Learning from the Miller Center

Out of 120 applicants, Programa Velasco was one of six selected to participate in the 2019 Global Social Benefit Institute Jumpstart Program through the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University. Throughout the  4 month program, GSBI provided PV with a rigorous curriculum and a Silicon Valley volunteer mentor to challenge and inspire confidence in PV’s staff to accelerate our social impact. Our mentor guided us to analyze PV with a business lens and to create impact and business models, marketing strategies, a growth plan, and our financial model. Hear from our staff about what they gained through this unique learning experience! 

The first time that I heard about participating in the GSBI program, I didn’t expect that I would learn as much as I did. Since the beginning, it was an incredible experience. I learned so much about how to use a critical and objective vision to analyze different situations and the work we do at Programa Velasco. The work that the GSBI program challenged me to open my eyes to see what the real situation is that we’re facing and that the solutions could be. The process also helped us understand what processes we need to have in place to achieve our organizational goals and to carry out our mission. Christian, Junior Development Coordinator

The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) and Programa Velasco overlap naturally. One of PV’s main programs is training women entrepreneurs to improve their businesses and GSBI trains social enterprises to accelerate their social impact. This common ground motivated our staff to take on a business lens and analyze PV’s work and organization from various perspectives. 

Just as in other processes of learning and growth, the GSBI curriculum pushed us to be honest and vulnerable to acknowledge PV’s current and future limitations regarding our identity and impact. Luckily, GSBI pairs social enterprises with a mentor to support them. And we struck gold with our mentor – she embodies what it means to be a mentor, an advocate, a leader, and a coach. In every step of the 4 month process, our mentor facilitated indepth reflections that spurred a clearer understanding about PV’s identity or a particular aspect of a program deliverable. 

Our mentor and the GSBI curriculum inspired confidence in our staff and helped us gain the skills to analyze complex components of Programa Velasco and the social impact we’re trying to expand.

Annie, Co-founder & Executive Director

This experience forced us to think and reflect for hours about the purpose and scope of the work of Programa Velasco, something we rarely remember doing in the midst of daily work. The perspective of the GSBI program and the objective opinions of our mentor opened our minds to see things from another point of view and helped us solidify aspects of the identity of PV. I learned to always remember that although it seems complicated to make a positive impact on a life, when it is achieved, it is forever. Katherine, Junior Communications Coordinator

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