The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship accelerates the growth of social enterprises who serve the poor and protect the planet.
The Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is about 40 miles south of the world’s most fertile entrepreneur ecosystems, Silicon Valley. Located within Santa Clara University, they have a rich heritage as part of the Jesuit tradition. These two factors give them a unique perspective on how the best practices of rapid business growth can be applied to some of the most pressing issues of our day.
Through their Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), the Miller Center has worked with over 600 social entrepreneurs in 65 countries.
Thane Kreiner, Executive Director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship told me, “Our primary work has been to connect the Silicon Valley principles of taking ideas to scale, with the social enterprises from all over the world.”
Thane has played a role in Silicon Valley for many years. He joined an early startup biotech company in 1993. Starting in 2007 Thane launched a number of biotech companies. Like any venture capital-backed founder in Silicon Valley, he felt the pressure to maximize financial returns.
The pressure of financial returns began to compete with Thane’s core values. He told me “My ultimate motivation, the core of my being, was about how science and technology could benefit humanity.” As he struggled with his crisis of conscience, a friend of his told him about the Miller Center.
After looking at the web site, he was struck with this idea of connecting Silicon Valley entrepreneurial principles with ventures that are serving the poor in the developing world. He explains “It felt like it brought everything in my life together.”
Thane joined the Miller Center in 2010 as the Executive Director. He joins the Social Entrepreneur Podcast to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. Congratulations!
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Thane Kreiner
“We are working almost exclusively with social entrepreneurs who are past what we call the ideation stage.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘What we’re trying to do is help them become investment ready.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent”]
“It’s serendipity. It’s hard to imagine how I could have planned ending up at Miller Center.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘I think the need for social entrepreneurship is greater now than ever.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘It takes collective action to make collective impact.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
“Most of the population growth is going to take place in the developing world.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Learn from others.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
“There’s a lot of potential in learning from what has come before.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Understand the local context.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Engage with the communities you wish to serve.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
“What we probably need is thousands or tens of thousands of community-based enterprises.”
“There’s both a moral and market reason to understand and embrace the sustainable development goals.”
[spp-tweet tweet=”‘Invest in women entrepreneurs.’ @ThaneKreiner, @MillerSocent“]
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship: http://www.scu-social-entrepreneurship.org
- Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI): http://www.scu-social-entrepreneurship.org/gsbi
- From Blueprint to Scale: http://acumen.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/From-Blueprint-to-Scale-Case-for-Philanthropy-in-Impact-Investing_Full-report.pdf
- Social Enterprise Stage Assessment Tool: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/55036eefe4b0fe6c8e833e4a/t/56043cf5e4b06445d02bfa16/1443118325671/Stage+Assessment+Tool+%281%29.pdf
- Solar Sister: https://www.solarsister.org
More Stories of Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty
In 2017, we’re emphasizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In January, we focused on Sustainable Development Goal 1, No Poverty. Today’s episode is a transition from SDG 1 to Sustainable Development Goal 2, Zero Hunger. You can read more about Sustainable Development Goal 1 here, Sustainable Development Goal 2 here, or learn about the Sustainable Development Goals here.
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