In the heart of the Silicon Valley lies Santa Clara University (SCU) -- my alma mater and often known as the birthplace of sport superstars such as Brandi Chastain. For those in tech and law, SCU is recognized as having among the top engineering, business and law undergraduate and graduate programs. But above all else, SCU is known for its commitment to Jesuit tradition and liberal arts education.
It’s no wonder SCU created the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) to "promote the use of science and technology to benefit underserved communities worldwide, primarily by working with socially-minded entrepreneurs" in 1997. As the dot com bubble burst and others saw innovation and technology fleeting, SCU recognized the potential to foster the next generation of innovators and social entrepreneurs and continued to forge ahead, starting their signature program, the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI) in 2003.
The GSBI program brings together socially minded entrepreneurs to help them build sustainable, scalable organizations that solve problems for the most poverty stricken people in the world -- those living on less than $1 a day.
The GSBI program includes online business plan development in partnership with graduate level students, open to all program applicants. Twenty are then chosen to receive scholarships and work with mentoring teams comprised of Silicon Valley executives to continue business plan development. The program culminates with a two-week in-residence boot camp and business plan presentations before mentors and Venture Capitalists.
The program accomplishments include 139 award-winning social enterprises since 2003, including micro-financing non-profit, Kiva. The work of these organizations has benefited more than 70 million people throughout the world, with CSTS’s goal of positively impacting 1 billion people by 2020.
Applications for the GSBI program are open to all socially-minded entrepreneurs starting in January.
CSTS on Facebook
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Tim Draimin, Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (INTERVIEW)