Unique Accelerator Program for SF Bay Area Social Entrepreneurs Seeks Applicants

Unique Accelerator Program for SF Bay Area Social Entrepreneurs Seeks Applicants

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 24, 2018—Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County are soliciting applicants for a free, three-day, capacity-building workshop for up to 40 social entrepreneurs who are positively impacting the lives of those in need in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area GSBI® Boost will take place July 24–26, 2018 in San Jose, Calif., and will allow participating social entrepreneurs to gain valuable business knowledge. With an emphasis on improving strategic thinking, social entrepreneurs will more effectively articulate their business plans to demonstrate impact, growth, and long-term financial sustainability. It also will bring together local Bay Area social business leaders for an unparalleled networking event.

Miller Center has 15 years of experience helping more than 800 social enterprises around the world attain operational excellence and prepare for investment through its signature Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs. Boost participants will be accompanied by Silicon Valley mentors with expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship.

“We are tremendously excited to partner with Catholic Charities to bring our time-tested GSBI approach for supporting social entrepreneurs to organizations here in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Cassandra Staff, chief operating officer of Miller Center. “Even in the worldwide capital of innovation, many suffer from lack of access to basic resources.”

Social entrepreneurship helps impoverished communities in a way that is sustainable. Social entrepreneurs home in on opportunities to provide innovative, large-scale solutions to local and worldwide problems.

“Not only will these leaders work directly with Silicon Valley mentors, they will have a rare chance to collaborate with and learn from other leaders who are working to create innovative solutions to poverty in our area,” said Gregory R. Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.

After the Bay Area GSBI Boost program, up to 20 participants will have the opportunity to matriculate into the GSBI® Online accelerator—a six-month, mentored, virtual program where organizations develop business models and strategies to sustainably grow their enterprises. Those selected for the GSBI Online accelerator program will have an opportunity to showcase their plans for scaling with a justifiable ask at a Silicon Valley event.

The Bay Area GSBI Boost seeks social venture leaders who:

  • Lead an existing for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid social enterprise
  • Deliver solutions that impact vulnerable, low-income, and/or underserved populations in the Bay Area
  • Have, or plan to have, an earned income component to their business model

Applications close June 1, 2018, and can be accessed at: www.scu-social-entrepreneurship.org/bayareaboost/.

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 with an emphasis on climate resilience and womenís economic empowerment. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.

About Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County
Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County has worked to strengthen families and build economic self-reliance for the poor and vulnerable in the county for more than 62 years. Each year, more than 500 employees and 1,000 volunteers serve more than 40,000 individuals of all cultures and beliefs through 34 programs. Program areas include behavioral health, youth and family services, economic development, employment, housing, immigration legal services, older adult services, refugee resettlement, refugee foster care, emergency services, and more. Catholic Charities is working to reduce poverty with social change goals that target the alleviation, prevention, and reduction of poverty in our communities. To learn more, please visit www.catholiccharitiesscc.org.

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

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121
Caroline Ocampo | Catholic Charities SCC | cocampo@catholiccharitiesscc.org | 408-325-5122
Adelene Gallego Ramos | Catholic Charities SCC | aramos@catholiccharitiesscc.org | 408-325-5123 

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Selects 21 Social Enterprises for Accelerator Focused on Refugees, Migrants, and Human Trafficking

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Selects 21 Social Enterprises for Accelerator Focused on Refugees, Migrants, and Human Trafficking

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 15, 2018— Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University has selected 21 organizations to participate in its pioneering Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins (SEM) accelerator program, focused on social enterprises serving migrants, refugees, and human trafficking survivors around the world.

Leveraging 15 years of experience accelerating over 890 social enterprises in 65 countries, Miller Center will accompany the SEM cohort through its world-class Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Online accelerator program and host an SEM Showcase on October 23 in the San Francisco Bay Area, preceding the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) conference.

“Climate change and conflict are driving more families from their homes; poverty continues to place young women and men at risk of modern-day slavery,” remarked Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center.  “We are inspired by the geographical diversity of over 100 applicants and the imaginative solutions they have developed to restore dignity to the most marginalized among our common human family.”

Globally, there are 22.5 million refugees, 65.6 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, and a record 244 million migrants, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. Estimates of the number of modern-day slaves range from 21 million to 46 million.

The SEM accelerator program will be the fourteenth GSBI Online accelerator cohort since its 2011 pilot with the World Bank. The finalists have impact in 24 countries globally, with the largest numbers of enterprises working on the ground regionally in southeast Asia, East Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

734coffee employs refugees in small-scale coffee farming, connects their product to the global marketplace, and is led by Manyang Kher, a former refugee.

1951 Coffee Company provides job training and employment to refugees while educating the surrounding community about refugee life and issues.

African Entrepreneur Collective offers business development support and direct investments to refugee entrepreneurs living in Rwanda.

Courageous Kitchen Inc provides Thai cooking classes for tourists visiting Bangkok; it uses the profits to provide food aid and educational services to vulnerable urban refugees.

Destiny Reflection leads a number of charitable projects, including the for-profit Reflection business that employs human trafficking survivors to make fashion accessories that Reflection sells to ethical businesses.

Dreamlopments Ltd Dreamlopments offers private, low-cost, and not-for-profit health insurance through its M-FUND to unregistered migrants in Thailand, enabling them to access affordable, comprehensive, quality health-care services.

Five One Labs provides intensive training, mentorship, community, and seed funding to help internally displaced refugees in Iraq launch and grow businesses.

Leaf Global Fintech offers financial services to the stateless and excluded through Blockchain technology and digital currency to facilitate secure asset storage and transport.

Makers Unite runs talent development and matchmaking programs for refugees in The Netherlands, engaging them and local community members in the collaborative production of sustainable products.

MORE THAN ONE PERSPECTIVE (MTOP) runs an associate program, an advanced 3-6 month training program, prepares highly qualified refugees with backgrounds in IT, engineering, and business for entry into the Austrian labor market.

Needslist manages an online marketplace that allows donors to view and meet real-time needs for displaced people globally.

Potential Energy manufactures and distributes the Berkeley Darfur Stove, an energy-efficient stove for rural, refugee families.

Re:Coded runs a signature coding bootcamp for conflict-affected youth, the first of its kind in Iraq and Turkey, providing them transferable skills.

Refugee Company offers job skills trainings and placement in fields including hospitality, textile manufacturing, marketing, and solar panel technology for refugees who have been resettled in The Netherlands.

Refugees{code} is building a coding school for refugees to integrate them into the job market in Austria.

Regenesys BPO provides digital outsourcing services to US-based companies by training human trafficking survivors. Based in Philippines, Regenesys is expanding to Cambodia.

Relevee trains trafficking survivors in India to be fine jewelry makers and sells the products online and in high-end stores.

Scheherazade Initiatives offers participatory theater workshops that develop knowledge and awareness around issues affecting migrants and refugees and help refugees and migrants build life skills to build new homes in their host communities.

Talent Beyond Boundaries matches skilled refugees to global employment opportunities, creating a durable, private sector driven solution that enables refugees to use labor visas and pursue productive lives based on their skills.

WorkAround is an impact sourcing provider of translation, transcription, data entry and scrubbing, image and keyword tagging, research, and human input for machine learning that helps companies get more done for less while providing jobs to talented refugees.

Zero Trafficking LLC sells enterprise SaaS solutions that utilize artificial intelligence to eradicate human trafficking.

Each social enterprise will be accompanied by two Silicon Valley executive mentors through a structured curriculum that helps it discern how to scale its impact. The SEM Showcase will afford the social enterprise and impact investing communities opportunities to learn about innovative business models and technology innovations from the cohort participants. 

Foundations and family offices with interest in refugees, migrants, or human trafficking survivors are invited to join Miller Center on its journey to transform dysfunctional systems through entrepreneurship. The Chao Foundation and Vodafone Foundation have already stepped forward to support the SEM program.

"Women and girls are disproportionately affected by human trafficking, the global refugee crisis, and migration. The Vodafone Americas Foundation is working to create greater economic opportunity and to close the gender gap for women and girls,” said June Sugiyama, Vodafone Americas Foundation Director.  "The organizations in this cohort are doing instrumental work to enable women and girls to thrive."

“The Chao Foundation/Transparent Fish Fund is committed to serving children in disadvantaged regions and to promoting a spirit of philanthropy,” said Doug Tsui, Board member and Adviser to The Chao Foundation/Transparent Fish Fund. “Partnering with Miller Center in its pioneering work to accelerate these unique social enterprises helps us advance both elements of our mission.” 

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful social enterprise accelerator in the world. Founded in 1997, Miller Center is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University and is located in the heart of the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem. We leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ethos of Silicon Valley and underpin it with the Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.

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 www.scu.edu.

Media Contacts
Rhonda Brauer | RBrauer Consulting for Miller Center | Rhonda@RBrauerconsult.com | (213) 300-2717

Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | dlohse@scu.edu | (408) 554-5121

 

Banner photo courtesy of Re-Coded.

“Mitigating Poverty and Protecting the Planet Through Social Entrepreneurship ”

“Mitigating Poverty and Protecting the Planet Through Social Entrepreneurship ”

 

Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) welcomes new cohorts of social entrepreneurs seeking to end global poverty and protect the planet, with a focus on women’s economic empowerment and climate resilience.  

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 12, 2018 —Forty-one organizations from around the world have been selected to participate in the largest and most successful university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world, the Global Social Benefit Institute, (GSBI®).  

Located at Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, GSBI  has for 15 years brought together global social enterprise leaders with Silicon Valley business executives, student fellows and funders.  This, along with a proven methodology, has assisted social entrepreneurs in reaching their next levels of business growth and impact.

