Earlier this year, eBay Foundation announced its support of the Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBI), an accelerator for start-ups addressing critical social challenges based out of Santa Clara University. Since then, we’ve been involved in a number of different ways to help this year’s cohort of social innovators get the resources they need to scale their missions and, ultimately, have world-changing impact.
First, our grant of $100,000 enabled four of the 20 fellows to participate in this year’s program. The four ventures we supported were:
- Avani – An organization supporting the development of sustainable livelihoods in the Central Himalayan region of India
- Drishtee Development and Communications – An organization pioneering a low-cost, last mile distribution network for the packaged product needs of small- to medium-sized villages in India
- Juhidi Kulimi – An innovator in the way smallholder farmers and rural enterprises across Kenya access the tools and financing they need to scale up and succeed
- Kinara Capital – A Bangalore based social business that provides debt capital loans in the range of $2,000-$20,000 to micro and small businesses through an innovative supply-chain financing model (Above, a representative from Kinara)
Our funding enabled these social entrepreneurs to participate in-person in a ten-day “boot camp” at Santa Clara University. It was an intensive time for the cohort to come together and participate in in-depth classroom sessions and breakouts with content and issue area experts, working sessions with their mentor teams, and networking events. The program also had a particular emphasis on preparing the participants to speak effectively with investors and navigate the complex process of seeking outside investment. In fact, the “boot camp” concluded with an investor showcase during which the social entrepreneurs pitched for capital and resources they need to scale. And since the start of the program in April, 50 percent of the enterprises in this year’s cohort have received some form of investment.
In addition to the monetary resources we provided for this year’s accelerator, we also tapped into the skills and expertise of our employees. Whether through assisting in operations reviews of the participating organizations, providing feedback on the investment pitches, or just getting to know the fellows on an individual and personal level throughout the course of the program, a number of eBay Inc. employees jumped at the chance to get involved. Perhaps even more than the grant money, we think these human connections will be invaluable for a long time to come.
Enjoy these pictures of representatives from Drishtee (below) and Kinara (above) from the pitch event. We look forward to all the great social impact to come from the four ventures we supported and the rest of this year’s GSBI cohort!