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Social Benefit Incubator


Center for Science, Technology, and Society

S a n ta C l a r a U n i v e r s i t y “My favorite part of the GSBI residence was the countless hours that the faculty dedicated to critiquing my business model and those of my peers. GSBI also gave me a set of tools that I continue to use to evaluate and improve upon Literacy Bridge’s business strategy.” Cliff Schmidt ’10, Executive Director of Literacy Bridge

Angaza Design, East Africa ’11 provides clean, bright solar-powered LED lights for the 150 million East Africans without access to electricity. These LED lights enable families to live healthier lives and save $140 per year on the cost of kerosene and batteries.

Science and Technology for the Underserved The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI™) empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable, scalable organizations that solve problems for people living in poverty around the world.

Literacy Bridge, Ghana ’10 provides poor, rural communities with on-demand access to locally relevant audio knowledge via “Talking Book,” a simple and durable $10 audio computer that plays, records, and copies spoken messages.

The GSBI is the signature program of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society. We work with organizations that create value by lifting people out of poverty, utilizing self-sustaining community practices, and developing low-cost solutions. The GSBI is a combination of online, experiential, and skill-building offerings in an eight-month program.

We collaborate with a diverse group of partners including successful Silicon Valley executives, academic leaders, and the network of Jesuit universities. Our mentoring network helps participants scale their ventures to create jobs, sell their products and services, and solve problems internationally. Social entrepreneurs who apply and win GSBI scholarships build capacity to effect systemic change through our proven combination of curriculum and individualized mentoring. We help participants create strategic business plans that they can confidently present to impact investors and other funders around the world.

Center for Science, Technology, and Society The Global Social Benefit Incubator

Overview of the Program The GSBI’s unique program to help socially-minded entrepreneurs begins with the application process in January, hosted on the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge website ( All applicants benefit from participation in three exercises, mentored by business students who have studied under a leader in the field. Approximately 20 scholarship winners continue the process with five additional exercises, and are matched with Silicon Valley executive mentor teams that help them develop key components of their business plans. These structured assignments in virtual workspaces and via Skype take place over approximately four months, helping entrepreneurs and their mentors develop a set of shared objectives for the in-residence component of the GSBI. Santa Clara University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, serves as the setting for the intense two-week in-residence “boot camp” in August. Classroom sessions led by noted faculty and renowned experts complement peer-to-peer collaboration and mentoring with the Silicon Valley executive teams. Participants “stress test” business plans through curriculum, presentation, and feedback sessions.

Husk Power Systems, India ’09

“Interaction with my mentors was incredibly valuable and I gained phenomenal insights from the session on operational planning. Our team used this lesson from GSBI and devoted two days to zero in on our strategy. We are now clearly focused on the activities that increase our value the most, both financially and in terms of social impact. We are also on track to increase the number of installed power plants by 5X within one year of completing GSBI. It will allow us to directly impact more than 150,000 lives.”

GSBI Class of 2010. Social entrepreneurs from 14 countries attended the August in-residence program at Santa Clara University.

Demonstrated Outcomes Nearly 95 percent of GSBI alumni are still working in their social ventures and more than 50 percent are scaling, meaning that revenue is growing faster than expenses. This scaling rate is more than three times that of conventional for-profit ventures. More than 70 million people have benefited from the work of the GSBI alumni network. Of those organizations that are scaling, approximately 80 percent report that the GSBI had a “high” or “very high” impact on the success of their organizations.

Manoj Sinha ’09, Co-founder of Husk Power Systems

The GSBI Application Process The online application process consists of three business planning exercises: (1) Value Proposition; (2) Target Market Segmentation; (3) Business Model (income and expense drivers, critical success factors). Entrepreneurs receive feedback on each of the three exercises. Of those who complete the exercises, the most promising ventures are invited to submit a formal application. After further evaluation, about 40 entrepreneurs are interviewed and approximately 20 are invited to

continue in the remaining five months of the program. Each social entrepreneur receives a scholarship valued at $25,000. The continued program includes online learning, Silicon Valley executive mentoring, and the intensive two-week in-residence program. Applications can be found on the Skoll Foundation’s Social Edge website (

Featured Clean Energy Alumni

Husk Power Systems (HPS) ’09, India Husk Power Systems (HPS) provides low-cost power that enables farmers to reduce irrigation costs by 45 percent, entrepreneurs to create businesses and increase profit margins, and households to dramatically reduce their cost per lumen-output ratio (more than 200 percent savings). The service localizes fuel resources that are five to seven miles away and eliminates over 190 tons of CO2 emissions annually per village by replacing kerosene, diesel, and methane output with renewable sources.

Alternative Energy Development Corporation (AEDC) ’10, South Africa Using zinc air fuel cell technology, Alternative Energy Development Corporation (AEDC) provides environmentally friendly energy to thousands of people living off the grid in rural African communities. Partnering with mining companies and local community leaders, AEDC develops local entrepreneurs to run service shops for fuel cell recharging, and offers basic electricity services at a cost less than what consumers typically pay for candles and paraffin.

ToughStuff ’09, Madagascar

re:char ’10, Worldwide

ToughStuff is a pro-poor social enterprise that provides solar-powered products for low-income people, replacing expensive and environmentally damaging kerosene lamps and batteries. Users substantially raise their incomes since these robust products provide less expensive sources of light and power and allow them to work more effectively.

re:char provides rural energy through small-scale biomass pyrolysis plants, which convert agricultural and animal wastes into carbon negative electricity and biochar. Biochar is a high-carbon soil amendment that provides a way to permanently sequester atmospheric carbon and improve crop yields worldwide.

Recently Funded Alumni

Movirtu ’10, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) ’10, Nigeria

Movirtu’s “cloud phone” provides affordable access to mobile phone services for the 1 billion people who earn between $1 to $2 a day, cannot afford a phone, but spend 5 to 30 percent of their income on phone sharing or village phones. By providing mobile carriers with innovative, low-cost infrastructure products, Movirtu enables them to offer customers their own phone numbers and messaging accounts without the expense of owning a phone.

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) is a social enterprise that connects underserved Nigerian youth with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) opportunities. PIN places specific emphasis on the ill effects of unemployment and cybercrime, which limit the potential contribution of young Nigerians to the nation’s economy. Having worked with government, civil society, private institutions, and international organizations including the United Nations, PIN has set standards in ICT education, telecenter support, and other ICT interventions in Nigeria.

Solar Ear ’10, Worldwide Solar Ear manufactures low-cost, solar-powered hearing aids with a workforce that is deaf. With a purchase price of only $100 (versus equivalent products priced at $750), Solar Ear makes hearing aids available for low-income people who could not otherwise afford one. In addition, Solar Ear partners provide training, education, and employment opportunities for deaf people in the local communities they serve.

Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio ’09, Nigeria The Smallholders Foundation provides rural poor farmers living in remote isolated communities of Nigeria with sustainable agricultural development information in local languages through the establishment of rural radio stations known as The Smallholders Farmers Rural Radio (SFRR). It deploys, integrates, and utilizes radio with the Internet to deliver timely, reliable, and accurate information to enhance the livelihoods of poor rural farmers. Unlike conventional commercial radio stations, SFRR is livelihood-driven and profitable — deriving 80 percent of its income from radio and Internet operations.

For additional alumni profiles, see Energy in Common (EIC) ’10, Worldwide Energy in Common (EIC) makes small-scale remote and rural renewable energy projects financially feasible by partnering with microfinance institutions, providing them with interest-free green energy loans and technical support. EIC also uses a small-scale carbon offset development process to build the capacity of microfinance organizations to implement their own carbon projects on a large scale.

We are grateful to our partners whose efforts in the field of social entrepreneurship enhance our mission to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide.


Silicon Valley executives, Santa Clara University faculty and students, corporations, and the network of Jesuit universities enable the GSBI to continue empowering socially-minded entrepreneurs to build sustainable ventures that provide essential goods and services to the 4 billion people on our planet who live on less than $3,000 per year.

