The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®), a pioneer in social enterprise capacity development, has continuously improved its methodology since its founding in 2003. The lessons GSBI has learned from working with 365 social enterprises are broadly applicable to capacity development efforts across sectors and geographies. This paper introduces GSBI and explains the GBSI® methodology, with the goal of helping the global social enterprise movement create more exits from poverty.
GSBI has become a leading, comprehensive program for social enterprise capacity development worldwide. Its suite of stage-specific programs for early and mid-stage social enterprises, along with its network of partners, collectively serve hundreds of impact organizations annually.
GSBI has developed a methodology that revolves around three dynamic, interactive aspects: social enterprise selection, stage-specific programs, and executive-level mentoring. GSBI invites applications from social enterprises that are “impact first,” meaning that their primary mission is to deliver goods and services to those in need.
GSBI evaluates candidates in two phases. GSBI staff filter for general program fit, then score candidates according to criteria that predict each enterprise’s potential for short-term success in GSBI as well as long-term growth. Priority is given to social enterprises with earned income business models, because this approach lends itself to scaling. To match a social enterprise with the curriculum most appropriate to help it grow, GSBI developed a Social Enterprise Stage Assessment Tool.