Impactathon 18: Virtual Distancing and Virtual Convening to Make a Whole Experience

Impactathon® 18 with Soka University of America hosted by Bridges to Business took place virtually (with an on-campus presence) on February 2-4, 2022.

After a kickoff session involving socially distanced speed networking and masks on campus and then moved to virtual with an introductory workshop on social enterprise over Zoom. Students began the ‘teaming’ process of identifying topics, team members and complementary strengths.

The next day included three virtual Impact Talks by practicing social entrepreneurs, representing a mix of business models, stages, and kinds of impact. The day also included mini-workshops on introduction to startup finances, intro to pitching, and intro to problem mapping.

Interspersed during the day were blocks of time for teams to work on their pitch deck and practice pitches with the event team, who are all social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and also with each other. We used tools like a “Dashboard” with quick links and low tech message board to create a more uniform experience and make navigating between virtual and in-person a little smoother.

Many teams worked late into the night or awoke early as they prepared for final pitches on the 3rd day. Judges gathered online and teams shared screens and delivered their pitches and slides over a few minutes and then stayed on to answer questions from judges for an additional few minutes.


Students engaging in social distanced networking

Zoom screenshot from an Impact Talk showing students and speaker

Watch the Pitches


Meet the Teams

Team Name One-line description Team members
Double A Energy Online platform for young artists and community members to display art and contribute towards mitigating light pollution and saving marine life Alisa, Aarohee
Prabashi Sathi

“Friends of Immigrants”

Bridging the gap between the Nepali immigrants and the concerned authorities for efficient communication, help, and support. Anjan, 



Food 4 Fund A mobile application for rescuing food loss from restaurants. Preme,


Embracing the Red


Destigmatizing Menstruation in Nepal through education and awareness using Me-Box, a box containing products and information related to menstruation. Paridhi, 



The Tre Project A non-profit project providing affordable eco-friendly, locally-sourced sanitary pads to Vietnamese ethnic minority groups Carmen, Chau
AhotɔHealth AhotɔHealth is a technology-powered patient management platform that streamlines healthcare delivery and maximizes healthcare outcomes through facilitated access to medical services, affordable prescription medicines, and patient advocacy services. Anthony, Finleyrose, Kelvin,  Baffour
Savvy Govvy A Citizen-Centric Appointment Scheduling Software for Government in Vietnam Thuy, Abigail
Enjovu Paper Enjovu Paper raises awareness for endangered elephants by recycling elephant dung and producing paper products. Anthea, Yixin, Qiankuan


Each team has incredible promise and work ahead. The judges recognized the following teams with awards:


Award Winners

1st Place Social Impact Award

  • Embracing the Red (ME-BOX)
  • Enjovu Paper

2nd Place Social Impact Award

  • Food 4 Fund
  • AhotɔHealth

Most Ready to Go-to-Market Award

  • Savvy Govvy

People’s Choice Award

  • Enjovu Paper


Impactathon event flyer with photos of Impact Talk Speakers, Judges, and Catalysts

Impact Talk Speakers

Impact Talks:

  • jacob adams, STEM to the Future
  • Nisha Desai, Ennuity Holdings
  • David Ochi, V1 Ventures
  • Rachel Connors, Yellow Leaf Hammocks


  • Melody Estrada of Me&Co.
  • Dave Landa of Kintone
  • Tom Havens of HALO Branded Solutions
  • Shaheen Sheik-Sadhal of Esse Law, PC
  • Isabelle Bart, of Smartpreneur Women
  • Brian Walker of Picture Motion


Screenshot of Judges of Impactathon 18 on Zoom

Impact Workshops

  • Introduction to Social Enterprise
  • Problem-Mapping
  • Social Enterprise Pitch
  • Financials for Startups


About Impactathon for Future Flourishing

Impactathon for Future Flourishing was organized as an interactive 24-hour hackathon experience to innovate inclusive solutions to global poverty amid covid-19 and rising awareness of the importance of building more inclusive systems. It took place on Aug 21-22, 2020. Participants joined as teams or individually to build social impact solutions. Cash prizes for top teams included $2000+, as well as non-monetary prizes included will be awarded to top teams.


Impactathon for Future Flourishing event image with Impactathon logo and black and white photos of Impact Catalysts

About this Event

Impactathon® for Future Flourishing was a call to all changemakers and social entrepreneurs driven to find new ways to uplift communities and alleviate poverty in a post-pandemic world.

