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Innovation Works and Miller Center Form Partnership to Create 250 Social Enterprises, 5,000 Jobs in Baltimore

 
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Baltimore, March 5, 2019Innovation Works (IW) and Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University announce a strategic partnership designed to advance IW’s goal of creating or enhancing 250 Baltimore-based social enterprises employing 5,000 Baltimore residents and attracting $100 million in capital over the next ten years.

IW was formed to support Baltimore’s entrepreneurship development as a path to creating sustainable jobs, increasing average household incomes, and building neighborhood economies in underinvested communities. Miller Center, as the largest and most effective university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world, brings best practices and experience to the initiative.  

 A five-stage process, which includes partnering with neighborhood organizations; developing long-term mentoring networks; bridging access to investment capital; and, investing in systems that support the field of social innovation are the means to achieve the goal.

 “With committed local program collaborators, a passionate group of mentors, and the strong support of the Jesuit community, our vision of providing a path to economic sustainability for Baltimore’s underserved can become a reality,” said Frank Knott, President of Innovation Works. “Working in tandem with Miller Center, with its successful track record of helping social enterprises scale and be investment-ready, allows us to use and adapt their models and tap their experts to fit our specific needs in Baltimore.”

 Miller Center has helped more than one thousand social enterprises around the world attain operational excellence and prepare for investment through its signature Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs.

 “We are tremendously excited to partner with Innovation Works to bring our time-tested Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) approach to support social entrepreneurs to Baltimore organizations,” said Pamela Roussos, Chief Innovation Officer for Miller Center. “Our global expertise, combined with IW’s deep community roots and strong local partner base, are a powerful combination to help realize the creation of jobs and economic impact for Baltimore families and communities.”

 As one of its first Baltimore initiatives, IW and Miller Center will host Innovation Works Boost—a 3-day workshop taking place June 18-20, in collaboration with Catholic Charities of Baltimore. Based on Miller Center’s GSBI Boost program, this free, capacity-building workshop will accept 20-30 Baltimore-based leaders.  With an emphasis on improving strategic thinking, social entrepreneurs will be more effective in articulating their business plans to demonstrate impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

 Applications are now being accepted at www.IWBMORE.org for participants who:

·      Currently lead an existing for-profit, nonprofit, or hybrid enterprise

·      Are an early-stage enterprise that needs to develop a social enterprise business model

·      Deliver solutions that impact vulnerable, underserved populations in Baltimore

 Training sessions will be led by seasoned social enterprise development leaders from Miller Center and IW, and executive level mentors will support participants throughout the workshop. The deadline to apply is April 12, 2019.

 After the Innovation Works Boost, interested and qualified 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. Each individual will be matched with a mentor from the Baltimore mentor network.

 "Baltimore continues to experience increased energy in the social entrepreneurship sector, with a growing pipeline of talented individuals and organizations driven to move the needle on societal issues,” said Jay Nwachu, Innovation Works’ Chief Innovation Officer. “Innovation Works has a unique opportunity to shift the wealth dynamics in Baltimore. Our focus on social enterprises, commitment to economic development at the neighborhood level and systems-driven approach is a much-needed addition to the ongoing efforts in this sector."

 Innovation Works’ local program and institutional collaborators are core pillars of the Baltimore community, and include Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Open Works, University of Baltimore School of Business, Baltimore Corps, Think|Stack, Ignatian Volunteer Corps, the Maryland Province of the Jesuits, and the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. 

 

About Innovation Works:

Innovation Works is a strategic partner of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the largest and most effective social enterprise accelerator in the world.  IW is adapting Miller Center’s best practices to launch and grow 250 social enterprises over 10 years to employ 5,000 Baltimore residents and attract $100M in capital to Baltimore’s under-resourced neighborhoods. As an innovative, collaborative resource network that connects neighborhoods, entrepreneurs, social innovation assets and investors, IW’s mission is to build sustainable neighborhood economies in Baltimore that will result in better family living, more resilient communities, and a safer, more vibrant city. Learn more about the IW mentor network, apply for the IW Boost Program, and stay connected at www.IWBMORE.org

 

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.

Social entrepreneurship workshops come to California in July

Social entrepreneurship workshops come to California in July

Originally posted on www.ncronline.org

The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in California has been running short workshops for social entrepreneurs all over the world. Now, through a partnership with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, a pilot program is coming to the United States. 

"Even in the worldwide capital of innovation, many suffer from lack of access to basic resources," said Cassandra Staff, chief operating officer of Miller Center.