Masters of the “Missing Middle”

Miller Center has an established expertise in helping social entrepreneurs navigate a notoriously difficult phase of  funding known as the “missing middle.” That’s when they’ve exhausted grants or other early-phase startup funds, but have not yet developed a blueprint to scale or established the investment readiness to garner between $50,000 and $2 million investments. The incoming cohorts of social entrepreneurs will work with their executive mentors to identify appropriate growth and funding strategies, with supporting materials. In total, Miller Center has supported 819 social enterprises that have raised $580 million in funding, allowing them to positively impact 259 million people.

Two GSBI Accelerator Cohorts

Of the organizations selected  for GSBI 2018, one group of 20 social enterprises will attend the 9-month GSBI In-residence accelerator, geared toward mature organizations that are on the cusp of scaling —taking their businesses to new geographic regions or reaching exponentially more beneficiaries. GSBI In-residence accelerator participants come to Santa Clara University’s Silicon Valley campus for ten days in the summer, for intensive mentoring and preparation for short presentations to an audience of 200 at an annual Investor Showcase.  

Another 21 will receive six months of online-only training, via the GSBI Online accelerator, geared toward emerging social enterprises that need help validating their business models, developing strategies for growth, and creating communication tools for investors and partners. They receive customized online mentoring from individually matched, seasoned volunteer executive mentors.

Women and Climate Focused

In keeping with Miller Center’s mission,  the enterprises chosen to receive training are focused primarily in two areas related to poverty eradication: Women Rising or Climate Resilience. Companies like Bidhaa Sasa, ClickMedix, and ENVenture are led by women and support women through employment opportunities or health-access tools. Organizations like Azimuth,  EarthSpark International, Good Nature Agro, SEWA Grih Rin Limited, and Untapped are helping communities develop capacity to withstand the effects of climate change by providing renewable and off-grid energy products and tools, developing and increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers, creating more affordable housing options, and helping secure clean water.

“Climate change affects the poor the most, and among the poor, women and children. Creating resilience to climate change in poor communities and economically empowering women are the most powerful levers for poverty eradication," said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center. "We are delighted to welcome two more GSBI accelerator cohorts to our family of social enterprises committed to creating a more just, humane, and sustainable world."

Miller Center received applications from 250 organizations.

The program has achieved stellar results in its 15 years of operation:

  • 819 social entrepreneurs have gone through GSBI accelerator programs

  • Alumni organizations have raised $580 million in investments

  • Alumni have collectively impacted 259 million lives through their social enterprises.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world. Founded in 1997, Miller Center is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University and is located in the heart of the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem. We leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ethos of Silicon Valley and underpin it with the Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.

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 www.scu.edu.

Media Contacts
Rhonda Brauer | RBrauer Consulting for Miller Center | Rhonda@RBrauerconsult.com | (213) 300-2717
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | (408) 554-5121

Miller Center Launches “Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins” Program

Miller Center Launches “Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins” Program

For the first time, up to 20 global social enterprises serving migrants, refugees, and human-trafficking survivors will receive training through Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s 15-year-old accelerator program

SANTA CLARA, Calif, Feb. 6, 2018—Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is launching a special Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Online accelerator program focused on boosting the business skills, investment readiness, and social impact of organizations that serve migrants, refugees, and human-trafficking survivors.

The new seven-month Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins (SEM) accelerator will draw on Miller Center’s 15 years of experience successfully preparing social enterprises for investment and growth.  The program will culminate in an Oct. 23 Investor Showcase in the San Francisco Bay Area, affording participants an opportunity to meet investors at the influential annual SOCAP (social capital) meeting .

Globally, there are 22.5 million refugees, 65.6 million people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes, and a record 244 million migrants, according to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees. Estimates of the number of modern-day slaves range from 21 million to 46 million.

Social enterprises selected to participate in the SEM accelerator will benefit from the proven GSBI Online accelerator curriculum, Silicon Valley mentors who accompany them and serve as trusted advisers, and the collective wisdom gained from accelerating over 800 social enterprises in 65 countries.

“At its core, the Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins accelerator is about recognizing and restoring the dignity each human being deserves. Instead of drawing boundaries and building walls, Miller Center will lead the charge in distinguishing SCU as a stalwart ally for some of the most marginalized and victimized peoples in our world,” said Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J. “This is entrepreneurship for humanity, and I am heartened by the potential for helping migrants, aiding refugees, and curbing human trafficking.”

The cohort will be limited to 20 participants; as with all Miller Center accelerator programs, social enterprises are not charged to participate.

“We envision a world where all people are architects of their own futures. Poverty, climate change, and violence have led to unprecedented number of refugees, migrants, and human trafficking victims,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center. “In the Jesuit tradition, we seek to accelerate innovative and entrepreneurial solutions that restore dignity to the most vulnerable among us.”

Interested social entrepreneurs should apply before the March 16 deadline at http://www.scu.edu/millercenter/sem.

Impact investors interested in social enterprises focused on migrants, refugees, and human-trafficking survivors can contact Mark Correnti, director of impact investing at Miller Center at mcorrenti@scu.edu.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is the largest and most successful social enterprise accelerator in the world. Founded in 1997, Miller Center is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University and is located in the heart of the world’s most entrepreneurial ecosystem. We leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative ethos of Silicon Valley and underpin it with the Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.

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 www.scu.edu.

Media Contacts
Rhonda Brauer | RBrauer Consulting for Miller Center | Rhonda@RBrauerconsult.com | (213) 300-2717
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | dlohse@scu.edu | (408) 554-5121

Photo credit: Larry Hanelin

Seeing Beyond Silos: A More Holistic Approach to Supporting Social Entrepreneurs

Seeing Beyond Silos: A More Holistic Approach to Supporting Social Entrepreneurs

Originally posted on NextBillion.net

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 16, 2018 - Social enterprises, and small and growing businesses (SGBs) are run by a special breed of entrepreneur: Not only do they address some of the world’s most pressing (and challenging) issues, but they must do so while also running a sustainable business. Despite their many talents, these entrepreneurs can’t achieve these goals on their own, which raises a question: What’s the best way to support them and boost their businesses?

These questions often come up in global development circles, and there are no shortage of answers. At Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, we believe two things are needed to improve the support that leads to enterprise scaling. The first is a higher-level, collective approach to funding and capacity development. The second is a renewed focus on the role of accelerators.

Two recent reports shed interesting light on the broader issue of how best to support entrepreneurial and social entrepreneurial endeavors. In its “Insights from USAID’s Support for Small and Growing Businesses” report, USAID’s Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) initiative identifies barriers preventing entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential, including “access to financing networks, market information, business development services and market infrastructure.” According to the report, “These entrepreneurs find themselves in the ‘pioneer gap’— too big for seed funding, but too risky for traditional investment.”

For its part, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) uses its “Beyond Investment: The Power of Capacity-Building Support” report to propose that impact investors use “[c]apacity-building support, also known as technical assistance…to complement their investments and expand and deepen their impact.”

We see merit in many of the points made in both of these reports, including the conclusion that accelerators add value and that they need funding. But we’d like to push the discussion further to advocate for a more holistic perspective around how entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs are funded and accelerated, including how best to address the specific needs of women-led enterprises.

 

COORDINATED DIVISION OF LABOR

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an entire ecosystem to shepherd an entrepreneurial venture from inception through scaling. Unfortunately, too often the various actors in the ecosystem take a splintered approach to working with entrepreneurs. Two important categories of ecosystem actors are:

  • Funding sources, such as grants from foundations, or equity investments from impact investors or traditional venture capitalists, which follow a number of different strategies that have different expectations for both who qualifies for the investment and how much return that investment should yield.
  • Accelerators and other intermediaries, which provide technical support, business mentoring, and other ways to strengthen entrepreneurs’ ability to operate and grow their businesses.

In practice, there’s considerable overlap between what each of these two categories might provide to any given SGB or social enterprise. And we think that’s a problem because it can lead to either duplicated efforts or missing pieces in enterprises’ support systems.

For instance, while the GIIN report advocated for investors to expand their role in providing capacity development support for their investees, doing so threatens to cut into investors’ already small margins, and it moves them outside of their own core capacity. Investor-led capacity development also neglects the market need to support enterprises that are not yet “investment ready.”

Meanwhile, there is a growing trend for accelerators to make financial investments in their portfolio companies—either to offset a portion of their costs or to directly support an enterprise’s scaling.

Introducing investment possibilities into an acceleration program is potentially problematic because:

  • It detracts from the accelerator’s ability to make unbiased recommendations about a course that aligns with the mission, vision and values of the enterprise;
  • It narrows the investment perspective by evaluating financial returns only as they relate to the ultimate impact of the enterprise;
  • It forces accelerators to dedicate resources to investment management processes that are rarely offset by potential returns;
  • Perhaps most importantly, it hinders accelerators’ ability to work with organizations still at very early stages of development to fill the pipeline of investment-ready businesses.

What’s needed is a more collaborative approach that bridges the siloed perspectives of investors, accelerators or advisors, and provides a more holistic range of support – not through vertical integration, but through structured collaboration. As an example, Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) programs offer in-depth, one-on-one mentorship with highly experienced, carefully selected Silicon Valley executives, and a curriculum that at least touches on the full range of what social entrepreneurs need to know to run a successful business. The accelerator programs work to get social entrepreneurs ready for investment, and they provide access to a network of peers, partners and potential investors who can help them along the way. These activities extend well beyond an entirely investment-focused approach.

 

CASE IN POINT: SERVING ENTREPRENEURS USING A GENDER LENS

Taking a purely investment-focused perspective on building entrepreneurial capacity also fails to address the special challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. PACE reports that: “Women-led SGBs working with PACE intermediaries significantly outperform their peers, growing revenues 1.5 times faster and jobs twice as fast. Yet… women-led SGBs receive disproportionately less follow-on financing. Despite outperforming their peers in revenues and job growth, women-owned businesses struggle to receive investment.”

