Miller Center Launches Second Accelerator Focused on Enterprises Serving Migrants, Refugees, and Human Trafficking Survivors

68.5 Million People Displaced Globally

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--()--Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University today announced its second, pioneering Social Entrepreneurship at the Margins (SEM2) accelerator, selecting 19 social enterprises serving migrants, refugees, and human trafficking survivors from nearly 100 global applicants.

“Poverty, violence and climate change are driving people from their homes and communities in record numbers,” said Kevin O’Brien, S.J., president of Santa Clara University. “We are proud to devote the resources and talents of our Miller Center toward empowering so many amazing social enterprises working to ease the burdens and challenges of this global crisis.”

Globally, there are 68.5 million people forcibly displaced from their homes – 25.5 million of those are refugees – and a record 258 million migrants, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency and the World Health Organization, respectively. The International Labour Organization estimates human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide, with 40.3 million modern day slaves; 75% are women and girls.

Building on its 16 years of experience accelerating more than 1000 social enterprises in 100 countries, Miller Center will accompany the SEM2 cohort through its Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) six-month online accelerator with Silicon Valley executive mentors, followed by an in-residence program delivered in partnership with the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University. The program will culminate at an SEM2 Investor Showcase on June 2, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation focuses on scaling promising grassroot efforts so they will ultimately change systems and institutions.

“We see this partnership with the SEM2 program as a way to showcase the importance of collaboration, policy, and future-proofing solutions. Combined with Miller Center’s history of accelerating social enterprises we’ll develop solutions that are both sustainable and truly impactful,” says Nate Wong, interim executive director for the Beeck Center. “We look forward to bringing our research findings to this cohort, particularly our partnership with the World Education Services Mariam Assefa Fund focusing on understanding ways to finance training and workforce development for immigrants and refugees.”

Social enterprises selected for the SEM2 cohort can be found here.

The SEM2 cohort includes social enterprises focused on helping refugees, migrants, and human trafficking survivors become entrepreneurs and build sustainable businesses; sell fair trade products made by displaced people; provide educational guidance and prepare refugees and human trafficking survivors for employment and dignified livelihoods in society; and, improve the conditions of people awaiting asylum.

“We are inspired by these social entrepreneurs and the contributions they are making to support refugees, migrants, and human trafficking survivors,” said Thane Kreiner, executive director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “We are applying Miller Center’s success preparing social enterprises for growth and investment in synergy with the Beeck Center’s systems-level frameworks to help the most vulnerable in our common human family. We hope that authentic impact investors will join us to ensure these organizations can scale solutions for marginalized people around the world seeking dignified livelihoods.”

The 2018 SEM accelerator lessons here illustrate that social enterprises are encountering gaps that inhibit their ability to scale; foremost among these is access to appropriate sources of funding. Based on the program, Miller Center believes models that provide dignified work are highly replicable and those that utilize technology platforms to provide needed services have the potential for significant scale.

Foundations such as the Chao Foundation/Transparent Fish Fund are early adopters and sponsored the original SEM program and this second cohort as well.

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University is a private Jesuit, Catholic University in the epicenter of Silicon Valley, infusing ethics and social consciousness into a rigorous cross-disciplinary education for its nearly 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, located at Santa Clara University, has accelerated more than 1000 social enterprises since 2003 that have collectively improved, transformed, or saved the lives of over 400 million people in 100 countries.

About the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation works alongside experts and students to surface, catalyze and scale promising social impact efforts driving institutional-level change.


Rhonda Brauer for Miller Center,, (213) 300-2717
Deborah Lohse, SCU Media Communications,, (408) 554-5121

Release Summary

Santa Clara University's Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship has chosen 19 organizations serving migrants and refugees for its SEM2 accelerator.


Rhonda Brauer for Miller Center,, (213) 300-2717
Deborah Lohse, SCU Media Communications,, (408) 554-5121