Social Entrepreneurs: Innovation For A Better World
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 22, 2007 (KGO) (KGO) -- Santa Clara University has invited a group of innovators to Silicon Valley, but these aren't your typical entrepreneurs. Their ideas are all about making life better in developing countries.
One device called a rope pump is being used in Cambodia. A compact LED flashlight is replacing kerosene lamps in rural India. Ergonomic benches are helping women in Latin America.
"Using this device allows them to weave an article in one third the time it used to take," said entrepreneur Karen Piegorsch.
Nineteen social entrepreneurs representing 12 countries are at Santa Clara University for a two week program called the "Global Social Benefit Incubator" or GSBI.
"They are social entrepreneurs who are developing innovative technologies that can be applied in developing countries and serve the poorest of poor in ways that can make their lives better," said Jim Koch, GSBI director.
Most of the ideas have already won awards and recognition. GSBI wants to help take the products to the next level.
The boot camp stresses that it's not enough to have an innovative idea that helps people. The project has to be financially sustainable.
The incubator helps develop business plans, find venture capital funds and pair participants with Silicon Valley mentors.
Angelique Smit hopes to increase sales of the rope pump by providing villages with a loaner.
"We install a distribution model. We will do some presentations, then come back in a month's time and collect the orders," said Smit.
The LED lamp is on its own path to success.
"United Nations and Afghanistan gave us a repeat order, after the first one was completed," said social entrepreneur Satish Somepalli.
GSBI offers strategy to entrepreneurs with a heart.
"I believe in fact that every human group needs a helping hand to move ahead, to forge ahead," said entrepreneur Mohammed Abba.
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