The San Francisco Bay Area GSBI Boost is a free, three-day, workshop for up to 40 social entrepreneurs "who are positively impacting the lives of those in need in the San Francisco Bay Area." The workshop will focus on strategic thinking, business plans, growth and long-term financial sustainability. Plus, attendees will also have the opportunity to attend networking events.

"Not only will these leaders work directly with Silicon Valley mentors," said Gregory R. Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, "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."

Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County has deep rooted connections from its 12 years of working on this issue in the Bay Area. Kepferle wants to use these relationships to encourage organizations to get involved and ultimately help new groups.

"We believe that with their [Miller Center] global expertise and our connections to the local community that we could spark, hopefully, a revolution here locally," Kepferle said.

Organizations can be for-profit, nonprofit or a hybrid and do not have to be affiliated with the Catholic Church. The main requirement is that the organization focuses on solutions that impact "vulnerable, low-income and/or underserved populations."

After the event, the pilot program will continue for up to 20 organizations by extending its participation with a six-month online program to help organizations develop business models and strategies to continue to grow. In addition to the online program, each organization with also be provided with mentors and will have the opportunity to present at an Investor Showcase in Silicon Valley.

But, it won't stop in California. If the pilot program succeeds, Kepferle said there are dreams of expanding the program nationally, working with Catholic Charities all over the country.

"Just because somebody is poor today, doesn't mean they have to be poor tomorrow," Kepferle said. "Living in poverty, doesn't mean they don’t have ambition and drive. This gives people that opportunity to create work, create income and assets to get out of poverty."

Thane Kreiner, executive director of Miller Center, said the Miller Center began thinking about bringing this type of programming to the United States after the 2015 election, when they noticed people were feeling "disenfranchised."

"We asked the question of whether or not social entrepreneurial approaches might be a mechanism to heal some of the division in the United States," Kreiner said.

And that's how the Miller Center's programing under the umbrella of Social Justice in the United States got started, he said.

The Miller Center is currently hosting more programs than ever before, Kreiner said. Founded in 1997, it has raised $580 million in investments and helped 259 million people, according to the Miller Center website.

Applications are open until June 1, with the program taking place July 24-26, in San Jose, California.

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 

Entrepreneurs and investors mobilize to tackle challenges of refugees, migrants and modern-day slaves

Entrepreneurs and investors mobilize to tackle challenges of refugees, migrants and modern-day slaves

Original post from ImpactAlpha

ImpactAlpha, May 23 – An emerging ecosystem is beginning to move capital for people on the move.

Where others see refugees and other migrants as liabilities, a growing group of investors and entrepreneurs see assets: customers, talent and next-gen leaders.

Stocking the pipeline of ventures targeting “the migration market” with solution-oriented approaches is the Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins accelerator at the Miller Center at Santa Clara University. Among the 21 enterprises in the new cohort is a Nashville company using blockchain to help refugees secure their assets and firms that help refugees make a living through business services they can provide with only an internet connection.

As they grow, ventures that benefit people in forced-labor supply chains can look to a dedicated venture capital-style fund. Humanity United, the Omidyar Group organization, has done at least two deals from its $23 million Working Capital fund for solutions to forced labor and modern slavery. Provenance uses, yes, blockchain, for product traceability; Ulula’s software engages workers across supply chains.

And capital has begun to flow from billionaire George Soros’s $500 million commitment to drive business solutions to refugee challenges. Last year, Soros gave $50 million to Humanity Ventures, a partnership with Mastercard to develop financial tools and services to serve refugees.

To help pull that financing ecosystem together, a group of funders and investors are forming the Refugee Investor Network to connect investors with investable opportunities that benefit refugees. The network, developed by Alight Fund’s John Kluge and Andrew Stern at the Global Development Incubator, aims to help bridge the gap between private investors and non-governmental organizations and advocates. The goal: economies of scale, risk-mitigating partnerships between donors, governments and businesses, and local expertise on refugees and forced migrants.

Growing pools of capital reflect, for better or worse, a growing refugee and migration market. The world’s 22.5 million refugees and as many as 46 million people still forcibly enslaved are only the starkest examples of populations in need of fresh solutions. Another 65.6 million people have been “forcibly displaced,” meaning involuntary driven from their homes. And fully 224 million people, an all-time high, can be called “migrants,” or people living or working outside their homeland.

That’s not only a humanitarian crisis. It’s a staggering supply of untapped talent and leadership, and a demand for housing, healthcare, education and financial services from a population bigger than that of the United States.

By 2030, the new Refugee Investor Network aims to unlock at least $1 billion in new refugee-focused investment deals that, in turn, create at least a million new jobs and livelihood opportunities for refugees and host communities.