Accelerators can perform an important credentialing function—helping entrepreneurs who lack resources, business experience, contacts or access to financing to become trustworthy in the eyes of potential investors, customers and business partners. This credentialing function is especially important for women entrepreneurs, who historically have faced restricted admission to both the formal and informal systems that are prerequisites for business success.

At Miller Center, we have validated the effectiveness of accelerators in helping to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. After completing a GSBI accelerator program, our women-led social enterprises are able to raise more investment than our male-led enterprises. Clearly, something about the accelerator programs enables this shift.

 

SOME GUIDELINES FOR ACTION

Returning to the original question, how can we best support the success of social enterprises and SGBs? Of course, this is a multi-faceted question requiring multi-faceted answers. But here are a few suggestions we could begin implementing now:

  • Adopt a holistic, intention-based approach toward social enterprises and SGBs. It’s one thing to adopt best practices horizontally, such as within the accelerator, foundation or impact investment communities. But optimizing each actor’s role in an entrepreneur’s journey toward business success also requires working together vertically throughout the ecosystem. Beginning with the intention and desired outcomes for each social enterprise or SGB, all the various actors should coordinate their efforts toward these ultimate goals while focusing on what each does best.
    It’s worth noting that we are far from the first actor to advocate for more vertical coordination, and we commend the efforts of Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), GIIN and others to create a more collaborative ecosystem. Still, the reality remains that very few investors and accelerators have formed or formalized effective pipeline partnerships. More candid conversations and successful examples are required to bridge this gap.
  • Join forces for efficiency and alignment. Impact investors that team up with like-minded accelerators can work together to enhance the success of the entrepreneurs in their portfolios. Partnering with successful social enterprise incubators and accelerators not only promises increased efficiency for impact investors, but also enhances investors’ alignment with their portfolio companies’ business models, expectations for impact and growth, and future funding requirements.
  • Start funding accelerators. Investment in accelerators — and other intermediaries between funders and recipients of funds — can have effects beyond jobs, revenue growth and investments made. Reaching marginalized customers at the base of the pyramid requires innovative and sustainable business models. Accelerators are ideally suited to deliver training and mentoring that lead to refinements in product design, distribution models and partnerships — so that companies addressing underserved communities are better positioned for success and growth.
  • Increase the magnitude and type of funding available. Social enterprises and SGBs need more public funding, blended finance options and patient capital in general. Beyond that, they also need more options for early- and late-stage investing to bridge what Shell Foundation recently called the “growth-stage funding gap.” Bridge funding — characterized by flexibility in capital instruments, investment terms and return expectations — can be crucial for nurturing promising enterprises while providing commercial investors with greater incentive to become involved with social enterprises and SGBs.

Whether an entrepreneur is aiming to address poverty, ameliorate the effects of climate change, improve the health of a community or work toward greater economic empowerment of women, the intention for the enterprise should guide everything from the type of funding sought to the type of accelerator program chosen. It’s up to us as actors in the development ecosystem to find more creative and effective ways to work together to help more entrepreneurs bring their intention and vision to fruition.

 

Alex Pan is senior program manager, Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Mark Correnti is the director of Impact Investing at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Banner photo courtesy of Alison Postma via Flickr

Global Social Entrepreneurs Gather on Campus Aug. 9-18

Global Social Entrepreneurs Gather on Campus Aug. 9-18

 Miller Center’s signature Global Social Benefit Institute Accelerator welcomes accomplished social entrepreneurs from around the world

Miller Center’s signature Global Social Benefit Institute Accelerator welcomes accomplished social entrepreneurs from around the world

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 2, 1017—The Mexican company Someone Somewhere recently lined up $400,000 in financing. That’s enough to keep its business of selling artisan-made adventure gear going for the next year or more.

But to achieve their bigger goal—to help millions of rural Mexican artisans out of poverty by selling their goods to well-to-do, globetrotting travelers—the social enterprise needs to refine its growth plan, develop a path to operational excellence, and create a digital marketing strategy and a financial plan to generate interest from investors and partners worldwide.

That’s why the company’s director Jose Antonio Nuño will be coming to Santa Clara University’s campus Aug. 9-18 for 10 days of intensive guidance from volunteer mentors. These mentors are veteran business executives who made their marks at Google and Sun Microsystems in Silicon Valley, far from Nuño’s home base in Mexico. 

Nuño is one of 22 social entrepreneurs from 14 businesses that have been hand-picked to attend this unique, fully funded accelerator program at Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship.The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Accelerator program spans 10 months, culminating with the 10-day, summer in-residence program.

This year’s cohort hails from 14 different regions—eight of them in Africa, one in India, and three in Mexico. Seven of the attendees are women.

Now in its 15th year, the GSBI Accelerator program chooses social enterprises that have great potential to break through to new levels of impact, or to a new geographic market, to provide market-based solutions to global poverty.

“We are proud and honored to accompany social entrepreneurs who are ready to scale their businesses to solve acute problems of poverty in their home countries, like unemployment, toxic fuel or energy scarcity, or other problems afflicting billions of people worldwide,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center. “Our 150-plus volunteer mentors are leaders in developed-world business-building. They come back to Miller Center year after year because the challenges these global enterprises face provide a fascinating and humbling glimpse into what can be accomplished in even the most unimaginably difficult environments.”

At the end of their on-campus training, the 14 social enterprises will present for six minutes each, at a grand Investor Showcase, Aug. 17. In attendance will be 200 investors, partners, and influencers in the specialized world of “impact investing.”

A full list of the 14 social enterprises attending is available at Miller Center. Among the other enterprises presenting will be: 

  • Food for Education, of Nairobi, Kenya, which provides nutritious foods to vulnerable schoolchildren by converting profits from a food delivery business to school lunches.
  • Nizam Bijli, of Karachi, Pakistan, which provides pay-as-you-go solar energy to off-grid customers.
  • Simusolar, of San Francisco, which provides rural Tanzanians with a wide array of solar products using installment plans and mobile payments.
  • Tugende, of Kampala, Uganda, which helps people own the productive assets they use for their livelihoods, such as motorcycles, taxis, or bikes.

Journalists are invited to meet these and other social entrepreneurs attending GSBI’s annual gathering. Contact Deborah Lohse (dlohse@scu.edu) or Cassandra Staff (cstaff@scu.edu) to arrange interviews with social enterprises of interest.

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 with an emphasis on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.


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 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 www.scu.edu.

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | dlohse@scu.edu | 408-554-5121

Looking For the Next Big Thing: New Partnership Builds Fintech Ecosystems in Four Emerging Start-up Markets

Looking For the Next Big Thing: New Partnership Builds Fintech Ecosystems in Four Emerging Start-up Markets

Editor’s note: Throughout 2017, NextBillion is organizing content around a monthly theme, dedicating special attention to a specific sector alongside our broader coverage. This post is part of our focus on technology for the month of May.

Ask the average person what comes to mind when they think of a tech start-up hub. They will probably answer Silicon Valley, picturing geniuses in hooded sweatshirts. Or they might say Bangalore, thinking of sari-clad staffers in futuristic call centers. But the top-of-mind answer would probably not be the Persian Gulf. Or the former Soviet bloc countries. The reality, though, is that some of the best ideas can be found in places we’re overlooking. And nurturing that potential – the goal of a new partnership between Village Capital and MetLife Foundation in four emerging start-up markets – can pay dividends beyond the purely financial.

Central and Eastern Europe, along with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), face daunting challenges alongside unique opportunities for innovation. Ukraine faces political and economic uncertainty, including multiple currency devaluations. It also graduates 15,000 IT professionals every year and saw year-over-year venture investment increase more than 230 percent between 2014-2015. Turkey faces political challenges of its own, but early-stage investment in Turkish tech start-ups continues to grow, too, thanks to strong engineering talent from Turkey’s universities and a young population comfortable with technology and eager to be connected. UAE also skews young. More than a third of its population is under age 25, and the UAE’s leaders seem determined to attract tech investment to diversify the economic base and create good new jobs. Poland, which was arguably the financial capital of Central Europe already, is emerging as a tech start-up center, too.

Village Capital is supporting entrepreneurs in all four markets – Poland, Turkey, UAE and Ukraine – based on their potential. Village Capital is a venture capital firm focused on working with entrepreneurs who have the potential to solve real-world problems, whether environmental, social, or a combination. Then we support them with the resources they need to refine their innovations and take them to scale.

We’ve supported more than 500 entrepreneurs in a dozen countries, and we’ve learned that entrepreneurs need money, sure, but that’s not all they need. Before they can even think about funding, start-ups need the support of an ecosystem.

Think again about Silicon Valley. Decades before the hoodie-clad geniuses showed up, the Valley was research labs scattered among apple orchards. Silicon Valley didn’t become great because of its early inventions, ranging from the semiconductor to the microprocessor, but because its innovators built an ecosystem, not just specific firms. The talent in Silicon Valley grew exponentially, each innovator and engineer recruiting the next. The Valley is also embedded in a larger society with a sophisticated financial sector and governed by the rule of law, including intellectual property right protections. This kind of ecosystem – the thousands of factors, some obvious, others invisible, that converge to make innovation possible – is so important that it’s easy to take for granted. Silicon Valley succeeded because generations invested in the ecosystem, not just specific ideas.

Village Capital, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is making a similar investment in fintech ecosystems in these nascent markets. Fintech, or technology solutions to improve financial services, holds great promise to solve a problem that both Village Capital and the foundation care about deeply: financial health. Millions of people in low- and middle-income countries lack basic financial services, and even in high-income countries, financial stress is a major issue: One well-known recent survey found that almost half of all U.S. adults said that they would have a hard time covering a $400 emergency. Fintech solutions like mobile money and financial coaching have already helped populations globally access the financial system and manage their savings.

Fintech is a relatively young field whose breakthrough potential to expand financial health has only begun to be tapped. The Village Capital/MetLife Foundation partnership will nurture the kinds of partnerships that fintech innovations need in order to scale. Bankers and tech entrepreneurs operate in different worlds; bridging those cultures can be difficult. We’ll also enable intermediaries to convene important stakeholders around the new companies to help them navigate regulations, build relationships with investors and find the right key staffers.

Village Capital and MetLife Foundation are identifying barriers to scale and designing solutions, building a roadmap for future innovations with the end goal – financial health at large scale – always in mind. As our work progresses in Poland, Turkey, the UAE and Ukraine, we plan to showcase the top innovations locally and internationally. All four markets have unique characteristics that make them high-potential start-up hubs. All four, we are confident, will have world-class examples to share.

 

Financial health, a key focus area for Village Capital, is also the five-year strategic focus of MetLife Foundation, Village Capital’s partner on the Financial Health Forums project. MetLife Foundation is devoting U.S. $200 million to financial health via grant-making all over the world. More information about the partnership is available here. 

 

Ross Baird is the CEO of Village Capital, a venture capital firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a portfolio of more than 70 investments globally. Françoise Lamotte is senior vice president, head of direct and digital of MetLife’s EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa) region.

Photo: Warsaw skyline. Photo credit: Guillaume Speurt, via Flickr.

This Social Venture Helps Marginalized People Get a Leg Up

This Social Venture Helps Marginalized People Get a Leg Up

Originally posted by Devin Thorpe

Walking through the dusty Nairobi slum called Kawangware, the general bustle of the place overwhelms the visitor. Grace Njeri lives in the neighborhood and she’s got work to do. She recently signed on as a sales rep for the social enterprise Livelyhoods and this is her third day on the job.

Yesterday, she had her first sale. She sold a clean cookstove and she’s carrying another one through the streets; she holds the stove in one hand and the empty box in the other. As she walks, she and her trainer Simon Mwenya spot a man in an informal hardware store looking at the stove. She decides to approach him.

With her winning smile and the knowledge that she has three children at home and no father to help carry the load, she quickly makes the sale. As Thane Kreiner, the Executive Director for the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University completes the receipt for her as part of his field work today, Grace learns that the buyer would like to become a distributor himself. He’s interested in buying 20 more stoves.

 THANE KREINER OF THE MILLER CENTER COMPLETES THE RECEIPT FOR THE CUSTOMER

THANE KREINER OF THE MILLER CENTER COMPLETES THE RECEIPT FOR THE CUSTOMER

Grace was doing well before the possibility of selling 20 more stoves popped up. After selling two units in her first three days she is well on her way to her first month’s target of six stoves.

She takes the cash from the sale and walks across the street to an M-Pesa kiosk. The ubiquitous kiosks are so common in Nairobi that there are sometimes multiple competing shops on the same block. They are never far away. She hands the clerk the 3,490 shillings (about $35) she collected for the stove and the money is instantly applied to the account on her phone. Using her smartphone, she then transfers the entire amount to Livelyhoods. She’ll collect her commissions and any bonuses she may earn at the end of the month.

 GRACE NJERI, AFTER MAKING HER FIRST SALE OF THE DAY

GRACE NJERI, AFTER MAKING HER FIRST SALE OF THE DAY

After completing the transaction, she cajoles a colleague into allowing her to take the electric kettle in hopes of finding a buyer. Around the corner, she spots the barber shop, a shop that isn’t 100 square feet in size, has two barbers and two customers in it. She recognizes that there are four prospects who can’t leave.

She enters and within five minutes she leaves having taken an order for a blender and another for an iron. Her day is getting better and it isn’t even noon.

Livelyhoods is intent on creating quality employment opportunities for some of Kenya’s least qualified. Sales reps last an average of only four months. A few won’t survive their first week. Some people aren’t cut out for sales.

At 44, Grace is old than the average of 24. The sales reps who attended the meeting this morning at 8:00 sharp–the trainer Lillian locks the door promptly at 8:00–were typically younger. Split almost perfectly between men and women, the crew included eight women and six men.

Most of the reps will move on to better jobs, the company says. The position is intended to be preparatory. Training is pretty intense.

The meeting began comfortably with introductions. Then Lillian offered an enthusiastic evangelical prayer. She then moved on to stretches with twenty people in a 200 square foot room. Despite the cramped quarters, the team seemed genuinely to enjoy the stretching as Lillian made it into a game of “Simon says.” I couldn’t help but wonder if the game was more or less amusing with two Simons in the room. No one seemed to notice.

With that complete, real sales training with goal setting and a review of the seven steps of a sale were presented, reviewed and practiced. Jeff Miller, the namesake for the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship who is visiting Nairobi, provided a group of reps with some personal sales training. Later, he would accompany some of the reps and help one close five sales in one hour.

 JEFF MILLER COACHES A TEAM OF REPS

JEFF MILLER COACHES A TEAM OF REPS

Livelyhoods generated $440,000 in revenue in 2016, according to Claire Baker, the Director of Development. With growth beginning to ramp, in part due to a new layaway program for the $35 stoves, the company hopes to help more people in 2017.

The company’s founder, Tania Laden, participated in the Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit institute program in 2016. I reported on that here.

Despite Big Impact, This Nonprofit Faces Challenges

Despite Big Impact, This Nonprofit Faces Challenges

Originally posted by Devin Thorpe

Potential Energy, a clean cookstove manufacturer based in Kampala, Uganda is facing challenges on several fronts. Despite having sold 45,000 high-efficiency cook stoves, the nonprofit venture is facing a host of troubles, including some existential threats.

Potential Energy sells the Berkeley-Darfur stove primarily to NGOs that give or sell them to refugees. The stove was developed with help from refugees in Darfur at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. The wood-burning stove is a highly regarded “tier 4” stove that reduces wood consumption by more than 50 percent and reduces smoke and pollution even more.

The nonprofit notes on its website that the stoves have already impacted 270,000 people, mostly refugees.

But today, Potential Energy faces big challenges. It has paid to produce 5,000 stoves in India that sit there unassembled. According to CEO Jessica De Clerk, originally from Portland, Oregon, the company lacks the resources to bring the stoves to Uganda from India. Between shipping costs and duties, the cost to import them nearly matches the $10 per unit cost to build them in the first place.

Once they arrive, if they do, Potential Energy needs to assemble them and sell them–neither task will be free. While they have a number of small orders, the bulk of the stoves would not have an immediate home. Jessica says she hopes to sell the stoves for $20 each in bulk, meaning that Potential Energy will almost certainly lose money on bulk sales.

The challenges don’t end there. In an effort to broaden its product line and diversify its revenue sources, Potential Energy has begun selling several models of charcoal burning stoves to low-income people in urban Kampala. These stoves range from $6 to $50. The $50 stoves are sold on credit and come with contracts that require the customers to purchase more environmentally friendly charcoal briquettes.

These efforts don’t all sit well with donors, some of whom are focused on moving to the sale only of stoves that are deemed “tier 4” for both efficiency and emissions. Such stoves cost about $100 and require a fan to provide secondary air to enhance burning. Jessica, living and working in Kampala since she came here to support a project for a Portland Rotary Club, says the high prices make selling such stoves impossible. Without them, however, she faces a dearth of funding.

And there’s more. She took us to visit three customers who have purchased the $50 high-efficiency charcoal stoves.

 HELEN OKIDI, POTENTIAL ENERGY CUSTOMER

HELEN OKIDI, POTENTIAL ENERGY CUSTOMER

Helen Okidi lives in a slum in Kampala about 15 minutes’ drive from the Potential Energy office. Helen is obviously proud of her stove and was thrilled to show it off to the international group of visitors from the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. She wasn’t reluctant to bring out her old stove to show how much nicer the new one is.

 HELEN OKIDI’S TWO STOVES

HELEN OKIDI’S TWO STOVES

Notably, however, the new stove was clearly not being used regularly. The old stove was full of burning charcoal and she had clearly been cooking with it before we arrived. She had lit some charcoal in the new stove but admitted that she usually cooks with the old one, which consumes much more fuel and emits much more smoke.

Helen was getting virtually none of the benefits of the new stove because she continued to use the old one. She was also buying charcoal at the market rather than using and buying the briquettes that burn more efficiently and come from charcoal dust rather than from burning wood to create charcoal–using up 80 percent of the energy in the wood. So she was getting none of the financial, environmental or health benefits of her new stove.

 CEO JESSICA DE CLERK WITH CUSTOMER BETTY SABITI

CEO JESSICA DE CLERK WITH CUSTOMER BETTY SABITI

That is not always the case. We visited both Betty Sabit and Elijah Kizza who have the same stove. Both are using theirs exclusively. Betty says she cooks two meals per day for two people and it works great. A 110-pound bag of the briquettes lasts her two months. Elijah shares the stoves with five roommates. They don’t cook as regularly, but also love the stove and the eco-friendly briquettes, which he says saves them money. Both Betty and Elijah seem to be getting all of the health, environmental and financial benefits of the stove.

 CEO JESSICA DE CLERK WITH CUSTOMER ELIJAH KIZZA

CEO JESSICA DE CLERK WITH CUSTOMER ELIJAH KIZZA

Jeff Miller, the namesake for the Miller Center, offered Jessica some advice that she received well. He suggested she focus on the Berkeley-Darfur stove and jettison all of the other distractions so she can build that business to a volume where it can be self-sustaining for the organization.

Moving production to Uganda from India could significantly cut costs, eliminating most if not all importation costs, potentially cutting the landed cost of finished products almost in half.

Jessica is an impressive young CEO. She joined Potential Energy just one year ago precisely because she saw the value and the life-saving potential of the Berkeley-Darfur stove. In the year before joining Potential Energy, she developed a tier 4 stove for LivingGoods that can be produced for just $5. She is committed to the work, obviously bright and apparently hard-working, we left believing that she can find a path to greater sustainability and even more impact.

2,000 Women Rising From Poverty Celebrate the Social Venture That Helped

2,000 Women Rising From Poverty Celebrate the Social Venture That Helped

The women mostly wearing beautiful, brightly colored traditional gowns were seated quietly beneath white event tents festooned in bright colors surrounding a small plaza that would serve as a stage. An empty tent on a platform was waiting for the VIP guests, including the executives of All Across Africa, the company the women credit with changing their lives.

All Across Africa sources handicrafts from here in Rwanda and also from Uganda and Burundi. The women weave baskets. This model would not distinguish All Across Africa from dozens or perhaps hundreds of other social enterprises that buy handicrafts from marginalized communities in emerging markets, but the story doesn’t end there.

CEO Greg Stone and COO Alicia Wallace have developed an impressive customer base for their products, including Pro Flowers and Costco. Their portfolio of buyers includes hundreds of independent retailers, allowing them to buy in volumes that are unusual.

All Across Africa’s secret sauce is creating contemporary designs that are appealing to Americans that the weavers in Rwanda can produce, rather than simply taking what the women were making and trying to sell it in the U.S.

When the company landed Costco in 2009, they had to grow their phalanx of weavers who supply their products from 60 women to over 1,000 in about 90 days. It has continued to grow ever since. Today, about 2,000 of the women were invited from this part of Rwanda to participate in the celebration. At least half showed up.

The weavers, primarily women but including a few men, held their annual celebration of the year spent working themselves out of poverty. The event is part annual meeting and includes some ceremony, but is primarily a party to celebrate their shared success.

 GREG STONE, CEO, ALL ACROSS AFRICA

GREG STONE, CEO, ALL ACROSS AFRICA

At last year’s event, the weavers presented Greg with a spear and shield as symbols of his battle with their poverty. They recognized that they needed each other to make the climb from the lowest economic rungs to a lifestyle that would include adequate food, shelter and clothing—and dignity. In his remarks, Greg recommitted himself and the company to the fight.

All Across Africa exists to fulfill that mission. Selling baskets is simply the vehicle the company uses to achieve that objective. Organized originally as a nonprofit, the company now uses a hybrid model with a for-profit and a nonprofit entity. The for-profit business, All Across Africa, sources and sells baskets and other handicrafts. Opportunity Across Africa, the nonprofit, provides training.

The company participated in the Global Social Benefit Institute program at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in 2016. I wrote about the program here.

 ONE OF THE WEAVERS DISPLAYS SPECIAL BASKETS FOR ALICIA WALKER, COO

ONE OF THE WEAVERS DISPLAYS SPECIAL BASKETS FOR ALICIA WALKER, COO

The company has helped the women form and manage co-ops. Technically, the company doesn’t buy products from the weavers; it buys from the co-ops. The co-ops are all independent. They can choose to sell products to other companies and there are several competing for the women’s handicrafts. But, the women say they earn twice as much selling to All Across Africa and so devote the majority of their time to its orders.

The income they make is life changing, they say. Typically, before joining the ranks of the All Across Africa weavers, they ate only two meals a day, including a bowl of porridge for breakfast that would have to last a full day of working outside on their farms. Now, they eat three meals a day, pay others to work on their farms and use their profits to acquire more land and animals. The women take pride in being fat, though few would qualify for that label in the U.S. None of the women appeared skinny or undernourished.

The income increases their status in the community and at home. The women not only earn greater respect from their neighbors but also from their husbands. They admitted that their husbands were dismissive of their work before All Across Africa but no longer. Many women earn more than their husbands and are now true partners in their marriages.

The income is also growing the local economy in unanticipated ways. In addition to using their new wealth to hire farm hands, they also buy sisal, the natural thread they use for weaving the baskets, rather than tediously harvest it themselves as they once did. Each week, the women gather for order days on Monday and Tuesday. A cottage industry of food purveyors has popped up so the woman don’t have to cook or bring lunch.

 ONE OF THE WEAVERS SHOWS OFF SOME FRESHLY HARVESTED SISAL.

ONE OF THE WEAVERS SHOWS OFF SOME FRESHLY HARVESTED SISAL.

At today’s event, in a lengthy pageant-like sketch, the women portrayed the complete cycle of change that All Across Africa brings to their lives. They covered everything from how they were recruited and how skeptical they were about changing their lives by weaving to how to run a co-op, to avoid bad financial decisions—like spending their money on banana beer—and how to save for the future. The presentation ended with the women dancing and proudly holding up their bank books.

 IRENE MUJAWAYEZU, ONE OF THE CO-OP LEADERS

IRENE MUJAWAYEZU, ONE OF THE CO-OP LEADERS

A local politician was invited to speak. His message, reminding the women to be thrifty and to buy health insurance was at least redundant and perhaps insulting. One of the women leaders, Irene Mujawayezu (her last name means servant of Jesus, one of the staff explained), took the microphone to explain in response that in her co-op, all of the women have their health insurance paid and to otherwise make clear that these women didn’t need a man to tell them how to spend their money.

 ALICIA WALLACE, COO, ALL ACROSS AFRICA

ALICIA WALLACE, COO, ALL ACROSS AFRICA

In her remarks today, Alicia invoked a local blessing, “I wish you many cows and much success.” That was also redundant. The women do have many cows and plenty of success.

How Do You Start Charging People You've Been Serving For Free?

How Do You Start Charging People You've Been Serving For Free?

Originally posted by Devin Thorpe

“How Do You Start Charging People You’ve Been Serving For Free?” That’s the question that Brian Iredale, head of Nurture Africa in Kampala, Uganda is asking himself. At the same time, the handwriting is on the wall. To continue serving the people he loves, he must begin charging.

Brian came to Uganda in 1997. Seeing the challenges the country he faced, he decided to do something about it. He earned a nursing degree and returned in 2003 to launch a nonprofit that today is called Nurture Africa. He focused on the needs surrounding the community of HIV patients and their families, especially AIDS orphans. In 2009, he left his job as a nurse and began working full time for the organization.

Since its founding, Nurture Africa has provided services to its needy clients at no charge. In order to continue serving them, however, Brian has recognized that the organization will need to begin charging fees to make it more financially sustainable.

 A VIEW OF THE NURTURE AFRICA CAMPUS

A VIEW OF THE NURTURE AFRICA CAMPUS

His plan is to begin offering some services to the public at a profit so that it can afford to offer those services at a discount to the needier families.

The organization offers microloans to mostly women to help them become more financially independent. For the loans, Nurture Africa has traditionally charged an interest rate of 1 percent per month. Going forward, Brian plans to charge 2.75 percent per month, which is still below the market rate of 3 percent. The loans of up to about $150 are expected to be–and generally are–repaid within six months.

Most health services have been offered completely for free. The challenge of charging low-income clients anything will be big. In order to be able to afford to offer the services at a discount in the long run, Brian plans to offer services to the general public, including more affluent customers, at a modest premium to cost to generate cash flow to support the discounts for needier clients.

The organization provides a variety of educational programs. As we toured the campus with Brian, we encountered classes going on all over. In one room, HIV-positive women who are pregnant were learning how to deliver a baby without infecting them. Another group was learning about hygiene. In another room, girls were learning how to sew and others were learning how to braid hair. Next door, a group of teens was learning to use Microsft Office on donated computers.

 GIRLS PRACTICING VOCATIONAL SKILLS

GIRLS PRACTICING VOCATIONAL SKILLS

One of the students in the computer lab was Latif Sserunjoji. He explained that the students “need I.T. skills for life.” Latif was born after his mother received help from the organization before he was born.

 LATIF SSERUNJOJI

LATIF SSERUNJOJI

Brian recognizes his own need for training at this critical juncture in the organization’s history. He’s enrolled in the Healthymagination Mother and Child program, a social venture accelerator that is a partnership between GE and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. He will be presenting to a group of donors and investors next week in Nairobi as the culmination of the program. The coaching and mentoring he’s received as part of the program has helped him develop a pitch for the investors and a strategy for shifting from a pure donor-supported model to relying on fees for a substantial portion of the funding.

As the tour came to an end, Brian guided the group to a small stage. Some of the students performed a dance for the visitors.

Brian noted that some of the kids who were born to HIV-infected women in the earliest days have grown up to become volunteers and even employees of the organization, coming full circle. In a similar way, Brian hopes to master this difficult transition and to have the opportunity to share his insights and lessons learned with others.

Can One Person Change the World? This One Did!

Can One Person Change the World? This One Did!

Originially posted by Devin Thorpe

Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Personally, I would argue that a small group is typically organized and led by one person. Here in Uganda, I found the one.

To be fair, I have been in Uganda three days and I could say this about any number of the remarkable social entrepreneurs I’ve met, but Joseph Nkandu embodies that more than most. Philanthropist Jeff Miller, the namesake of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, noted in his remarks at a brief ceremony at the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises, always abbreviated NUCAFE, that most people lack the ambition to dream of doing what Joseph has done: remake a national industry.

 JEFF MILLER ADDRESSES A GROUP OF EMPLOYEES AND MEMBER OF NUCAFE

JEFF MILLER ADDRESSES A GROUP OF EMPLOYEES AND MEMBER OF NUCAFE

Joseph participated in the 2016 cohort of the Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute. I covered that for Forbes here.

Over the past 20 years, Joseph has been working to implement his vision of the “farmer ownership model” for growing coffee in Uganda. Perhaps because coffee grows easily in Uganda and millions of people grow a little bit of coffee, the power in the coffee industry has been in the hands of the buyers and their agents.

Joseph observed that farmers in Uganda did not effectively own their coffee. As evidence, he pointed out that when he asked coffee farmers about the price of coffee, they never seemed to know. When he asked the same farmers, who frequently kept a few chickens, about the price of chicken, they always knew. Put another way, small-holder farmers in Uganda have traditionally been price takers.

This provided the basis for organizing farmers into cooperatives to create more balance in the industry so that farmers could negotiate from a position of strength. Today, 198 cooperatives representing 1 million small farmers are members of NUCAFE. Together they produce about $500 million of raw coffee.

More recently, Joseph has been working to create more vertical integration so that the farmers can capture more of the value. Ground, roasted coffee sells for about ten times the price of coffee off the tree. The equipment required to remove the coffee bean from the berry is ubiquitous in Uganda, but beans in that condition aren’t ready to be ground and roasted, substantial cleaning, grading, drying and processing is required to get it ready to be roasted and ground.

NUCAFE has recently constructed and begun operating only the third coffee processing plant in all of Uganda. Joseph believes that it is the only one in the world that is farmer owned. Now, member farmers can pay a tiny fee to have their beans processed, allowing them to increase their revenue 2.5 fold.

 INSIDE THE NEW NUCAFE PROCESSING FACILITY

INSIDE THE NEW NUCAFE PROCESSING FACILITY

NUCAFE also built roasting and grinding capacity at the plant and has begun selling coffee under the brand Omukago, a Lugandan word referring to deep, close friendship akin to family, traditionally expressed with a drop of blood on a coffee bean. Although volumes are relatively modest today, the nearly tenfold difference price allows participating farmers to meaningfully increase their profits even if only a portion of their production.

Joseph grew up on a small coffee farm and then attended university to learn how to optimize coffee farming. He realized after completing school that the system was rigged against the farmers and that the industry would have to be restructured to protect the interests of the farmers.

 JOSEPH NKANDU LISTENS TO JEFF MILLER

JOSEPH NKANDU LISTENS TO JEFF MILLER

His father had 16 children–and two wives–stretching the resources of a small coffee grower. His father was also a primary school teacher and understood the need to make sacrifices to ensure that his children had the opportunity to attend school. That investment is now paying dividends for the millions of people who are now benefiting from his son’s work.

Joseph’s next challenge: grow coffee production in Uganda. NUCAFE has targeted a six-fold increase in national coffee production over the next three years. A government-supported effort to plant millions of coffee plants around the country makes this conceivable. If I learned anything from my visit with Joseph, it would be this: never doubt that one person can change the world.

Scaling Rapidly, This Social Entrepreneur Provides Clean Water to Many in Three Countries

Scaling Rapidly, This Social Entrepreneur Provides Clean Water to Many in Three Countries

Originally posted by Devin Thorpe

CEO Galen Welsch launched Jibu with his father to provide affordable access to clean water to people in three countries where culinary water–where available–isn’t safe to drink. Already operating in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, customers already number in the hundreds of thousands.

While the most prosperous folks in these three countries have long purchased bottled water to drink, Galen believed that he could not only make a profit selling water to less affluent people in three African countries, he also saw the potential to accelerate growth by giving more economic opportunities to people.

 JIBU

JIBU

Jibu operates with a franchise model, unlike almost any other. With just about five percent down, Jibu will finance a franchise for a would-be entrepreneur. The total cost of a franchise is about $25,000, but franchisees put down only $1,000 to $1,500 to acquire a store and pay the rest back via volume-based assessments.

Jibu recovers the balance in about three years in Uganda and Kenya but notes that economics in Rwanda allow the company to recover the balance in the first year.

Ron Mugisha is a franchisee in Kampala, Uganda. He says he is happy with the deal. He reports that he is earning more now as a franchisee than he was before. He is excited to earn even more, both by increasing revenue at his current store and by adding new stores.

 FRANCHISEE, RON MUGISHA

FRANCHISEE, RON MUGISHA

Ron has already opened a few “micro-franchises.” While Ron, like all of the 20 or so franchisees, operates an actual water filtration system that produces up to 20,000 liters per day, the micro-franchisees are employees of a franchisee and are typically hoping to learn the ropes so they can open their own franchise store. A few micro-franchisees, including one of Ron’s, are simply agents content to represent the company in a small, strategic location where bottled water is stocked but not produced.

The franchisee’s operations aren’t quite as challenging as you might expect, operating a small-scale bottling plant. The water filtration system, developed by a partner in Colorado, is maintained by corporate; the franchisees just need to bottle water and sell it. In fact, to simplify the franchise structure, the company maintains ownership of the equipment, even after the franchisee has paid off the initial financing.

The Jibu strategy is to serve the middle 70 percent of the market, essentially ceding the relatively small market of affluent customers to legacy bottled-water providers and competing instead for the largest part of the market, those who are typically boiling their water. Because boiling isn’t free and isn’t completely effective–you can’t remove some contaminants by boiling–most people in the three countries served can afford Jibu bottled water.

 JEFF MILLER AND GALEN WELSCH

JEFF MILLER AND GALEN WELSCH

The poorest people, those who can’t afford to pay for water at almost any price, comprise about 20 percent of the population. Jibu doesn’t ignore them entirely, instead, Galen has helped to create “water clubs” for people who are referred to a franchisee. After some modest screening, these customers are given an opportunity to buy filtered water at 90 percent off the list price. While these customers are not profitable, it provides a model for helping rather than ignforing the poorest people in the markets Jibu serves.

Jibu has already raised over $5 million and is working on another round of financing to allow the company to keep growing quickly. Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship estimates that the number of customers reached by Jibu over the past 30 months has grown by more than tenfold to about 250,000. Galen represented Jibu at the Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute accelerator program in 2014.

The total population of the three countries Jibu serves approaches 100 million people, providing ample opportunity for growth.

The company’s social and environmental goals–and progress toward achieving them–has allowed the company to raise millions in the form of grants. The company hopes to quickly scale to 1,000 franchises, employing 8,000 people, including 5,000 women and youth (for whom the unemployment rate is stratospheric). By encouraging customers not to boil water, Jibu hopes to prevent the emission of 300 tons of CO2.

This looks like one to watch.

Inspired by His Sister, This Man Seeks Maximum Impact From Sanitary Pads

Inspired by His Sister, This Man Seeks Maximum Impact From Sanitary Pads

Originally posted by Devin Thorpe

Richard Bbaale was upset that his younger sister could not attend school during her monthly period so he decided to do something about it. After pondering the situation through completing his MBA at Uganda Martyrs University, he launched Bana, a nonprofit social venture to make and sell affordable pads to keep girls in school.

Richard wasn’t content to sell affordable pads to keep girls in school, however. He wanted to use the pads to empower women in every way possible.

 RICHARD BBAALE, OUTSIDE BANA PLANT

RICHARD BBAALE, OUTSIDE BANA PLANT

Starting with highly absorbent banana tree fibers, he conceived of an environmentally friendly pad that would be completely biodegradable, especially in Uganda’s ubiquitous pit toilets. Traditionally, the banana tree trunks are simply discarded.

He also wanted to create a distribution channel that would empower women so he’s created an Avon-like sales force of “Champions” who sell the pads to their friends and neighbors. The five-year-old s company is changing the lives of these women in dramatic ways.

All this was not enough for Richard. He recognized that women could help him with the supply of banana tree fibers. He hires groups of women in villages to harvest the banana tree trunks, break them down and pound them to release the fibers. They then dry them in the sun and sell them to Bana. Most women work part time for about $15 per month, but some work nearly full time and earn about $45.

Richard says he’s about to provide the women with equipment that will do much of the hard work of preparing the fiber, allowing them to more than double their production—and their potential incomes. This could allow women who have traditionally earned less than $1 per day to earn $3 or $5 per day.

Most of the employees in the production facility are also women. He’s making every effort to see the production and distribution of the pads change the world for as many women as possible.

To that end, Richard has established a community health clinic that provides a variety of basic health care functions, including labor and delivery, HIV and STD screening, and immunizations. The clinic also provides health education, helping women to understand their reproductive options.

Richard is excited. He is prepared to scale up the production substantially with an infusion of capital. One donor has committed about $750,000 subject to finding another to match that. The capital would principally be used to “industrialize” the production processes in the plant.

Richard introduced us to three of the women who provide Bana with banana fibers.

Maria Nantubwe is a young-looking grandmother who is a painful reminder of the childhood mortality statistics in Uganda, having lost two of her three children. Today, she makes two kinds of soap to sell to her neighbors and occasionally weaves baskets to sell as well. She also works in the garden, growing food for her family. He devotes about six hours per day pounding banana tree stalks into fibers for Bana. She says, “It is hard work but you get used to it.” She says she likes the work because she gets paid immediately when she delivers a 70-kilo bag of fiber and can produce three per month.

 MARIA NANTUBWE PREPARES BANANA FIBER

MARIA NANTUBWE PREPARES BANANA FIBER

Richard  also introduced us to three of the more successful “champions.”

Grace Nalubowa is a 21-year-old mother of one daughter who has been selling Banapads since she was 16 years old. She learned enough about retail sales that she has opened a small retail shop on her family’s property and says she now generates a profit approaching $100 per month.

 GRACE NALUBOWA WITH DAUGHTER

GRACE NALUBOWA WITH DAUGHTER

Fausta Cibe is a mother of six who sports dyed bright red hair. She too sells other products along with the pads. She sells cosmetics along with the pads to her young women customers. She sells some of the pads to women who resell them, agents who help her increase her volume. Asked how the business changes her life, she says with a cheeky grin, “I feed [my family] well and I look beautiful, as you can see.”