Participants from hubs around the world joined for a two-day virtual Impactathon where they deepened their understanding about what causes poverty locally and globally and worked in teams to develop solutions.

Poverty, in this moment

Since launching this unique Impactathon in early June, covid19 cases surged and systemic racism emerged as a global movement. Poverty is a critical part of this story. Estimates for global poverty have been increased by 50M attributed to covid-19 (Brookings).

An Impactathon focusing on the mindset of “building an inclusive future”

For Impactathon for Future Flourishing, the 16th Impactathon, Innov8social collaborated with Join the Journey, an international empowerment organization, to take participants on a journey of discovery– diving into realities much of the world faces living day-to-day without stable electricity, water, and paved roads–and exploring how covid-19 affects these issues. Teams worked together to ask questions, research existing solutions, identify gaps, and brainstorm and build approaches to build a thriving future using innovative strategies and existing technologies in a sprint-to-the-finish 24-hour push. Top solutions were awarded cash and other prizes.

Participants heard from a handful of speakers and Impact Catalysts who have started social enterprises and impact organizations that have helped hundreds of thousands of people. You can tune into the recordings to hear their candid experiences in how they navigated unique challenges with an entrepreneurial mindset.

This event did not require a background in social impact. Participants were asked to bring their deep curiosity, a sense of empathy, and a problemsolving mindset. Through Impactathon,  an Impact Workshop walked participants through an introduction to social enterprise and design-thinking approaches to understanding a problem and developing solutions. This Impactathon was designed for those who have ever felt a deep desire to create positive impact, whether locally in their city or globally for the world.

Impact Talk Speakers

  • Mike Sehzue, Partner at Global SouthxSouth, Founder of Miseh Distilling Company. Social Entrepreneur, Impact Investing Advisor.
  • Julie-Anne Savarit-Cosenza, Founder & Executive Director of the African Education Program. Systems thinker in poverty alleviation.
  • Daniel Jean-Louis, President and CEO of Bridge Capital S.A. Social Entrepreneur & Investor.

Impact Catalysts and Panel Speakers

  • Ezenwayi Amaechi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship, Johnson & Wales University, Market Strategist. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Spencer Arnold, Director of Global Operations, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University.
  • Heather Arora, M.S. in Organizational Behavior, Founder of Purple Plants. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Anita Balaraman, Product Management and Marketing Consultant. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Marc Alain Boucicault, Founder and CEO at Banj. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • David Babbs, PhD Social Work (Social Innovation), Activist, Macro, Veteran. Educator.
  • Brendan Barbato, Startup pitch expertise, Brand & Partnerships. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Chuck Brown, Founder of Orion Consulting, Social Enterprise Alliance Board Member. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Nick Brown, Founder at Clear Purchase. International Payment System Expert.
  • Sam C. Burke, Brand Communications and Marketing. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Theresa L Carpenter, Navy Public Affairs Officer, Communication Professional, Advocate for women and companion animals.
  • Adam Cole, Founder of Join the Journey. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Sylvia Doss, Data-driven Strategic Consultant, Senior Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University.
  • Gloria Ferrer, International Economic Development Specialist, Partner at COMPETITIVENESS. Founder of KINADONA. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Miloni Gandhi, Founder and Principal International LLC, Adjunct Faculty Foothill College. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Nathaniel Gilman, Co-founder of Mariner Credential Service. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Michael Gordon, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan.
  • Flossie Hall, COO Assoc.Military Spouse Entrepreneurs. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Andrew Hening, Co-founder Opening Doors Marin, Director of Homeless Planning & Outreach San Rafael. Systems Thinker.
  • Prasad Jaladi, Chief Facilitator of Suraksha.Social Entrepreneur.
  • Cate Johnson, Founder ArborRevolutions, Innovation Catalyst, Advisor, Facilitator. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Mary Patrick Kavanaugh, Director of Special Projects at Soka University. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Michelle Kurian, Executive Director of The Harvest Fund. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Ramon Llamas, MPH, Population Health Strategy at Everytable
  • Mark Lovett, Founder of Storytelling with Impact, TEDx organizer. Impact Storyteller.
  • Mwihaki Muraguri, Storysmith, Principal at Paukwa House. Impact Storyteller.
  • KP Naidu, VP Benetech Labs. Poverty Alleviation Systems Thinker.
  • Pamela O’Brien, Director of Development at African Education Program, International Development Strategist.
  • Adeniyi Oluokun, Co-founder at Consulting Youth, Co-founder at Access Drive. Social Entrepreneur.
  • Mark Papia, Head of Content & Communications at iMerit Technology Services. Social Intrapreneur.
  • Neetal Parekh, Founder of Innov8social, Host of the Impact Podcast, Author. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Leena Patel, MD, MPH, Senior Technical Officer, Public Health Professional
  • Jean-Louis Robadey, Principal Company at Impact Consulting Group LLC. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Larry Simpson, Join the Journey Board Member, Puget Sound & Family Ministry Field Representative.
  • Brian Walker, Founder of Culture Bridge, Social Intrapreneur. Social Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Leon Wang, M.S. in Biomimicry, ABAR Intersectional Environmentalist. Impact Ecosystem Builder.
  • Gillian Foster Wilkinson, Microfinance Learning Manager at HOPE International. Microfinance Specialist.