“It’s important not just to invest in firms but also in the sector itself,” Kluge told ImpactAlpha in an email exchange. He says there still is a disconnect between investors and deal opportunities. “We want to fix that and make it easier for private investors to put their capital to work supporting both displaced people and the communities hosting them.”

Seed stage

In short-term refugee solutions alone, estimates the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, there is an estimated financing gap of $3.1 billion. Many more billions are needed to ensure refugees and other migrants not only survive, but thrive and lift up the communities and economies around them.

That financing gap presupposes a more traditional foreign-aid approach. The migrant solutions represented by the cohort of early-stage enterprises selected for the “Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins” accelerator at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University, showcase a more investment-driven approach

Leaf Global Fintech out of Nashville, Tennessee is using blockchain to help refugees “bank beyond borders.” Destiny Reflection in India provides court services for rescued women and then trains them for artisan jobs. WorkAround, in Boston, distributes piecemeal work digitally to migrants and refugees with an internet connection. Re:coded, an Iraqi nonprofit, is training young Syrian refugees to code so they can secure work wherever they end up.

The six-month business accelerator will work with 21 organizations focused on training and jobs, business services, food and education, energy access, health insurance and financial services to migrants, refugees and survivors of human-trafficking

Fintech revolution

Kiva’s World Refugee Fund, launched last year, is tapping crowd-sourced investments and funding from corporations and foundations to make $9 million available to refugees to borrow in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and other countries.Kaah International Microfinance Services in Somalia has provided over $8 million in financing to 8,000 Somali entrepreneurs and small business, including many refugee returnees.

Continuing up the capital continuum, the Ascend Venture Fund in Greece, a project of the Radcliffe Foundation, has raised $5 million (of a planned $20 million) to make commercial and sub-commercial investments into ventures in labor-intensive sectors such as agriculture, food, hospitality and tourism. Kuala Lumpur-based Cradle Fund and Hong Kong-based JC Management backed MyCash, which provides financial services to the more than three million migrant worker in Malaysia. Kois Invest is moving ahead with a livelihood bond for Syrian refugees.

Growth capital

Through it’s Working Capital fund, Humanity United is cutting larger checks to ventures in the emerging ‘labor-lens investing” category. Labor-lens investors seek to disrupt the $51 billion in profits reaped from goods made with forced labor. The fund, which raised $23 million in January from Walt Disney Company, Walmart Foundation, C&A Foundation and several impact investors, has backed Provenance, a blockchain-based startup for product traceability and Ulula, a software firm that allows for worker engagement in their supply chains.

Looking for large-scale impact, the hedge fund billionaire George Soros made a $500 million pledge to reshape the global response to refugees. In January, Soros invested $50 million in Humanity Ventures, an education and healthcare-focused partnership with Mastercard. Mastercard will develop products and services that can reach refugees on the move. The Soros Economic Development Fund is an investor in Humanity United’s Working Capital fund.

Corporations like IKEA and Starbucks are intentionally hiring refugees. Airbnb is attracting new hosts eager to house them. A Massachusetts workforce development pay-for-success program is trying to improve employability and skills for adult refugees and other immigrants.

Private capital, public good

The follow-on benefits from helping refugees and migrants build successful lives are huge. With nine out of 10 migrants on the move voluntarily and for economic reasons, each migrant family is its own engine of growth. The IMF says increasing the share of migrants in a population drives per capita GDP growth. Another report found a dollar spent welcoming refugees returns $2 within five years.

Helping refugees resettle in host countries pays off in economic progress and education, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. UNHCR notes that refugees resettled in the U.S., for example, settle quickly and that their income progression outpaces economic migrants.

Eradicating modern day slavery will bring millions into the formal economy and help avert any “race to the bottom” in global labor standards. Migrants rising lifts all boats.

California executives mentor businesses helping migrants and slaves

California executives mentor businesses helping migrants and slaves

Original post from Thomas Reuters Foundation News

LONDON, May 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Top Silicon Valley executives will help to grow the businesses of 21 entrepreneurs helping migrants, refugees and trafficking survivors, California's oldest university said on Tuesday, as companies with a social mission increase around the world.

The 21 social enterprises selected to join Santa Clara University's six-month online programme include a coffee company that uses its profits to educate South Sudanese refugees and a health insurance company for unregistered migrants in Thailand.

"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," said Thane Kreiner, director of the center that runs the programme, in a statement.

Entrepreneurs using businesses to help tackle social problems are emerging across the globe - improving communities, breaking the cycle of re-offending, solving education issues and reducing isolation amongst elderly.

The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University says it is the world's largest social enterprise accelerator, having supported almost 900 young companies with the connections and knowledge they need to succeed.

