I still remember the first time that I visited Santa Clara University, the Jesuit University in Silicon Valley, just south of Stanford, in August of 2005. It was the second occasion that the University’s Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) had invited local investors, donors, advisors, mentors and guests to their Investor Showcase. It was an amazing event where 20 social entrepreneurs from around the world pitched their ideas for their social enterprise.
I was focusing my work on the use of innovation in learning at the time. One of the projects that stood out was Asociación Ajb’atz’ Enlace Quiche, which had developed low-cost, bilingual, intercultural technology centers for indigenous communities across Guatemala. The project, headed by Andy Lieberman, was not only selected to participate in GSBI’s 9-day In-Residence Program in Silicon Valley. It had also won the Microsoft Education Award at the Tech Awards, organized by the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley. This was an amazing track record.
Now, 10 years later, GSBI has become a global leader in supporting social entrepreneurs from around the world. GSBI’s programs help these entrepreneurs develop innovative solutions that provide a sustainable path out of poverty. Andy is now heading GSBI’s New Program Initiatives. These initiatives include the Boost Program, a 3-day workshop for start-up stage social entrepreneurs to learn business fundamentals and improve their strategic thinking. The key benefit of this program is the creation of a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth, and long-term financial sustainability. The other programs that GSBI offers are the 6-month long GSBI Online program for early stage social entrepreneurs, and the 10-month long GSBI Accelerator for mid-stage entrepreneurs. The Accelerator Program includes a 9-day residential phase in Silicon Valley. You can learn more about the GSBI programs here.
Over the past 12 months, Andy and I have been exploring ways to expand GSBI’s Boost Program to Brazil. Last week, with the support of the eBay Inc Foundation, GSBI was able to bring two members from Social Good Brasil (SGB) to Silicon Valley. Social Good Brasil is the leading accelerator program for social entrepreneurs in Brazil. IntoActions has collaborated closely with Social Good Brasil for the past two years, providing capacity-building programs in Human-Centered Design (HCD) for over 250 social entrepreneurs participating in Social Good Brasil’s program. We are very excited to work with both organizations to leverage GSBI’s programs and strengthen social entrepreneurship across Brazil.
Barbara Basso, the Coordinator of the Social Good Brasil Lab, and Fernanda Bornhausen, Co-Founder and Volunteer President of Social Good Brasil, joined directors and staff from six other organizations in a three-day Boost Xchange workshop where they learned the ins and outs of the program in order to adapt and implement it later in the year in Brazil.
Organizations that participated in the GSBI Boost Xchange Program in addition to Social Good Brasil included: Alterna Impact, Guatemala; Child and Youth Finance International Ye! Community, Netherlands (Partners in Ghana, Kenya, Philippines); Momentum Project, ESADE Business School, Spain (Partners in El Salvador); Marquette University Social Innovation Initiative, USA; Minga Social Enterprise Arena, Israel; POSiBLE, Mexcio.