  • Radha Basu, CEO of iMerit Technology Services, Founder of Frugal Innovation Lab at Santa Clara University.
  • Will Harris, CEO of Willpower Consulting, Chairman of Willpower Humanitarian Foundation.
  • Grace Rodriguez, CEO/Executive Director of Impact Hub Houston, Advisor to Social Enterprises
  • Eric Van Trump, Board Member at Join the Journey, Entrepreneur.


Topic-based Panel Discussions

Informal topical panel talks with various Impact Catalysts were recorded to dive deeper into aspects of poverty alleviation (in developing and developed countries), economic empowerment, social enterprise and impact storytelling.

These talks were shared with Impactathon participants ahead of the start of the virtual Impactathon as a way to learn about topics, meet the Impact Catalysts, gain an introduction into the ‘systems view’ of poverty alleviation, and to being to think like problemsolvers.



Join the Journey awarded cash prizes to top teams. Additionally, Impact Hub Houston awarded three 3-month Accelerate Memberships along with mentoring and pro bono consulting hours awarded by Sponsors.


Who Attended Impactathon for Future Flourishing

  • Social entrepreneurs with proven ideas and traction who are looking to scale their work.
  • Student changemakers
  • Young Professionals looking to learn more about social enterprise
  • Experienced/retired professionals seeking to leverage expertise for social good
  • The active-duty and veteran tech community
  • Faith-based groups seeking to serve through social innovation


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030.

SDG Goal 1 is Eliminating Poverty. From the UN, “The decline of global extreme poverty continues, but has slowed…. People who continue to live in extreme poverty face deep, entrenched deprivation often exacerbated by violent conflicts and vulnerability to disasters. Strong social protection systems and government spending on key services often help those left behind get back on their feet and escape poverty, but these services need to be brought to scale.”


Open to All

Impactathon for Future Flourishing was open to all participants and is not based upon participant race, religion, ethnicity, socio-economic background, sexuality, and gender.


Watch the Panel Talk Videos

About Join the Journey

Join the Journey (JTJ) is a faith-based empowerment organization that provides crowd-sourced micro-loans to entrepreneurs in vulnerable parts of the world. The impact organization recently launched Spark, a mobile application that is a platform to match entrepreneurs and potential donors. JTJ was founded in 2010 by a military servicemember whose experiences serving in the Haiti relief mission post-earthquake there inspired him to work on behalf of the most hurting.


About Innov8social

Innov8social creates experiences, content, training, and tools to make social entrepreneurship and impact leadership more accessible and actionable. This includes The Impact Podcast and book, 51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship, and Impactathon® event series. Its mission is to help individuals and organizations reach their impact potential. Innov8social has partnered to co-convene 15 Impactathons in cities including San Francisco, New York City, Aliso Viejo, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge.

Impactathon is a registered trademark of Innov8social.



Abridged excerpt from book “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship“. 

Business Models for Social Enterprise

In order to bake social impact into a new startup or business, social entrepreneurs have become more creative in thinking about business models. Here are a few business models for social enterprise that mission-driven founders are considering.