We would like to acknowledge the following sponsors for their generous support to the GSBI:

More than 40 successful Silicon Valley executives, many former founders of NASDAQ companies or venture capitalists, serve as mentors for the GSBI. The experience not only benefits the entrepreneurs, but also has tremendous value for the mentors themselves. As Bob Dench, 2010 lead mentor commented, “The mentors gain an appreciation for the real obstacles that many of these social entrepreneurs face in developing countries, obstacles that just do not exist here, where we take our infrastructure for granted. It’s a learning experience for all of us.�

Discovery Partners Additionally, our thanks go to the following organization for their ongoing partnership:

XLRI Jamshedpur School of Business & Human Resources

Dasra Social Impact

Innovation Partners

The support of our sponsors ensures our continued success and expansion towards our goal of positively impacting 1 billion people by 2020. The network of Jesuit Universities, and our Discovery and Innovation partners, help us identify emergent social ventures and support them beyond the end of the in-residence program. We depend on the combined knowledge, experience, and passion of our network, and look forward to forging new partnerships that accelerate even greater impact.

Thane Kreiner, Ph.D. Executive Director Center for Science, Technology, and Society

For more information on being involved with the GSBI program as a partner or mentor, please contact Sherrill Dale at or 408-551-6027.

Center for Science, Technology, and Society The Global Social Benefit Incubator


Help Support our Work

CSTS relies heavily on external funding for its operations and programs. We welcome and honor your support for our work, and will be happy to discuss naming opportunities for specific programs and events. We provide appropriate recognition for all contributions and gifts can be designated for specific initiatives, such as GSBI. Supporters can make a gift online at, give a gift of stock, or mail a donation. If you would like further information about donating to the Center, please contact Tomitha Blake at 408-551-6091 or by email at

About the Center for Science,Technology, and Society The mission of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is to promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide. The CSTS implements its mission through its signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator, its partnership with The Tech Museum in The Tech Awards program, the Frugal Innovation Innitiative, and numerous educational and public engagement activities. CSTS is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University that embody the University’s mission to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. The Centers bring together the University’s students and faculty, the Silicon Valley community, and international social entrepreneurs who are employing innovative approaches to tackle the world’s most challenging problems. Through programs such as the GSBI, the Center has worked with nearly 1,000 social enterprises affording us unique insights into leading business models and innovations for the developing world and emerging markets. To learn more about CSTS or any of our social benefit programs, please visit us at

Center for Science, Technology, and Society Santa Clara University 500 El Camino Santa Clara, CA 95053-0470

GSBI 2011 Cohort Federico Maria Grati Agroils SRL—Smart Oil, Ghana

Maria Springer KITO International, Kenya

Lesley Silverthorn Angaza Design, East Africa

Ben Lyon Kopo Kopo Inc., Global

Salinee Tavaranan Border Green Energy Team,Thailand/Burma

Julian Cuevas Kurago Biotek, Mexico

Henry Osadolor Centre for Community Development— Nutrition On Your Doorstep, Nigeria

Mark Joaquin Ruiz MicroVentures Inc.—Hapinoy, Philippines

Hakeem Adebola Lawal Design Peak—My Cola Light, Nigeria

Piyush Jaju Punam Energy Private Ltd.—ONergy, India

Ola Abraham EastWind Laboratories, Nigeria

Therese Clarence Fernandez-Ruiz Rags2Riches Inc., Philippines

Slavka Macakova ETP Slovakia—Centre for Sustainable Development, Slovakia Shawn Frayne Haddock Invention LLC, Guatemala

Katherine Lucey Solar Sister, Uganda William Kisaalita Thermogenn, Uganda

Guirlaine Celius Haiti Community Development Inc., Haiti

Sebastian Ernesto Africano Trees, Water & People, Haiti

Jeroen Verschelling Kamworks Ltd.— MoonLight, Cambodia

Jessica Mayberry Video Volunteers, India

About Santa Clara University Santa Clara University is a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley. Santa Clara offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate programs in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s degrees in a number of professional fields, law degrees, and engineering and theology doctorates. Distinguished by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, Santa Clara educates leaders of competence, conscience, and compassion grounded in faith-inspired values. Founded in 1851, Santa Clara is California’s oldest operating institution of higher education.


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GSBI 2011  

Brochure for the Global Social Benefit Incubator 2011

GSBI 2011  

Brochure for the Global Social Benefit Incubator 2011