Innovation Works


Curricular adaptations for IW GSBI® Online accelerator. These modifications include integrating the IW framework, creating example enterprises applicable to the context of Baltimore, and adjusting the inclusivity of language to different types of organizations. Adaptations were implemented directly on the GSBI® Online platform.

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From global to local: strategic insights for IW GSBI®. This report shares recommendations for both Innovation Works and Miller Center on the continued integration of the GSBI® model in Baltimore, as well as guidance for future domestic partnerships. It analyzes findings from the inaugural IW GSBI® Boost to provide a framework for the curriculum, and to inform format and delivery, intentional language, and diversity and inclusion, among other considerations.

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Innovation Works is an innovative, collaborative resource network that connects neighborhoods, entrepreneurs, social innovation assets, and investors to build sustainable neighborhood economies in Baltimore.


Evaluate the efficacy of GSBI methodology in Baltimore, and adapt it to succeed in this context.

Research Activities

Innovation Works aims to create sustainable neighborhood economies through accelerating social entrepreneurship to reduce Baltimore’s racial wealth divide. By starting at the grassroots level, IW creates an entire ecosystem for social entrepreneurship at every stage of development. IW emphasizes collaborative efforts for greater impact, including implementing GSBI® programs to accelerate social enterprises in Baltimore. The GSBI® curriculum has evolved to mainly support product-based, global SEs with earned income at a later stage of development. However, many promising entrepreneurs in Baltimore are running early-stage, nonprofit, service-based, hyper-local or citywide social enterprises. At the inaugural IW GSBI® Boost in June 2019, I gathered ethnographic data, then analyzed post-Boost survey feedback and conducted one-on-one follow-up interviews. Based on the feedback, I modified the curriculum for two GSBI® programs in order to improve the efficacy of the GSBI® model in a domestic, urban context.

Key Findings:

    1. Hyper-local programs spark connections that amplify impact. The IW Baltimore Boost resulted in more substantial connections among social entrepreneurs than is generally observed in other Boosts.
    2. A larger pipeline for social entrepreneurship benefits the entire community. Meeting people “where they are” prioritizes grassroots solutions and utilizes existing assets.
    3. Social entrepreneurship is often misunderstood. Therefore, steps must be taken to integrate further education about the term into the curriculum.

What the Entrepreneurs Are Saying

As a young, fast-growing organization, it was especially helpful that the GSB Fellowship builds in time for pre-work so that the Fellow can gain an understanding of their placement organization ahead of time; this enables them to hit the ground running when they arrive. This pre-work period allows the Fellow to have sharper insights throughout their placement and ultimately makes for higher quality deliverables that are thoroughly researched and yet practical for immediate integration. Almost as helpful as the pre-work time is the post-work period where all the Fellows return to Santa Clara to wrap up their deliverables and get back into the groove of university life. This allows the Fellows to digest and reflect on their experiences – both alone and together as a group – which can help them zoom out and synthesize the entire Fellowship as they prepare their final deliverable materials. While our organization was still pushing full speed ahead with hardly a day to reflect on the programmatic ramifications of the Fellowship, our Fellow was able to take that necessary time and package her reflection in a succinct and actionable manner so we could easily pick up where she left off and begin making suggested changes.

Jay Nwachu, Chief Innovation Officer Innovation Works



Social Enterprise:
Innovation Works

Avery Rissling
Political Science, Dance