  • Buy one, give one. TOMS is an example of an impact company using this model. It has been a business model and in all of their marketing from the start. The nice thing about a business model like this is that it’s as easy to explain to your investors as it is to your customers and to your team. The simplicity can be a big plus when telling your story and mapping out impact goals.
  • Sliding scale / pay what you can. This model has been employed by a number of social enterprises. One notable one is the Aravind Eye Care System in India. It is a nonprofit social enterprise that performs sight-saving eye surgeries. Founded in 1976, Aravind has treated well over 32 million patients and performed more than 4 million surgeries. In fact, according to it’s 2014-2015 annual report, Aravind medical teams at the 67 affiliated locations see over 15,000 patients and perform 1,500 surgeries on a daily basis.  It utilizes a low-cost, high-volume business model for eye surgery services. About 70% of eye surgeries are performed for free or below cost, while 30% are performed for above cost without compromising quality of care on either side of the price range.
  • Percentage models. Salesforce popularized the 1-1-1 model. As a company that was not founded on impact, it is notable that this giving model has been implemented from its start. It means that the company gives away 1% of its product, employee time, and revenue to charitable causes and to the community. A social enterprise could use a percentage model such as Salesforce’s to effectuate a commitment to impact. Another firm, very nice design, based in Los Angeles, uses a “Give Half” model in which 50% of design projects are completed pro bono for nonprofit or community clients—the team at very nice designs has also created featuring over a hundred social impact business models.


image of "51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship"

This is an abridged excerpt from the book, “51 Questions on Social Entrepreneurship” by Neetal Parekh. You can learn more and buy the entire book—which is told as a story of three aspiring social entrepreneurs and which dives into key aspects of social entrepreneurship including defining the space, legal structures, securing funding, and measuring impact at

Impactathon has been years in the making–and it’s finally happening this weekend. For any interested social entrepreneurs, join us this Saturday at TechShop in San Francisco!

When: Sat, May 14th, 2016
Where: TechShop, a maker space in San Francisco


It is an interactive social impact workshop for social entrepreneurs. It will feature brief “impact talks” by thinkers and doers with social impact perspectives on law, design, food/nutrition, and systems thinking for social impact and will be followed by a tour of the innovative maker space, TechShop, and mini ‘hackathon’ to work on ideas/issues/challenges you that participant social entrepreneurs are facing in their work.

Listen to the “Why” behind Impactathon in this episode of The Impact Podcast by Innov8social.

About the Speakers


JOHN MONTGOMERY, Attorney/Investor and Chairman of Startworks.

NATHAN PHAM, Social Entrepreneur and Founder GoodJoe

HEATHER SCOTT ARORA, CEO and Founder of Purple Plant

DAVID HODGSON, Founder and CEO of Hummingbird Labs, Engineer and systems engineer and leader in the regenerative economy
More info and registration at

Thank you to Our Partners


It takes a village, and an ecosystem! A huge thank you to TechShop, StartingBloc,HorYou, The Good Radio NetworkCALSO, Forward Films, Social Entrepreneur Podcast, HackingEDU, #ThatTechGirl and all of the individuals and organizations who are helping make this possible & spreading the good word!

Meet Nicolas

This episode of The Innov8social Podcast features Nicolas Hazard, one of the foremost global social innovators, whose roots are in France, but whose impact is resoundingly global.

Nicolas is President of Le Comptoir de l’Innovation (CDI) which supports social enterprises throughout the world via an impact investing fund and an international network of incubators. He also leads CALSO, a non-profit organization based in California, which focuses on workforce development.

Nicolas serves as Vice-Chairman of GROUPE SOS, Europe’s largest social enterprise, which has over 12K employees and a turnover of $1B.
The story of Groupe SOS is a notable one for global social impact, and one that is not nearly well-known enough. In this interview, we dive into Nicolas’ own story, and particularly, the work, history, and reach of Groupe SOS in France, Europe, and globally.

Listen to the Interview


Find Out More

More About Nicolas

More About Groupe SOS

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “Basing its actions on the fight against different forms of social exclusion, GROUPE SOS has diversified its activities over the years and is able today to provide solutions for people at all levels in society, and especially those with few or no resources.”
  • Background: “With its 12,000 employees and 350 structures, GROUPE SOS is one of Europe’s foremost social and societal undertakings. For 30 years now, GROUPE SOS has been putting economic efficiency at the service of the interests of the general public. In so doing, it provides responses to the issues of today’s society by developing innovative solutions in its five main fields of activity. The actions undertaken by GROUPE SOS influence the lives of over a million people every year.”
  • Key Areas of Engagement – Youth, Employment, Social Inclusion (Solidarity), Health, and Seniors.

More About CALSO

  • Website:
  • Value proposition: “CALSO is a California-based social enterprise that aims to preserve the environment and to break major barriers disadvantaged people face on their journeys to success.”