 FAUSTA CIBE, A SUCCESSFUL “CHAMPION”

FAUSTA CIBE, A SUCCESSFUL “CHAMPION”

Sylvia Naluyage has been selling for Bana since the company was launched in 2012 and was involved even before that. We visited with her outside of her big new home, about twice the size of the small home where she used to live across the street with her ten children. She practiced her pitch for us, explaining how she always involves a wife’s husband in the sales pitch. She takes credit for the initial sales but notes that the product itself if responsible for resales. Like Fausta, she has built a small network of women from other neighborhoods who act as agents for her.

 SYLVIA NALUYAGE, FORMER HOME LEFT, NEW HOME RIGHT

SYLVIA NALUYAGE, FORMER HOME LEFT, NEW HOME RIGHT

Impact Measurement Poses Challenge For Social Entrepreneurs And Impact Investors Alike

Impact Measurement Poses Challenge For Social Entrepreneurs And Impact Investors Alike

Originally posted on Your Mark on the World

One of the greatest challenges for social entrepreneurs is how to measure and report impact. For help, I asked Thane Kreiner, PhD, executive director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, a leading expert on social impact.

This week, as a guest of the University, I will be traveling with Thane to Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya, visiting some of the social entrepreneurs who have completed the Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute social entrepreneurship accelerator program.

Here are the questions I put to Thane and his responses.

Impact investors are becoming increasingly sophisticated about measuring impact. What impact measures should social entrepreneurs be prepared to deliver from day 1?

It depends on the sector, impact model, and temporal relation between outputs of the social enterprise and impact. In some sectors, impact is much easier to measure than in others because the impact or outcomes are directly or independently caused by outputs. Conversely, when the time between output and impact is long (e.g., years or decades), impact measurement may not be possible at all, much less in a day. Impact measurement can be costly, particularly when many factors in addition to the output of the social enterprise contribute to the impact or when there is temporal separation between output and impact.

What impact standards should social entrepreneurs use to frame their impact reports?

Social entrepreneurs in almost all sectors should report the number of lives impacted; in doing so, they should explain the theory of change (or logical framework) and provide qualitative examples of what each life impacted means in humanistic terms. Number of jobs or livelihoods created is also an impact reporting standard. Most other impact measures vary by sector or other factors related to the specific form of the impact. For social enterprises serving the poor, economic impact, whether increased income, decreased expenses, or reduction of productivity is a useful measure.

While measuring impact should have the effect of improving impact, how does a social entrepreneur avoid burdening the effort with bureaucracy that stifles impact or thwarts economic success?

Clear communication among stakeholders is essential when defining the impact model, impact metrics, and impact measurement and evaluation process. Impact investors who demand impact measurement should be prepared to fund it. Social entrepreneurs should be realistic about what can be measured quantitatively (“not everything that counts can be counted” – attributed to Albert Einstein, perhaps erroneously) and what cannot. They should also be cautious about attribution error, as many people and communities served by one social enterprise are served by other means.

More about the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship:

Twitter: @MillerSocent

Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. The centers embody the University’s mission to unite students and faculty with Silicon Valley leaders to address significant public issues. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity.

Thane’s bio:

Twitter: @ThaneKreiner

Thane Kreiner, PhD, is Executive Director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. Thane was previously Founder, President, and CEO of PhyloTech, Inc. (now Second Genome), which conducts comprehensive microbial community analysis for human health applications. He was Founder, President, and CEO of Presage Biosciences, Inc., a Seattle-based company dedicated to bringing better cancer drugs to market. Thane was the start-up President and CEO for iZumi Bio, Inc. (now iPierian), a regenerative medicine venture based on the break-through iPSc (induced pluripotent stem cell) technology. Prior to his efforts as a “parallel entrepreneur”, Thane spent 14 years in various senior leadership roles at Affymetrix, Inc., which pioneered the DNA chip industry. Thane currently serves on the Board of Directors for the BioBricks Foundation and as a Board member for Didimi, Inc.. Thane earned his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business; his Ph.D. in Neurosciences from Stanford University School of Medicine; and his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin.

Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Fellowship Receives Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award in Academic Learning

Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Fellowship Receives Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award in Academic Learning

Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Fellowship Receives Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award in Academic Learning
The most prestigious award in social enterprise higher education recognizes Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s GSBF program

Santa Clara University has announced that its Global Social Benefit Fellowship (GSBF) program, part of the university’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, has been awarded the prestigious Cordes Innovation Award from Ashoka U, an education initiative of Ashoka, the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs.

Santa Clara University’s GSBF is an innovative education and action research program for social entrepreneurship in which undergraduate students undertake in-depth and rigorous action research projects in developing countries, in partnership with social enterprises that have completed Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs.

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“This award is a point of pride for the university,” said Michael E. Engh, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “It recognizes our mission to blend the innovation of Silicon Valley with the spirit of Jesuit education. Through the creative instructional methods of the GSBF program, students are able to participate in the mission of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and touch lives, both here in the United States and around the world.”

“The key innovation offered by the GSBF lies in our action research model, which at its heart provides reciprocal value exchange,” said Keith Warner, Ph.D., OFM, director of education and action research at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, and co-founder and director of the Global Social Benefit Fellowship. “The program simultaneously supports rigorous, transformative undergraduate student learning and the scaling of social enterprises worldwide. The GSBF is also a critical way for our GSBI social enterprise accelerator programs to engage the broader campus community in social innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“The action research undertaken by the fellows of the GSBF program provides value for all parties involved,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and co-founder of the Global Social Benefit Fellowship. “The GSBF expresses the Santa Clara University and Miller Center philosophy of integrating practical action to serve the poor and protect the planet with the formation of future leaders.”

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The Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation awards, which recognize high-impact social education innovations, will be presented during a keynote awards ceremony at the Ashoka U Exchange event, to be held March 2 to 4, 2017, at Miami Dade College. Santa Clara University’s GSBF program is being honored in the Academic Learning category, one of four Ashoka U-Cordes Innovation Award categories.

Announcing the 2017 Ashoka U - Cordes Innovation Award Winners

Announcing the 2017 Ashoka U - Cordes Innovation Award Winners

Since 2011, Ashoka U and the Cordes Foundation have recognized outstanding programmatic innovations that transform how colleges and universities foster changemaking education on campus. This is the only award of its kind, designating premiere innovative programs that advance social impact education.

We are thrilled to announce the 2017 Cordes Innovation Award winners! They were selected in four specific categories: Academic Learning; Student Pathways; Student Services & Student Affairs; and Community Partnerships.

The 2017 winners are:

Previous awardees include ThinkImpact, Echoing Green’s Work on Purpose, Global Citizen Year, University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program, and Brown University’s Swearer Sparks storytelling platform. Read more about all winners here.

An expert panel selected awardees based on four criteria:

  • Innovation– the model addresses a clear challenge or opportunity for advancing an entrepreneurial or socially impactful mindset, skillset, and culture for the university context
  • Replication– the model may be easily adapted without losing quality and impact
  • Maturity– there is evidence of refinement and iteration of the model over time
  • Impact– the model has a clear contribution to social impact, a track record of results and success, and if scaled, the potential to be transformative for higher education.

About the Winners

Category: Academic Learning

Academic offerings form the core of a student’s higher education experience. In this category, Ashoka U recognizes original models for credit-bearing social innovation and changemaking education.

Winner:
Global Social Benefit Fellowship – Santa Clara University

The Global Social Benefit Fellowship is a comprehensive 9-month, field-based action research program at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Santa Clara University, that provides a transformative learning experience for undergraduate students and practical research deliverables to social entrepreneurs in developing countries. After completing a rigorous course in social entrepreneurship and action research in the spring of their junior year, interdisciplinary student teams conduct research working alongside entrepreneurs in the field for eight weeks during the summer, and then finish their projects in a research class in the fall. The heart of action research is value exchange: students have a deep, engaged-learning experience, while entrepreneurs receive research deliverables that help scale social enterprises and attract investment.

Semi-Finalists:
Balloon Latinoamérica – Balloon Latinoamérica; Abundance Cycle – College of the Atlantic;
Business Speak for the Socially Minded Soul and Empathy Speak for the Compassionate Capitalist – George Mason University; A First-Year Writing Curriculum for Differencemakers – Marquette University

Category: Student Pathways in Social Innovation Education

On campuses rich with social innovation offerings, it can be difficult for students to find and navigate the many opportunities open to them. In this category, Ashoka U recognizes innovative pathways institutions are building to support students’ pursuit of changemaking education.

Winner:
Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management – Amani Institute

Amani Institute helps individuals from all over the world build the skills for careers where they can find both meaning and fulfillment for themselves but also make an impact in the world. Our Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Innovation Management is a Masters-equivalent program that emphasizes learning by doing, training with master practitioners, and unlocking one’s true potential. It’s a hybrid online and in-person experience that takes place over 9 months in social innovation “hub cities” in emerging markets, currently in Nairobi and Sao Paulo, and soon to launch in Bangalore. The program is open to individuals from any nationality, age, and socio-economic class – what they all have in common is a desire to make social impact through their work.

Semi-Finalists:
Center for Sport, Peace & Society  – University of Tennessee;  Pathways of Public Service & Civic Engagement Framework and Tool – Stanford University

Category: Student Services & Student Affairs

Student services and student affairs broadly influence the student experience across college and university campuses. In this category, Ashoka U recognizes models for harnessing student services and student affairs to embed social innovation across the student experience and empower all students as changemakers.

Winner:
Creating Emory –  Emory College

Creating Emory is a collaborative program initiated through Campus Life that introduces all undergraduate new students to issues of integrity, diversity, inclusion, dialogue, and interpersonal violence prevention on campus through new student orientation. This program focuses on the notion of “creating” the Emory community. These three conversations and the performance continue to evolve as a living program, each year continuing to create a better, safer, and more inclusive Emory. The working group is currently exploring how to scale the program across the entire undergraduate experience and across graduate programs.

Semi-Finalist:
IGNITE: Community, Creativity, Change – Tulane University

Category: University/Community Partnerships

Partnerships between higher education institutions and community initiatives promise mutually valuable opportunities for learning and growing. In this category, Ashoka U recognizes original approaches to partnership simultaneously accelerating the growth of social innovation in higher education and changemaking efforts in the community.

Winner:
Common Good First – Glasgow Caledonian University

Common Good First is a digital platform which will identify, showcase and connect community-led social impact projects to each other and to higher education – for research, evaluation, learning and teaching and student engagement. Developed by Glasgow Caledonian University, the project has funding from the European Union and support from the Scottish Government. It will launch in South Africa initially, with a view to a global roll-out in due course. Alongside the mobile-first platform, the consortium of twelve institutions in Europe and South Africa will co-create digital storytelling modules with community partners which will add digital literacy to the project’s outcomes.

Semi-Finalists:
Local Economic Development Lab – Simon Fraser University; Impact Linda Vista Initiative – University of San Diego

The finalists will be recognized at the Ashoka U Exchange, co-hosted by Miami Dade College from March 2-4, 2017. The Exchange is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings that highlights exciting, globally relevant models of social innovation in higher education.

PACE MD Enhances Healthcare in Mexico

PACE MD Enhances Healthcare in Mexico

About 21 percent of Mexico's population lives in rural areas, according to the World Bank, yet only 2.3 percent of the country's 259,000 practicing physicians work there. That may seem like an insurmountable problem to some, but to Haywood Hall, MD, a high-school-dropout-turned-emergency-physician, it was a perfect opportunity to found PACE MD, a program that aims to enhance health care delivery in Mexico.

Mexico's fragmented health system with substantial but often poorly coordinated resources was crying out for someone to teach rural Mexican physicians, all of whom were fully qualified by their formal education but lacked practical training in emergency medicine. Enter Dr. Hall, who also recognized that many of the country's first responders would benefit from emergency medicine training.

PACE MD, started in 2002, weaves together disparate players and processes to foster a more responsive health system, save lives, provide better care, and establish a more inclusive health care system. Working closely with local partners such as the Red Cross, PACE MD organizes advanced training workshops across the range of Mexico's health care providers and institutions, linking emergency medicine to public health. The organization has trained some 30,000 health care providers in emergency cardiac care and obstetrics over the past 15 years.

I had the privilege of seeing PACE MD in action this past July during a PACE MD co-sponsored Advanced Life Support for Obstetrics (ALSO) workshop. PACE MD extended its reach to two students from Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, where I am the director of education and research. One day in the town square, PACE MD and its partners provided training to hundreds of ordinary citizens in the fundamentals of first aid. Four stations provided hands-on training, including effective responses for a person suffering a heart attack and for an infant who has stopped breathing. The trainers all regarded Dr. Hall with great respect, admiring his vision and leadership, which made me proud of the Miller Center's association with him and PACE MD.

PACE MD also started a program — PACE Corps — that complements medical students' classroom learning with practical fieldwork. This program is designed in the spirit of the Miller Center's Global Social Benefit Institute fellowship, in which Santa Clara University undergraduates conduct field research with social enterprises in developing countries. Last year, PACE Corps medical student volunteers spent several weeks in Chiapas, one of the poorest states in Mexico, providing ALSO training for nurses and midwives.

Jesus “Chuy” Noguez Vega, currently in his last year of medical school, had his PACE Corps presentations translated from Spanish into two indigenous languages so that they would be more widely understood. Many of the midwives on the front lines in poor communities work far from clinics and hospitals, and he was able to provide training to help these health care workers. Mr. Vega said he shares Dr. Hall's vision of using social entrepreneurship to transform the nation's health care system and dreams of following in Dr. Hall's footsteps.

PACE MD's efforts to transform health care systems go well beyond its training workshops. The training programs bring together all the elements of emergency health care: transit police, firefighters, paramedics, midwives, nurses, and doctors. The participants learn skills and develop a common vocabulary. As these individuals collaborate on more sophisticated outreach and clinical projects, a continuum of emergency health care becomes possible. That triggers social change shifting the status quo from fragmentation toward coordination, an excellent example of how social entrepreneurial action can advance a more just and inclusive health care system.

Emergency physicians and nurses are generous with their time, sharing their expertise in volunteer activities, including medical missions to the developing world. PACE MD relies on physicians trained in ALSO to provide training, build local capacity for emergency health care, and foster a more integrated emergency health care system. If you want to volunteer your services internationally, contact Dr. Hall at Haywood.Hall@Centro-PACE.org. Read more about the program at http://www.centro-pace.org/en/, and read an EMN profile about Dr. Hall at http://bit.ly/DrHall.

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

 LINDSEY ALLEN '16 WORKED AS A GLOBAL SOCIAL BENEFIT FELLOW THROUGH MILLER CENTER FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP. WORKING WITH SOLAR SISTER, SHE TRAVELED TO 15 EAST AFRICAN VILLAGES CONDUCTING ACTION RESEARCH.

LINDSEY ALLEN '16 WORKED AS A GLOBAL SOCIAL BENEFIT FELLOW THROUGH MILLER CENTER FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP. WORKING WITH SOLAR SISTER, SHE TRAVELED TO 15 EAST AFRICAN VILLAGES CONDUCTING ACTION RESEARCH.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 31, 2017—Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is a pioneer in social entrepreneurship and impact investing. Founded as the Center for Science, Technology, and Society in 1997, Miller Center melds Silicon Valley’s spirit of innovation with Santa Clara University’s Jesuit ethos to help find sustainable solutions to global poverty.

“Miller Center’s mission is to accelerate global entrepreneurship in service to humanity,” said Jeff Miller, chair of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and a trustee of Santa Clara University. “We do everything in our power to help social enterprises thrive, so they can succeed in their work to eradicate poverty.”

Miller Center is part of a broad ecosystem that uses social entrepreneurship—which blends the goals of social action with the rigor of business know-how—to create social change and address environmental challenges. Aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015 and the call to action by Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’, Miller Center concentrates on advancing social enterprises that help poor communities become resilient to the damaging effects of climate change and that foster economic empowerment and health of women.

“Climate change will impact the global poor most dramatically, and the majority of the world’s 4 billion poor are women,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “Social entrepreneurship offers a solution to these inextricably linked global challenges of poverty, climate change and gender inequality.”

Some Miller Center Accomplishments and Milestones

“Miller Center was founded with a vision of uniting the Jesuit tradition of working to create a more just, humane and sustainable world with the Silicon Valley tradition of innovation in science and technology,” said Jim Koch, senior founding fellow of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and the Don C. Dodson Distinguished Service Professor of Management for Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. “I’ve always seen our role as connecting humanism with technology to serve the common good and especially the needs of the poor. It’s gratifying to witness Miller Center’s progress so far.”

During its first two decades, Miller Center has:

  • Through its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs, served more than 600 social entrepreneurs from 65 countries; their social enterprises have raised more than $340 million in investments and positively impacted more than 230 million lives
  • Enlisted a cadre of more than 140 Silicon Valley executives as Miller Center mentors, who accompany GSBI social entrepreneurs for 6 to 10 months through structured curricula that are personalized and tuned to the needs of the entrepreneurs
  • Trained more than 250 impact investors, whose capital is essential for social enterprises to scale
  • Deployed 75 Global Social Benefit Fellows, undergraduate Santa Clara University students who conduct field-based action research that has helped 22 Miller Center GSBI alumni scale their impact

Miller Center forges strong partnerships with other actors in the social entrepreneurship and impact investing ecosystems. It has built a GSBI Network of more than 25 mission-aligned social enterprise incubators and accelerators around the world, and it is pioneering innovative partnerships with corporations. For example:

  • The General Electric (GE) healthymagination Mother & Child program, focused on social entrepreneurs improving the health of women and children in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Seagate Technology, which engaged Miller Center to train local Seagate business leaders as mentors for Thai social entrepreneurs
  • The eBay Foundation, sponsor of a GSBI Xchange program to systematically transfer Miller Center’s social entrepreneurship methodologies to partners worldwide for local use

Experiments for Amplifying Social and Environmental Impact in the Future

“While Miller Center has accomplished a great deal, the need for social justice is greater now than ever,” said Kreiner. “We continually experiment with new ways to scale the impact of social enterprises, leveraging the acumen of our Silicon Valley mentors, the impact investing community and future change leaders among our students.”

Miller Center is currently experimenting with the replication of successful social enterprise technology solutions and business models by identifying best practices and turning them into playbooks for up-and-coming social enterprises.

For instance, off-grid energy social enterprises might use microgrids in areas of high population density and stand-alone solar home systems in more sparsely populated regions. Playbooks based on best practices of successful off-grid energy social enterprises can help new entrepreneurs jumpstart their efforts, reduce risk for impact investors and allow social enterprises to reach financial sustainability more quickly.

“Directly and through our global network of mission-aligned accelerators, how can we help thousands of social enterprises successfully scale their impact?” asked Kreiner. “How can authentic impact investors locate and ascertain viable deals? How can the next generation of change leaders engage in lifting billions of people out of poverty? These challenges occupy and inspire us.”

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 with an emphasis on climate resilience and women’s economic empowerment. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit www.scu.edu/MillerCenter.

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 www.scu.edu.

Media Contacts:
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu | (408) 554-5121
Colleen Martell | Martell Communications for Miller Center | cmartell@martellpr.com | (408) 832-0147