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