Social entrepreneurship is developing and evolving in unique ways around the globe. In Asia, South Korea has both government

1. South Korea is the only country in East Asia to legally define a “social enterprise.”

It was passed as part of the 2006 Social Enterprise Promotion Act (SEPA), and went into effect in 2007. The government defines a social enterprise as “a company or organization which performs business activities while putting priority on the pursuit of social purposes.”
A company or organization must go these 7 steps before being certified as a social enterprise in Korea.
According to an this article published in the Social Enterprise Journal in 2011, SEPA was in part influenced by British law and social cooperative law passed in Italy in 1991.
A social enterprise in Korea can be a non-profit or for-profit organization.
Seoul by night
photo by @koshyk


2. In 2011, the Korean government introduced a plan to support social enterprises through preferred contracts, expanded funding channels, and exclusive business management programs specifically for social enterprises.


3. South Korea hosted multiple conferences on social enterprise in 2014 including the 8th Annual Social Enterprise World Forum (Oct 2014), the 3rd International Conference on Social Enterprise in Asia (Jul 2014).


SEWF brought together 600-800 thought leaders, academics, and practitioners around the theme “Social Change through Social Enterprise.”

The Conference on Social Enterprise in Asia in July also integrated conferences including the The Eastern ICSEM Symposium took place in Wonju (South Korea) and the Social Enterprise Leaders Forum (SELF) 2014 bringing together over 600 participants including academics, social entrepreneurs, and government officials.

Seoul will host the 12th annual SAGE World Cup finals for high school social entrepreneurs in August 2015.


4. As of November 2014, there are 1,165 certified social enterprises in South Korea. The government aims to promote more than 3,000 certified social enterprises by 2017. (cited from Rappler).


This is especially significant considering the country’s strong economic position as the 15th largest global economy, according the World Bank.

5. Seoul Mayor, Won-Soon Park, has taken an active role in facilitating social entrepreneurship in the city of 10M.


Mayor Park introduced was Cheong-Chek – or the Listening Policy– and founded the Hope Institute for collaboration and action.

Read More


As detailed in the Photo Essay of Santa Clara University’s Magis 2014 Showcase for Social Entrepreneurship, the event brought together hundreds of social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, practitioners, and academic thinkers for an evening of exploration, reflection, and recognition.

One of the most impactful features of the event was the networking time before the speeches and evening meal. Flanking the auditorium were tables headed by social entrepreneurs, many of whom were GSBI graduates and current participants.
Here are video interviews with two of the participants. You will learn a little more about the kinds of social enterprises GSBI has incubated, what the program has meant to them, and about the why, what, and how that guides their work in the impact space.

Artisan Connect at SCU Magis 2014


Interview with Vrnda Dalal, Supply Chain and Artisan Partnership Manager at Artisan Connect., Artisan Connect is an online marketplace for quality home goods made by artisans in developing countries. It was founded by GSBI mentor Amanda North.

Global Women’s Water Initiative at SCU Magis 2014

Gemma Bulos, Director of Global Women’s Water Initiative , a nonprofit and GSBI alumnus, explains the organization’s work in training and building a movement of local women water experts to address water issues, that affect them the most. GWWI focuses on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and has trained over 200 women to build over 30 rainwater harvesting systems, that provide over 300K liters of clean water to their communities.

SCU Magis  2014On a beautiful Sunday evening in mid May 2014, hundreds of social entrepreneurs, mentors, funders, leaders, professors, and faculty members gathered for a gala to honor two individuals in the social enterprise space as well as to further the global dialogue about mission-driven ventures.The inaugural dinner named Magis—the Latin term for “more” (i.e. as in more strategic, or better) highlighted the work of the Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) and its long-running Global Social Benefit Institute which has over 200 alumni social enterprises that have positively impacted nearly 100 million lives since the program launched over a decade ago. It also recognized and honored the work of Graham Macmillan, former Sr. Director of VisionSpring ( social enterprise dedicated to ensuring the distribution of affordable eyewear) and Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation (one of the institutions that support GSBI).Santa Clara University is no newcomer to social enterprise. As learned through an Innov8Social audio interview the Center of Science, Technology, and Society Director Thane Kreiner—-the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) has a rich history in the space, and Thane’s own experience as a serial entrepreneur in the health sciences arena informs and inspires his work at CSTS. The department also hosts an annual GSBI Accelerator Showcase, which features pitches from current participants. (Coverage of the 2013 GSBI Showcase here.)

Though the Magis showcase & dinner evening was seated in elegance and dressed to the nines, one of its most glimmering accessories was the humility of its participants. From Master of Ceremonies Thane, to featured speakers, and award recipients, to the esteemed guests, there was an honesty and authenticity in engaging in value-driven work, understanding the reason behind the work, and the long and often challenging road in launching ventures that seek to improve lives in addition to employing an entrepreneurial mindset. In this space, just as with any niche, there can be a tendency to gild individual contributions or the sector itself, or brush past known challenges and failures. But the tone of Magis, perhaps due to its firm roots in the Jesuit tradition or because the presence of so many active social entrepreneurs in the evening’s program, was one of engaging in dialogue, of furthering conversations, and of finding ways to help each other better understand and support the space.

Photo Essay: Santa Clara University Hosts MAGIS — Celebrating Global Social Entrepreneurship

Sunday, May 18, 2014


SCU Magis 2014
A pre-event slideshow featured various GSBI and social enterprise projects and initiatives.

SCU Magis 2014
Final touches before attendees are seated.


SCU Magis 2014
One of the social enterprises featured at the tables was WE CARE Solar— a portable solar-powered off-grid electric system to power electricity in hospitals that do not have steady electricity. Co-founder Dr. Laura Stachel spoke about her experience in starting this organization on a panel at Kiva in 2013.


SCU Magis 2014
Mexico-based social enterprise Prospera, a 2014 GSBI participant, empowers female-led micro businesses with consulting and training and connects them to conscious citizens and consumers looking to create a more equal and engaged society. See the beautiful video they created to explain their work.


SCU Magis 2014
Solar Ear, a Brazil-based social enterprise, tackles the daunting World Health Organization statistic that over 6000 million people worldwide have some form of hearing impairment. It develops high quality and affordable solar-powered hearing aids, produced by deaf people to hearing impaired ones in deprived areas.
SCU Magis  2014
GSBI mentor Amanda North has turned social entrepreneur, with Artisan Connect— an online marketplace for quality home goods made by artisans in developing countries. Read about how witnessing the 2013 Boston Marathon explosion shifted Amanda’s focus from her corporate work to starting this social venture.


SCU Magis  2014
Gemma Bulos, Director of Global Women’s Water Initiative, a nonprofit and GSBI alumnus, explains the organization’s work in training and building a movement of local women water experts to address water issues, that affect them the most. GWWI focuses on Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania and has trained over 200 women to build over 30 rainwater harvesting systems, that provide over 300K liters of clean water to their communities. (see their impact infographic)
SCU Magis  2014
Sankara Eye Care Institutions, a 2014 GSBI participant, aims to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in India by providing free high quality eye care to millions of rural poor. Over the span of 35 years, Sankara’s network has grown to 11 eye hospitals, 120+ doctors, 600 paramedical professionals, and over 250 support staff–that have collectively impacted an estimated 40 million people.
SCU Magis  2014
Launched in 2010 and a GSBI alum of 2013,  Ilumexico is a social enterprise comprised of a for-profit and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting development in rural areas through solar-powered electricity systems, with a focus on last-mile distribution.


SCU Magis  2014
The Magis showcase evening program started with statistics outlining some of the world’s most pressing issues.


SCU Magis  2014
Statistics and initiatives from organizations such as the World Wide Hearing, based in Jordan, were featured in the slideshow. WWH, a current GSBI participant, provides provides access to affordable, high quality hearing aids to children and youth with hearing loss in developing countries.


SCU Magis  2014
Thane Kreiner, Executive Director of Santa Clara University Center of Science, Technology, and Society served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening.
SCU Magis  2014
A brief video outlining innovation and social impact was shared.


SCU Magis  2014
Jim Koch, the founding Director of CSTS introduced the first Magis award.
SCU Magis  2014
Thane and Jim presented the award to Graham Macmillan.
SCU Magis  2014
2006 GSBI participant and former VisionSpring Sr. Director Graham McMillan accepted the inaugural Magis Award for his work in field and his continuing work within the social enterprise sector, now in a funding role. To date, 2 million people have access to affordable eyewear as a result of VisionSpring’s work. He related the near-death experience he faced in the wake of 9/11 and how it changed his view on everything and inspired his work in social impact.  “We are aspirationalists” said Graham of his fellow social entrepreneurs.  You can see a NextBillion video interview with Graham here.


