their goals.
Please join us at the showcase or watch through our livestream. I look forward to connecting you with any of the social entrepreneurs you’ll see pitching.
Cover photo courtesy of Food 4 Education