Fostering Scalable, Sustainable Social Change and Economic Opportunity
By: Amy Millington
Today is International Corporate Philanthropy Day, a time each year for the private sector to raise awareness about the community-focused programs they support that create positive social change. Here at eBay Foundation, we’re recognizing the day by highlighting a new collaboration with the Global Social Business Incubator (GSBI) — an internationally renowned program, based in our own backyard, that provides counsel and resources to world-changing startups addressing critical social issues.
Operated out of Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology and Society, GSBI helps refine the business skills of top socially conscious entrepreneurs and enterprises around the world, while simultaneously working with them to create fundable and rapidly scalable business plans. As part of the program, participants attend a 10-day intensive boot camp, where they hone the skills necessary to communicate with potential investors and present to leaders in social innovation and the private sector; they’re also matched with experienced Silicon Valley industry mentors who provide guidance and support. By finessing their business plans and learning how to more effectively secure capital, GSBI participants exit the program with more tools and expertise to scale their enterprises in a financially sustainable way.
One example of a GSBI-incubated program is Fundación Paraguaya — an organization we’ve supported for their Financially Self-Sufficient School model. The idea is simple but effective: combine traditional high school subjects with opportunities to start and run small-scale, on-campus enterprises, like dairy/milk processing centers, organic gardens, roadside stores and rural hotels. In this way, the organization helps low-income, under-employed youth access educational opportunities and use them to transition to jobs and financial independence. To date, Fundación Paraguaya has been responsible for the creation of close to 16,000 new jobs in Paraguay alone, and it’s just one of many examples of the powerful impact GSBI has helped develop and accelerate.
Since GSBI graduated its first class in 2003, the program has amassed a significant alumni base; GSBI currently has over 165 alumni organizations in 55 countries. In fact, 95 percent of GSBI alumni are still in operation and 55 percent are scaling. Through our collaboration, eBay Foundation is providing a one-year, $100,000 grant to fund four high-potential social entrepreneurs in the program. The four individuals receiving our support will be selected for their potential to maximize social impact through increased income generation, access to markets, and local employment. We’re also exploring putting forward an eBay Inc. leader to serve as an industry mentor during this year’s boot camp.
GSBI and the eBay Foundation are united in our belief in harnessing the power of social innovation and collaboration to advance solutions to today’s seemingly biggest and most intractable societal challenges. By supporting GSBI and their commitment to foster social change, we’ll be able to help cultivate and scale the Fundación Paraguayas of today to become the mainstream change makers of tomorrow. In our eyes, there’s no better way to commemorate International Corporate Philanthropy Day.
Be sure to check back for updates on the social entrepreneurs and organizations that we support, and their experience going through the 2013 GSBI program. To find more details about the program, please visit:http://www.scu.edu/socialbenefit/entrepreneurship/gsbi/.