By Ariel Liu
Stanford Seed, a Stanford University initiative created by Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) that proclaims to work toward ending “the cycle of global poverty,” is expanding its operations to India.
Seed’s headquarters in India will be located at the Chennai campus of Infosys, an Indian multinational consulting and information technology firm and will serve entrepreneurs from across the country. The inaugural Seed Transformation Program to mentor business leaders in India will run from Aug. 2017-18.
The Seed initiative, first conceived in 2011, intends to foster prosperity by teaching business founders to lead their regions to greater economic growth, according to GSB Newsroom.
Seed began its work in West Africa with the Seed Transformation Program by providing GSB faculty, staff and coaches to help train more than 500 business leaders in the region. In 2016, the program expanded its operations to East Africa.
The Seed Transformation Program consists of a yearlong leadership program for the founders of smaller scale companies. Since its inception, the initiative has mentored 565 entrepreneurs and senior staff members, leading to increased revenue and new job creation throughout East and West Africa, according to GSB Newsroom. Furthermore, participating companies have raised almost $11 million in funding.
Jesper Sørensen, the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe professor of organizational behavior at Stanford GSB and executive director of Seed, believes the program’s impacts in Africa are promising, with “nearly two-thirds of participants reporting increased revenue and job creation.”
Sørensen is also excited about Seed’s expansion into India, citing the country’s second-largest population as opportunity for “entrepreneurial dynamism.”
“We are five years into our journey, and just getting started,” he said. “We believe – and have seen firsthand – that [Seed’s] unique model can help some of the most dynamic business leaders in these regions drive the kinds of firm growth that underlies sustainable regional prosperity. We are very eager to see its impact in India.”
Alongside the Seed Transformation Program, Seed houses two other initiatives called Seed Student Programs and Seed Research. Seed Student Programs connect students with summer internship opportunities at participating companies. Seed Research is a hub for discovering innovative solutions to promote prosperity in the developing world.
The Seed Transformation Program engages business leaders in class sessions taught by Stanford GSB faculty with ongoing support and leadership development facilitated by local Seed staff.
Four week-long sessions instruct participants on strategy, business ethics, accounting, marketing and value chain innovations. Insights on organizational transformation and growth, network opportunities and leadership peer groups are also provided intermittently.
After completing the Seed Transformation Program, participants can then apply to access a pool of Stanford student interns and Seed consultants.
Contact Ariel Liu at aliu15 ‘at’ stanford.edu.