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TMCNet:  Entrepreneurs Battling Global Poverty Come to Silicon Valley Aug. 14 to 22

[August 04, 2014]

Entrepreneurs Battling Global Poverty Come to Silicon Valley Aug. 14 to 22

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--

Venture capitalist and Netflix board member Tim Haley has spent his career working with entrepreneurs with businesses like mobile apps, smart-TV technology, or online-education technologies, in the fast-moving world of Silicon Valley.

But this summer, he's mentoring a very different sort of entrepreneur: the leader of a company that uses Avon-style tactics to sell soap, cosmetics, and sanitary products to Bangladeshi women who often are homebound because their patriarchal society won't let them go shopping without male escorts.

Haley is one of about 50 mentors who every year volunteer their time for Santa Clara University's GSBI® Accelerator, a 10-month training and mentoring program for seasoned social entrepreneurs who are seeking help to overcome obstacles and reach exponentially greater numbers of customers and beneficiaries.

The company Haley is mentoring, JITA Bangladesh, is one of 14 "social enterprises" -- commercial organizations that aim to benefit humanity, not just maximize profits -- taking part in the 12th annual GSBI program. Each of the ventures -- including an Indian provider of eye care, an African company that converts farm waste into clean cooking fuel, and a Chinese provider of renewable solar energy -- was created to help solve worldwide problems of poverty, such as toxic cooking fuel, lack of electricity, the dearth of health-care services, or livelihood opportunities.

On-campus classes and investor showcase

The GSBI Accelerator Class of 2014 will be on Santa Clara University's campus Aug. 14 to 22 for the in-residence portion of the program. After eight days of meetings with their mentors and intensive classes on subjects such as business strategy and impact metrics, the social entrepreneurs will present their business plans at an investor showcase. The showcase is annually attended by 200 or so Valley investors, industry experts, and individual philanthropists interested in "impact inveting."


This year's showcase will take place at Santa Clara University's Recital Hall on Thursday, Aug. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will also be live-streamed at www.scu.edu/investorshowcase.

Investors interested in attending the showcase should visit scu.edu/investorshowcase or email gsbi@scu.edu or call (408) 551 - 3053. The event is not open to the general public but some invitation-only seats are available by emailing gsbi@scu.edu

Reporters interested in interviewing any of the entrepreneurs or mentors while they are in town, or attending the investor showcase, may contact Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations, dlohse@scu.edu or 408-554-5121.

The Global Social Benefit Institute

The Global Social Benefit Institute is unique for several reasons:

  • The high caliber and ongoing support of Silicon Valley mentors who come back year after year to train GSBI Accelerator companies. The mentors are current or former CEOs, venture capitalists, marketing experts, experts in solar or other forms of alternative energy, and other seasoned veterans.
  • A fellowship program enables undergraduate students to provide market and other research to the social entrepreneurs, taking the students to countries like Brazil, India, Nepal, Uganda, and Paraguay, and generating vital market intelligence for the social entrepreneurs.
  • The Institute provides mentoring and support to earlier-stage social enterprises in countries all over the world, via an online-only program, GSBI Online. Through web modules and video conferencing, participants receive guidance from their Silicon Valley mentors, as well as mentors in their home regions.
  • The GSBI has spawned the GSBI Network, composed of mission-aligned programs and universities-many of them Jesuit like Santa Clara -- around the globe that collaborate in their work supporting social entrepreneurs and their businesses.

"Collectively, we strive to provide support, mentoring, and networking opportunities to social entrepreneurs who are in a position to improve the lives of up to one-fourth of the global poor," said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., executive director of the Center. "Ultimately, we'd like to positively impact a billion lives by the year 2020."

Sponsors of the GSBI Accelerator program include: eBay Inc. Foundation, Applied Materials (News - Alert), Skoll Foundation, the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and the GSBI Endowment Fund supported by Jeff and Karen Miller and Howard and Alida Charney.

About the Center for Science, Technology, and Society

The goal of Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society - home to GSBI - is to help social entrepreneurs help the poor by providing affordable life-saving or life-enhancing products; new jobs or livelihoods; or information and tools to help themselves.

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 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.


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