The applications are closed, the interview calls have been made, the finalists have been informed and we are now preparing to welcome our 2019 GSBI® cohort. Let’s look back at this year’s recruitment journey.
About the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI)
Setting up a social enterprise to impact the lives of those living in poverty is not a bed of roses. At Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we understand the hardships; we know the questions that keep social entrepreneurs awake at night, and we recognize the positive benefits entrepreneurs reap from a support system made up of those who have walked a similar path.
Each year, our Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBIⓇ) programs help social entrepreneurs make their journey exciting and a little less lonely. Since 2003, Miller Center has accelerated 900+ social enterprises, who have raised over $940M+, and positively impacted the lives of 320M+ people.
How do we do it?
The world is filled with social entrepreneurs making their impact within or outside their local communities. This makes it difficult to handpick only a few for our GSBI cohorts every year. To narrow down our criteria, GSBI supports social entrepreneurs who run non-profit, for-profit or hybrid businesses that are operational and aimed at improving the lives of people living in poverty.
What did we do differently this year?
In addition to selecting entrepreneurs to participate in GSBI Online, In-Residence, JumpStart, Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins (SEM), or Technology Entrepreneurship for Change (TECh) programs which include combined curriculum and mentorship, we launched four affinity groups which solely focus on Bay Area impact, last mile distribution, energy, and women-led enterprises. These affinity groups will have additional exclusive content and peer-to-peer collaboration opportunities.
ENERGY affinity group consists of organizations that are focused on ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for people living in poverty.
LAST MILE DISTRIBUTION affinity group has organizations that build distribution channels for a range of beneficial products and services to rural or urban populations.
BAY AREA-BASED IMPACT is for organizations that focus on beneficiaries within the San Francisco Bay Area.
WOMEN-LED affinity group has organizations whose founding or executive team is woman-led.
Brief insights and comparisons of last year’s recruitment journey
Through website updates, social media reminders, strategic email campaigns, targeted outreach to discovery partners, and by attending in-person events like SOCAP, we actively recruit the best social entrepreneurs from around the world to apply to the GSBI. Every year, the response is overwhelming and we end up getting a high number of qualified applicants who meet our criteria.
As compared to 228 completed applications for the 2018 cohort, 196 entrepreneurs started the application for 2019 cohort. To keep the quality bar high, this year we added-in automated filters to help weed out those applicants right away who were not a fit with the program. As a result, we had a lower number of completed applications than last year but those applicants were all qualified, which resulted in selecting more applicants to move forward to the quarter-finalist interview round.
Where are our applicants from?
The answer is, everywhere! GSBI programs bring social entrepreneurs from all around the world and match them with Silicon Valley’s executive mentors who accompany them along the GSBI journey. This year, we received applications from 46 countries in total, out of which the United States, Nigeria, India, and Kenya had the most applicants.
Where do we stand on gender parity?
Gender parity is a human rights issue and a strong prerequisite for a sustainable future. With our efforts towards a gender-balanced cohort and launching exclusive women-led affinity group, we received 79 completed applications from female founders out of a total of 196, which raised the men vs women ratio to 60:40 respectively, as compared to 75:25 ratio in the year 2018.
Which sector or industry are they from?
Social entrepreneurship, in all senses, is a broad term covering a number of industries, sectors and business types. GSBI 2019 applications remained open for all social enterprises working on businesses from all sectors. According to 2019 applicants’ insights, agriculture is the leading sector where social entrepreneurs are trying to create an impact followed by education, energy, and the health sector.
What type of business do they have?
Social enterprises do not necessarily only operate nonprofit models. In fact, this year, 51% of the social enterprises that applied to GSBI are for-profit. GSBI actively supports for-profit, nonprofit and hybrid organizations. We do, however, prefer established organizations with a potential to scale their business and impact.
Insights into the 2019 GSBI Cohort Finalists
After an extensive screening process of the applicant pool, our interview team scrutinized the best possible applicants throughout the quarter-finalist, semi-finalist, and finalist interview rounds. Out of 196 completed applications, we were able to handpick the best 42 social entrepreneurs to join the 2019 GSBI cohort who will receive custom support through executive mentorship and custom learning tracks based on their organization’s stage of development.
With our Women’s Economic Empowerment initiative (WEE) efforts to bring gender parity across our programs, we were able to bring some exceptional female founders onboard.
Out of our 42 selected social entrepreneurs, 24 enterprises are making an impact through a for-profit model, 11 enterprises have a nonprofit model, 6 of them are following the hybrid approach and 1 identifies itself in ‘others’ category.
Education and Agriculture remained dominant sectors where social entrepreneurs are making their marks. Out of 42 finalists, 12 are working to solve the problems in the Education sector, 10 in Agriculture, 7 in Energy, and 4 in the Health sector.
Miller Center's GSBI program for the year 2019 is set to launch on January 29, 2019. We are thrilled to welcome all of these brilliant social entrepreneurs from around the globe and work together to scale their business and impact. To learn more about our social entrepreneurs and their enterprises, keep following Miller Center website social media updates.
About the author
Hira Saeed joined Miller Center in July 2018 through a partnership with the US Embassy in Islamabad and Atlas Corps. Hira works as a GSBI Women’s Economic Empowerment Fellow to implement new research, initiatives, and projects to help advance women’s economic empowerment through GSBI programs globally and with a specific focus in the Middle East.