__Calling all CEOs, founders and co-founders…
Over a year ago now, we held an Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) board meeting at Stanford in Silicon Valley, California, one of the greatest universities in the world, and I mentioned to you here that we as the AGRA board literally took classes like students. It was amazing. Remember I have always said, you must never stop learning!
That week I also discovered for the first time the “Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies”, what they call “Seed” for short. At that point, I immediately wrote a post here to tell you about this opportunity for African entrepreneurs and told you not to miss out! (I was mad at myself for not knowing about it already!) Well, I heard from Stanford recently that some of you took my advice and applied to take part. Congratulations!
__This year’s deadline is coming up again on 15 June for the January 2020 program. Are you ready?
Please go to https://stanford.io/
Only apply if you are running a small or medium sized business and are interested in:
# Increasing your revenues
# Expanding your geographical reach
# Increasing your customers
# Creating jobs
# Raising capital
# Joining a global entrepreneurial network of amazing people…
For those of you new to this platform, the Seed program launched in 2011, and held its first business training program in Ghana in 2013, then Kenya in 2015. Now it has worked with entrepreneurs in 19 countries… 628 CEOs and founders and 2378 senior managers at last count!
Seed works on the ground out of Accra, Nairobi, Gaborone and Chennai, India (and they’re adding more, I’m told).
Stanford Seed participants from Africa so far have come from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.
Remember I always say “Look at the numbers!” Seed’s impact analysts report that entrepreneurs who have taken part in its year-long program have managed to accomplish the following:
63% created full time jobs,
64.4% increased revenues
50% expanded into new geographies
59% do business with each other
89% increased customers
$42m in capital was raised amongst them
Students don’t have to travel to California to participate. Stanford faculty (professors) and alumni volunteers actually travel abroad to these different places to train and give one-on-one mentoring to local business leaders at their own companies. The way they describe what they do:
__”We partner with entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build thriving enterprises that transform lives.”
Students of the Greek New Testament are familiar with “katalambano.” This means to “go out and seize an opportunity that’s on offer.”
__ Is it time for you to go out and #katalambano?
Please go online and do your homework to find out what the program has to offer, but here’s a snapshot:
# One-on-one business and leadership mentoring from experienced senior executives (If you are a top senior executive interested in coaching/mentoring, please check out the website to see if you qualify to take part).
# Access to Stanford’s education resources (some of the world’s greatest professors) through a series of one-week immersion sessions that take place throughout the year in Accra, Gaborone, Nairobi, Chennai (India) and other fast-growing cities.
# Brilliant Stanford University undergraduates, post-graduates, and MBA students are available to volunteer to work as interns at your company.
# Much more.
Each day it’s your own responsibility to look for opportunities to change the story of your lives. This Seed program could be that opportunity… or it may be another one coming up soon.
What exactly are you waiting for? There is no time like the present!
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa