Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is proud to share Building a Successful Social Venture, which draws from the Center’s experience of mentoring and accompanying hundreds of social enterprises through GSBI® accelerator programs since 2003. This book highlights case studies from social enterprises and combines Silicon Valley business best practices with on-the-ground expertise of social entrepreneurs working globally to eradicate poverty and create a more sustainable world.

Building a Successful Social Venture serves as a blueprint for those who wish to build, sustain, and grow their social ventures. It offers practical insights into the conceptual foundations of social entrepreneurship and provides an innovative framework for social entrepreneurs who wish to learn more about the application of business principles and theories of change for advancing social progress and creating a more just world.

Social venture leaders, aspiring social entrepreneurs, and mentors of social businesses alike are invited to purchase the book on Amazon.






“This book is the culmination of James Koch and Eric Carlson’s dedication to mentoring hundreds of social enterprises, from formation through scale. There’s never one right way to build a company, so they have aggregated and analyzed the different lessons learned from many organizations. This book is well worth the read for any aspiring or practicing social entrepreneur!”
—Lesley Marincola, Founder and CEO, Angaza, (2018 Skoll Awardee, 2016 Tech Laureate, 2011 GSBI Alumna)



“I have had the honor of learning many of the concepts presented in this book directly from Jim and Eric at Santa Clara. I applied many of these concepts at Husk Power Systems and raised funding to scale. This book does a phenomenal job of providing a very detailed and easy-to-follow framework for launching and scaling successful businesses focused on solving world’s biggest problems. There are concrete case studies presented in a succinct way to illustrate how these frameworks can be applied effectively. I would highly recommend both social entrepreneurs and successful social enterprises to read this book and use it as a reference to continually evolve.”
—Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder and CEO, Husk Power Systems (2009, 2013 GSBI Alumnus)
In January 2018 Husk Power Systems received a Series C-round equity investment of $25million to expand its micro grids in Tanzania and India.



“The term “social venture” has been notoriously ill-defined over the past decade.  The authors bring much needed definition to the space. This will be helpful for investors, regulators, and entrepreneurs alike going forward.  At Kiva, we benefited greatly from the GSBI in getting started. This work can help us take it to the next level!”
—Matt Flannery, Co-founder and former CEO, Kiva (2008 Skoll Awardee, 2006 GSBI Alumnus), Co-founder and CEO, Branch.co


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“An inspirational, holistic, and practical resource with real world lessons and examples. A must-read for early stage ventures as well as ventures moving along the path to scale. I admire Jim and Eric’s completeness of vision, and their true and unwavering commitment to building social ventures and mentoring the social entrepreneurs who lead them.”
—Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO, Build Change, (2017 Skoll Awardee, 2007 GSBI Alumna)




“The information found here is detailed and pertinent, with real-life insights into the origins and functioning of social enterprises. Step-by-step guidelines, examples, and charts offer a critical but encouraging perspective on building and scaling social impact.”
—Neelam Chibber, Co-Founder and Managing Trustee, Industree Crafts, (2011 Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for India, Schwab Fellow, 2008 GSBI Alumna)


Dr. Eric Carlson and Dr. James Koch have decades of experience building companies, creating centers of excellence, leading complex change efforts, and educating students. For more than a decade they played pivotal leadership roles in building the unique network of expertise and resources needed to create the most successful university-based social enterprise accelerator in the world—Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) at Santa Clara University.


Eric Carlson recently retired as Dean’s Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Santa Clara University (SCU), Leavey School of Business, and as the Director of the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI). Prior to his 15 year association with SCU, Carlson spent 25 years in research, product development, and executive management in the Silicon Valley. During that time he served as CEO of two software companies. While working in Silicon Valley, he also served 10 years on the Los Gatos Town Council, including two terms as Mayor. Carlson has a B.A. (Economics) from Carleton College in Minnesota, and an M.S. (City and Regional Planning) and Ph.D (Computer Science) from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).

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James Koch is Professor of Organizational Analysis and Management Professor, Emeritus and former dean of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, where he also served as acting dean of the School of Engineering. He is the founder of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, co-founder of the Tech Awards–Technology Benefiting Humanity, and of the GSBI. In addition to entrepreneurship and social innovation, his research and consulting focus on organizational change and the design of high-performance work systems. Prior to coming to Santa Clara, he was director of Organization Planning and Development at PG&E, a recipient of the American Society for Training and Development Award for Excellence in the Organization Development Professional Practice Area. He began his academic career at the University of Oregon where he was associate dean of the MBA and PhD programs before leaving to join PG&E. Jim has served on a number of for-profit and non-profit boards, including Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley and the Board of Trustees of Bay Area Council Economic Institute. He received his MBA and Ph.D in Industrial Relations from UCLA.