It’s not every day that an entrepreneur that spends his time bring electricity to remote parts of Africa can spend a year with two Silicon Valley financiers and a retired tech exec. Yet for the 8th year in a row, over 20 social entrepreneurs like that one have been invited to Santa Clara University’s Global Social Benefit Incubator.

Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society–GSBI’s sponsor–taps veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, marketers, and venture capitalists to work alongside Santa Clara faculty to help social entrepreneurs expand and mature their noble ventures. Enterprises that have graduated from the GSBI program have, collectively, gone on to serve or benefit millions of people. Alumni include the micro-lending website, African solar-radio maker Freeplay Foundation, and reading-glasses provider Vision Spring.

The entrepreneurs hail from more than a dozen countries, and typically have award-winning, but resource-starved, ventures that aim to alleviate poverty or empower human development.

In addition to attending daily classes, the participants will spend their time honing their own business plans that they will present to experienced U.S. financiers at the conclusion of their stay. The business plan presentations, which are open to the public, will take place Aug. 26 at the Locatelli Student Center on campus. Information on attending the business plan presentations is available at CSTS.

This year, the program has a special focus on finding renewable sources of electricity for underserved populations in developing countries, with about half the attendees focused on finding or using such power in parts of the world where reliable energy is lacking.

Other areas of focus for incoming social ventures include information and communication technology, economic development, health, and education.

Screenshot from Santa Clara University

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