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Pioneering Women-Led Cohort Supports Women Leaders in Creating Social Impact

For the first time in Miller Center’s 17-year history of delivering accelerator programs for social enterprises globally,  we have launched a 100% women-led cohort to help advance women leaders and women’s economic growth.

227 women social entrepreneurs from all around the world applied to this new cohort and went through a rigorous selection process. Of those, 17 women entrepreneurs were selected to participate in a 6-month GSBI® online program, combining our world-class curriculum with weekly mentoring sessions with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and C-level managers. Each social entrepreneur will be coached by two executive mentors, including at least one woman.

In addition, this year’s program will be enhanced with customized content and activities that take into consideration the specific challenges faced by women leaders. The program will also address the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses and recommend best practices for crisis management through the pandemic.

The 17 selected women-led enterprises are from 11 countries and are dedicated to improving lives and making an impact in nine social fields — Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, Water, Infrastructure, Information Technology, Financial Services, Culture, and Artisanal Goods.

Discover the 17 social enterprises selected for the 2020 GSBI Women-led Cohort:

“When I look back at the initial drafts of our investment pitch deck and compare them to the final product that we created through GSBI, I am absolutely stunned by the transformation. While we always had an incredible impact story to share and amazing achievements in terms of revenue and milestones, before GSBI we had no idea how to succinctly communicate a snapshot to investors. GSBI made me a better storyteller to the benefit of every element of my business.”

—Rachel Connors, Co-founder & Chief Enthusiasm Officer, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, Miller Center GSBI 2017 participant

Women’s Economic Empowerment, a Strategic Initiative with Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

In support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, Miller Center is focused on supporting women’s economic growth. Investing in women’s economic empowerment globally sets a direct path toward gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. We are supporting more women in becoming successful social entrepreneurs by offering an all-women cohort that provides a space for collaboration among women and a focus on women’s leadership in addition to building a sustainable and scalable business.


7 Reasons to Apply to Our Women-Led GSBI Online Program

Are You a Woman Social Entrepreneur, Leading a Social Organization, Impact Driven, and Engaged to End Poverty?

Miller Center 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, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Here we leverage this entrepreneurial spirit with the University’s Jesuit heritage of service to the poor and protection of the planet.

More than half of the world’s people live in poverty. Social entrepreneurship addresses the root problems of poverty through the power of business and innovation to provide sustainable economic and social impact.

Miller Center’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) helps social entrepreneurs help more people. We deliver world-class accelerator programs that connect global social enterprise leaders with Silicon Valley business executives to develop more sustainable, scalable market-based solutions to the problems of those living in poverty around the world.

In support of UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, Miller Center is focused on supporting women’s economic growth. Investing in women’s economic empowerment globally sets a direct path toward gender equality, poverty eradication, and inclusive economic growth. We want to support more women to become successful social entrepreneurs by offering an all-women cohort that provides a space for collaboration among women and a focus on women’s leadership, in addition to building a sustainable and scalable business.

Looking to take your woman-led company to the next level?

Here are 7 reasons to apply to our first-ever women-led cohort:


    Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship has accelerated over 1,000 social enterprises to achieve operational excellence and prepare for investment. Impact driven, our social entrepreneurs come from all around the world. GSBI has developed a methodology that revolves around three dynamic, interactive aspects: social enterprise accelerator readiness, stage-specific programs, and executive-level mentoring.


    From blueprint to scale, we walk with you every step of the way. The expected outcome of our GSBI Accelerator programs is to move enterprises from the “Validate” stage to the “Prepare” stage. This means that our social entrepreneurs will have a strategy for growing their enterprises in a financially sustainable manner through a validated business model and be able to secure the funding necessary to do so.


    All Miller Center GSBI Accelerator programs are offered at no charge to selected social enterprises.


    Executive mentors are your personal advisors. They will accompany you with expertise in innovation and entrepreneurship throughout the program, focusing on strengthening your impact and business model, and presenting your value proposition in a compelling manner. We believe that Silicon Valley acumen, with its tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship, can boost the social enterprise movement.

    GSBI mentors are successful Silicon Valley business executives with decades of experience and connections who volunteer to work intensively with our social entrepreneurs in an in-depth relationship. Many are founders of successful startups, venture capitalists, or executives at Fortune 500 companies. All are chosen for their experience in startup enterprises and/or profit and loss (P&L) responsibility in larger organizations. Most mentors find the GSBI mentoring process to be personally fulfilling, and they return year after year.


    Our online community platform will help you better engage with peers, mentors, and Miller Center staff for advice and fellowship. Benefit from program management and regular communications to support you and keep you on track. Utilize templates, tools, and resources tailored to your business needs.


    Accepted enterprises will have an opportunity to be invited to an In-Residence in the Bay Area and present at SOCAP 2020 in San Francisco. SOCAP is the largest and most diverse impact investing community in the world. It convenes a global ecosystem and marketplace—social entrepreneurs, investors, foundation and nonprofit leaders, government and policy leaders, creators, corporations, academics, and beyond—through live and digital content experiences that educate, spur conversation, and inspire investment in positive impact.


    Some may question the need for a female-specific accelerator. When compared to the whole venture capital market, this kind of focused support critically impacts investment in women-owned businesses. For example, based on Goldman Sachs All In: Women in VC Ecosystem 2019 Report, we notice that “among entrepreneurs, women receive far less venture capital funding than men do.” But at the same time, investing in women is the best way to end poverty for everyone:

      • Focusing on gender equity can lead to transformative, positive impacts for entire communities because the money that is made by women is much more likely to be spent on things like school fees for their children and correcting social ills in their communities.
      • Women social entrepreneurs, more than their men counterparts, tend to take on more complex societal challenges, such as human trafficking and education, in more comprehensive ways.

“The biggest value the program provided to me was a clear plan for scaling. My mentors were attentive, encouraging, and took time to learn in-depth about our work and this made it easier to work with them.”
—Wawira Njiru, Founder and Executive Director at Food for Education Foundation, GSBI Alumni 2017

Since participating in our 2017 GSBI Accelerator program, Food for Education has increased their investment raised by over 5x and tripled the number of students served with nutritious meals.

Applications for our Online program are due March 2, 2020.  Learn more and apply here.