SCU Magis  2014
Kirk Hanson, Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics  introduced second Magis Award recipient, Sally Osberg.


SCU Magis  2014
Sally Osberg,  President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation, spoke about her experience and pragmatism in supporting the social enterprise space and the honor and “shame” associated with the term “social enterprise”. You can watch a Skoll video featuring Sally here.


The dialogue continues! Catching up with social enterprise attorney Barbara Krause after the event.


Over the past 2+ years of founding, blogging, and editing Innov8Social I have learned a few expected and (even more) unexpected things about blogging. A blog can be your brand. It can be your calling card—the way you communicate ideas and experiences to others. And, interestingly, it can be the catalyst of things—such as collaborations, interactions, and great conversations.

It was through Innov8Social that I met Nisha Kumar Kulkarni. She reached out via social media to learn more about the blog and my interest in the social innovation sector. This could well have led to a great coffee meetup—but considering our coastal divide (Nisha is now based in NYC)—has led to multiple fascinating conversations instead.

A Perspective on Social Innovation in India

See, Nisha has a unique global lens on social innovation. She is of South Asian origin but raised in the US—however she and her husband relocated to Mumbai in 2010 for three years. It was there that she really grounded herself in her conceptualization of the social innovation space.

Nisha’s return to New York City had her excited about expanding her involvement on the US-side. However, she soon noticed that though social innovation in India and in the US may rooted in the same tenets of creating impact + value; they have taken surprisingly distinct forms. She details more about her path into social enterprise, her immersion into the field in India, and the differences she has observed on her return to the US in her audio interview below.

Meet Nisha Kulkarni

Nisha Kumar KulkarniBefore Nisha found a path in social innovation, she started off in the Economics and Finance realm— holding a BA in Economics in addition to a Minor in English from NYU before taking on roles at Lehman Brothers.  After two years on Wall Street, she pursued her interest in development economics with an MA in International Economics and Finance from Brandeis University.

The move to Mumbai accompanied her growing interest in social enterprise space and she has since taken on roles and projects at Intellecap, Catchafire, Dowser-–and most recently launched her own communications and content strategy consulting practice at

Listen to Nisha’s Interview

In March 2013 Innov8Social interviewed Julie Lein who co-founded Tumml, a (then) brand new urban accelerator program that was accepting applications for its first cohort of social entrepreneurs focus on urban solutions.

A turn of a page, and tick of the year later, Tumml has not only graduated its first cohort but is welcoming its 2nd cohort of social entrepreneurs! This group, like the first, includes five startups focused on designing solution to urban issues, and have the vision and capacity to scale.

Before the new cohort was selected, but after the first cohort finished the accelerator program—Innov8Social had a chance to connect with Julie to hear updates on the program, the social enterprises that participated, more about the nuances of urban innovation, questions about accessibility of urban solutions to the populations they serve, and what Julie and her fellow Co-Founder Clara Brenner, and the extended Tumml team look for in a social enterprise candidate. It was also a great chance to re-visit Tumml’s legal structure as a nonprofit in light of an equity stake in the social enterprises that participate. You can listen to her full interview below.

Who are the Tumml Social Enterprises?

(Note: descriptions below are from

2014 Winter Cohort

  • is a toolkit to help people, brands, and foundations invest in the places and projects they care about
  • The Farmery is an urban vertical farming and retailing system designed to produce and sell local food in the city
  • SavySwap is a secure experience to get what you want simply by trading
  • Feeding Forward is a mobile platform that connects those with excess food to those in need
  • Sovi is a collaborative social pinboard for local and community events

2013 Summer Cohort

  • WorkHands – A blue collar online identity service that makes it easier to find work in the trades.
  • HandUp – direct giving for homeless people and others in need in individual neighborhoods.
  • Corral – A service that makes your urban commute easier and faster
  • Earth Starter – All-in-one garden systems that help city dwellers grow food and flowers in small spaces
  • KidAdmit – An easy, efficient way to apply to multiple preschools online and manage the preschool admission process

What Do Tumml Social Enterprises Receive & Give?

Tumml social enterprises receive:

  • $20,000 in seed funding
  • free office/meeting space
  • customized education curriculum
  • four months of hands-on support and mentorship
  • opportunity to pitch to VC’s, angel investors, government entities, potential partners and customers
Tumml social enterprises give:
  • Approximately 5% equity stake in their for-profit entity

Tumml will begin taking applications for its next cohort in March 2014.

Listen to the Interview