It is the first time that the center, some 80 km south of San Francisco, has run a programme to boost the business skills, investment readiness and social impact of organisations that serve migrants, refugees and human trafficking survivors.

Mentors include executives from Google, LinkedIn and Paypal.

"Given the Syrian war and impact of climate change on poor communities around the planet, a lot of our mentors are interested in this cohort because they realise there are big problems that are growing in size," said Kreiner.

Worldwide, 258 million people are international migrants, according to the United Nations (U.N.), about 22 million of whom are refugees.

Manyang Reath spent 13 years in refugee camps in Ethiopia after fleeing civil war in Sudan. Now 29 years old and based in Washington D.C., he started 734 Coffee in 2015, using the profits to pay for the education of displaced children like him.

The coffee comes from Gambella in Ethiopia where more than 400,000 South Sudanese refugees live in camps, the U.N. says. Gambella's geographical coordinates - 7˚N 34˚E - give the coffee its name.

Reath has gone from selling 10 bags a month to about 4,000 bags currently and is hoping the business advice will help him create new markets for his coffee and raise awareness.

"There are people who want to do good for refugees but they don't know what to do," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Maybe if they see all these projects, it will shed light on this issue."

(Reporting by Lee Mannion @leemannion, Editing Katy Migiro. (Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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

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.

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

Social Entrepreneurship: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Social Entrepreneurship: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

Leaders in social entrepreneurship, from Miller Center, Skoll, Toniic, Acumen and more, take stock of 2016, look ahead to 2017.

The cusp of the new year naturally prompts reflection about the past and speculation about the future. Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship invited some leaders in social entrepreneurship and impact investing to share their thoughts about the current state of the sector and some trends they see for 2017 and beyond.

“As social entrepreneurship evolves, we need to continually be creative about how we address our ultimate goal, which doesn’t change—and that’s to discover the best ways to help social enterprises worldwide collectively lift billions of people out of poverty,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.

Measuring Impact of Social Entrepreneurship

One of the big challenges is how to measure the impact of social enterprises on the communities they serve, as well as how to attribute what factors lead to particular outcomes.

“Is social entrepreneurship really making a dent in the big problems facing the world today? 2017 would be a good time to talk about this,” said Harvey Koh, managing director of FSG.

Sasha Dichter, chief innovation officer for Acumen, oversees the organization’s work in leadership and the spread of ideas, including Acumen’s work in impact measurement, called Lean Data. He said: “In 2016 we saw huge strides and appetite for impact measurement that was fast, cost-effective and useful to entrepreneurs. My belief is that in 2017 we will start to see widespread adoption of Lean Data and similar nimble approaches to impact measurement—and for the first time we will start to hear, at scale, the voice of the customers we are serving.”

“In any given year, financial returns can go up or go down. Up, we feel great; down, awful,” said Adam Bendell, CEO of Toniic. “Measured impact also has volatility, whether you look for social impact or carbon reduction. But values alignment—the process of aligning our investments with our values, across asset classes—that can go up each and every year, until it reaches 100%. And that steady progress is a source of tremendous psychic income to the conscious investor—one that mitigates the emotional volatility of investing and brings lasting joy.”

On the other hand, Lisa Kleissner, co-founder of KL Felicitas Foundation, observed that the notion of impact washing became more prevalent in 2016. Impact washing is when a company or organization spends more time and money claiming to be “impactful” through advertising and marketing than actually implementing business practices or producing investable products that truly deliver positive social and environmental impact. “To avoid impact washing, impact networks such as Toniic become so much more important—to provide clarity on what is and what is not impact,” she said.

One of the “goal posts” that Miller Center and others have identified for benchmarking the impact of social enterprises are the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs, which celebrated their one-year anniversary in 2016, provide specific goals for ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity and well-being for all.

Marshaling Capital from Across the Investment Spectrum

Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), acknowledged the crucial role of financing in the success of social enterprises. She said: “CRS has taken some bold steps to become an active participant in the impact investing landscape, focused on leveraging resources, taking risks in new financing models, and helping to unlock entrepreneurial capital in the sectors and geographies in which we work. We see a number of trends that continue to inform our forward momentum on impact investing, including an increased interest from our traditional donors to catalyze the sector.”

As an example of these trends in impact investing, Woo described a CRS partnership with USAID to develop a fund that will make grants and loans to community organizations in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. This fund will be paired with technical support for communities to develop robust, inclusive development plans and projects—and it will be augmented by $50 million of additional public and private support for the target communities.

