Social Enterprise-Investor Matchmaking In Silicon Valley
3CF board members Erica Jordan and Sara Cannon attended this year’s Global Social Benefit Institute GSBI Investor Showcase, a presentation of 14 social entrepreneurs who had recently completed the 10-month GSBI accelerator program. Through this program, entrepreneurs from all over the world are paired with volunteer mentors. The culmination of their work together is the Investor Showcase, where funders listen to each pitch, network with entrepreneurs over lunch, and in some cases sit down with them to begin more serious discussions about their business and investment requirements.
The organizations qualified for this type of program tend to be early and middle stage businesses that have found a way to do well (become profitable) by doing good (provide a social benefit). For example, Alloysius Attah presented at the GSBI on Farmerline, an enterprise that is helping impoverished farmers throughout Africa increase their crop yields by improving their access to timely and accurate agricultural information. Likewise, Shantanu Pathak presented on CareNx Innovations Pvt Ltd, a company that develops technologies to quickly deliver healthcare services to remote patients in India using mobile platforms.
Businesses such as Farmerline and CareNx Innovations, often considered revolutionary change makers, continuously face harsh challenges as they pioneer new territory in their fields. Such challenges often include constraints related to infrastructure, human resources, political risk, and perhaps most importantly, financing.
The Global Social Benefit Institute at Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is significant because it convenes impact oriented entrepreneurs and investors in one room to help entrepreneurs overcome some of these challenges, thereby strengthening both the businesses and their collective impact. In particular, the forum is critical for helping entrepreneurs to access - and investors to deploy - capital. Without this, neither entity can exist, much less grow.
Since 2003, 572 social entrepreneurs have participated in the GSBI accelerator program, and collectively have raised $308M to date. As a foundation focused on sustainable solutions to poverty, 3CF is encouraged by this record and hopes to see it gain even more traction in the future.
Erica Jordan has served on the board of 3rd Creek Foundation since 2007. In addition to her work with 3rd Creek, Erica is a Court Appointed Special Advocate and board treasurer for Haight Ashbury Psychological Services. Erica has lived in London and Norway, and traveled for work and study throughout Europe, Turkey, Uganda, Nepal and the Philippines. She received her BA in Classical Studies from King’s College London, and after focusing on family for several years, she has returned to school to pursue an MBA in Global Management from Dominican University of California. Erica is an avid photographer and loves to garden.
Sara Cannon joined the 3rd Creek Foundation board in 2013. She graduated from UC Davis in 2003 with a Bachelor's of Science in Human Development, San Francisco State University in 2005 with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, and TEFL Worldwide Prague in 2008 with a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certificate. She currently teaches 5th grade in the San Jose Unified School District in San Jose, CA.