New Orleans preparing to host its first Startup Weekend business building …

In a first-time event for New Orleans,
about 50 aspiring entrepreneurs will gather Friday, form teams and spend 54
hours over the weekend molding ideas for new businesses. The event, called
, originated with a non-profit organization in Seattle and has
unfolded in almost 500 cities across the country and internationally.

This weekend alone features 27 start-up
marathons, including gatherings in New Orleans, Sacramento, Washington, London,
New Delhi and Hong Kong. The local installment is organized in part by Elliott
Adams, entrepreneurship professor at the Loyola University Department of Music
Industry Studies, who said he views it as a mechanism to invite new people to
the entrepreneurship movement in the city.

“There’s a lot of great entrepreneurial
events,” in New Orleams, Adams said, citing the recently completed Entrepreneur
business festival. “One thing about Startup Weekend I really like is it
involves people who don’t yet have a company, who are kind of on the periphery
of the start-up scene.”

The participants will gather Friday
night at the , give
one-minute idea pitches, vote on the ideas and group into teams around the
leading proposals. They’ll spend the weekend assembling details on how new
businesses based on the ideas would work, guided by a team of coaches. Sunday
night they will make more formal presentations to a panel of judges, who will
award the top three teams packages of donated business services, including legal
work, accounting and office space, to continue developing the plans.

“It’s not a conference,” Adams said.
“People aren’t coming to listen to speeches. It’s about building companies.”

Adams said a notable component of
Startup Weekend is that it requires participants to gather feedback from
potential customers, through online surveys, talking to other participants who
might be in the target audience, interviewing passersby on the streets or any
other means attendees can concoct in the space of 54 hours. He said that adds a
practical element to the idea-pitching event.

He said Baton Rouge and Shreveport have
hosted Startup Weekends before, but this will be the event’s first appearance
in New Orleans. The Seattle-based
organizers of the movement say more than 1,000 such events have taken place
around the world, sparking 8,190 start-ups and involving 100,000 entrepreneurs.

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SANTA CLARA, Calif.–( BUSINESS WIRE )–When pressing social problems and innovative entrepreneurs collide,
dramatic change in the humanitarian landscape is possible. That’s
exactly what is happening at Santa Clara University’s Center for
Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS), which today announces the
latest group of 15 social enterprises chosen to receive training through
its signature .

“Their momentum reflects how quickly social
entrepreneurship is expanding, and how many millions of lives can be
impacted by their work.”

The newly named GSBI Accelerator program has been revamped to focus on
investment-ready social enterprises that have the potential to vastly
increase their impact on the lives of the poor—as CSTS strives to
improve the lives of 1 billion by 2020. This year’s cohort of 15 was
selected through a competitive process that began last November.

“As the GSBI enters its eleventh year, we have intensified our focus on
helping successful social enterprises scale,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D.,
executive director of the CSTS. “The 2013 GSBI Accelerator will develop,
train, and guide investment-ready social enterprises to rapidly expand
their reach.”

“As a long-time GSBI mentor, I have worked with hundreds of social
enterprises over the last decade. This is unequivocally the most
accomplished cohort I have ever seen,” said Paul Meissner, Ph.D., senior
director of the GSBI. “Their momentum reflects how quickly social
entrepreneurship is expanding, and how many millions of lives can be
impacted by their work.”

Leaders from 15 enterprises have been selected to take part in the
eight-month GSBI Accelerator program, beginning in April and ending in
December 2013. Participants will receive mentoring from top-level
Silicon Valley executive experts, highly specialized instruction, and
intense on-campus education. For the first time this year, the social
enterprises are being directly monitored by an elite group of interested
funders, the GSBI Impact Investing Partners. While not necessarily
committing to funding the ventures, the partners will help participants
evaluate their organizations from a funding perspective.

The in-residence portion of the program will take place August 15–23 at
Santa Clara University, culminating in a networking event with the
impact investors. The GSBI Impact Investing Partners include: Accion,
Acumen Fund, Bamboo Finance, Beyond Capital Fund, The Eleos Foundation,
Emcor Securities, Grassroots Business Fund, Halloran Philanthropies, Hub
Ventures, Invested Development, Khosla Impact Fund, KL Felicitas, Skoll
Foundation, Toniic, and Village Capital.

This year’s GSBI class members are building businesses including
“biodigester systems” that help small farmers treat animal waste and
convert it into powerful organic fertilizer and methane-rich biogas for
cooking and heating; “100-percent biomass waste gasification” to
generate electricity and distribute power to rural households; water
pumps that run on solar power; two-way, on-demand mobile platforms that
teach reading and writing skills to poor families; low-cost, pre-paid
electricity meters that enable the extension of renewable energy to
global communities living off-the-grid, and many .

In addition to launching this year’s GSBI Accelerator, the CSTS joined
with longtime GSBI sponsor Applied Materials last year to make a Clinton
Global Initiative commitment to support 18 clean energy social
enterprises over the next three years. Including this year’s GSBI
Accelerator class and the related online program, GSBI Online, the
partners have already reached 15 clean energy enterprises.

“We want to thank Applied Materials for its ongoing support of the
Center and GSBI,” said Meissner. “We are also delighted that eBay
Foundation is sponsoring four enterprises in this year’s cohort: ,
, , and .”

For more details about the program and the 2013 GSBI class, visit the
Center for Science, Technology, and Society’s website at .

About the GSBI

The GSBI is the signature program of the Center for Science, Technology,
and Society at Santa Clara University. The mission of the Center is to
accelerate global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to
humanity. The GSBI empowers socially-minded entrepreneurs to build
sustainable, scalable organizations and solve problems for people living
in poverty around the world. For over a decade, the GSBI has helped
mission-driven enterprises build, sustain, and increase the reach and
impact of their businesses. The GSBI is currently funded in part by a
grant from the Skoll Foundation, corporate gifts from Applied Materials,
and generous support from individual donors.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university
located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley,
offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in
arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s
and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one
of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities,
California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates
faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more
information, see .

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