“As we move into 2017,” Woo continued, “we are looking forward to new partnership opportunities to create similar innovative financing solutions. We have also committed our own funds to make mission-aligned investments that create sustainable solutions for the poorest and most vulnerable worldwide.”

KL Felicitas Foundation’s Kleissner noted that 2016 saw “a remarkable uptick across the ecosystem in the increase of financial product offerings, impact intermediaries and new capital moving in. Impact investing definitely arrived in 2016,” she said.

To help explore new ways to address the funding of social enterprises, particularly as they scale, Miller Center has identified the “Transformative Frontier,” which spans the entire investment spectrum from approaches focused purely on investment returns to pure philanthropy.

“The trend line for social entrepreneurship has never been more promising,” said Sally Osberg, president and CEO of Skoll Foundation. “Increasingly, investors across the spectrum—commercial, impact and philanthropic investors—recognize the imperative for innovative solutions to societal challenges, knowing that the very future of democracy and free enterprise hang in the balance.”

Focusing on Replication and Taking a Systems Perspective

One potential avenue for making investment in social enterprises less risky, while creating pools of talent to expand the reach of social entrepreneurship, is to replicate validated social enterprise technology solutions and business models.

“We see strong potential in efforts to scale tried and tested models, while reaching deeper into the strongest pools of entrepreneurial talent. That would be great for accelerating impact, and it should also be interesting for investors,” said FSG’s Koh.

KL Felicitas’s Kleissner expressed a new urgency for impact investing and social entrepreneurship: “It has to be mentioned that the recent U.S. election underscored the importance of our work and that we are not working fast enough to solve domestic issues such as lack of access to education and sustainable job opportunities, both of which are key to a healthy democracy,” she said. “The relative ease with which Russia and social media manipulated U.S. voters laid bare how fragile our democracy is. My hope is that in 2017, the fourth sector—the emerging ‘for-benefit’ sector of the economy combining the private sector’s market-based approaches with the public and nonprofit sectors’ social and environmental aims—will strengthen and become a force in healing our democracy.”

Skoll Foundation’s Osberg highlighted the challenges to social entrepreneurship from larger cultural issues: “Knowing the imperative for innovative solutions to preserve the future of democracy and free enterprise, those stakes raise the ante for social entrepreneurship. If social entrepreneurs are to fulfill the promise of their innovative solutions to social challenges, then more social entrepreneurs must be able to demonstrate results at scale, and more investors must be willing to make bigger and more sustainable bets.

“When one adds in populist uprisings in both developed and developing world countries—fueled by globalization, demography, climate change and automation—it’s easy to see just how much more challenging the task of the social entrepreneur becomes,” Osberg continued. “It’s incumbent upon all of us who seek out and support social entrepreneurs to appreciate that their work has become all the more difficult, to step up our commitments and to join forces for the future we know is possible.”

FSG’s Koh emphasized that “we need to move into systems thinking, which is a departure from the impact enterprise approach. As we push to overcome barriers, we realize that what’s needed is bigger than working with just the social enterprises. It also includes governments, societies and other pieces that are part of larger systems.

“The systems people and the social impact people have different starting points and they don’t interact, but they should be connected,” Koh continued. “For example, the world of governments and big bilateral donors and intermediaries might work to improve agricultural markets—a very systemic, top-down approach. Social enterprises might work from the bottom up with individual farmers. It’s difficult to connect these two ends because they live in such different worlds, but we need to tie them together by thinking about the end goals. Is it to get more social enterprises going, or is it to grow more capital, or is it to have economies that are more inclusive?”

“In my mind, the only effective path forward for social entrepreneurship is through collective action that achieves collective impact: identifying and replicating lots of similar innovations, while aggregating a full range of capital and applying it intelligently so that all the efforts add up to making a huge difference,” said Miller Center’s Kreiner.

Miller Center is a pioneer and leader in this field, having started its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) social enterprise accelerator programs at about the same time the Skoll Foundation was founded and that Acumen was launched.

“Successful trailblazers see where to go before others know the path,” said Kreiner. “Miller Center has embarked on a number of experiments in replication, new capital approaches, and building a network to spark greater collective efforts across the entire ecosystem. Our hope is that this experimentation, along with thoughtful analysis and continued conversations, will lead to best practices that can be applied to communities in need.

“In the end, this is not just about entrepreneurship or investing or philanthropy,” he said. “It’s also about understanding how societies function, and how societies are affected by ever-changing environmental conditions. The call to action for all of us is to mobilize the capital, the innovation and the passion that will make it possible to achieve our ultimate goal of eradicating poverty on a global scale.”

As Pope Francis wrote in his Laudato Si’ encyclical: “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis, which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time protecting nature.”