Stanford to Launch East Africa Seed Transformation Program

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

Stanford Seed, a Stanford Graduate School of Business-led initiative with a goal of offering business leaders the ability to lead their regions to prosperity, is expected to launch at the Kenya Press conference on May 27, 2016.

The East Africa launch will build on the prior success found by the program in West Africa through a partnership with Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies.

The first group of business leaders to be selected by Stanford Seed will meet in Nairobi on May 27 for a 12-month long transformational process that will be led by faculty members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

After participants complete four one-week intensive class sessions, they will join in on three facilitated workshops at their own company with their own management team. At that point, nine monthly Leadership Labs will be held off-site to allow participants to meet with their peer group, and they will be given time to implement their transformation plans. The process comes at a cost of $5,000, although information about scholarships will be available during the application process.

The program will train business leaders from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ethiopia through a yearlong interactive, educational journey that will be based out of the new regional center in Nairobi, Kenya. Seed hopes to push sustainable growth in the East African regional economy through private-sector-led development.

Jesper Sørensen, Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford GSB and Executive Director of Seed, states: "One of the goals for our Seed centers is to help stimulate local and regional ecosystems to bring the Silicon Valley spirit to those environments."

By expanding its program into East Africa, Seed hopes to boost and increase existing businesses throughout the region. In all, 31 CEOs, founders, and executives have been selected to participate in the pioneering program.

Each individual was selected as a result of their leadership capabilities and the growth potential associated with their business. The goal of the initiative is to instill the innovative and entrepreneurial thought process that is found throughout Stanford. Seed developers believe that doing so will allow these businesses that are located in developing economies to create new job opportunities and hopefully bring an end to the cycle of poverty.

The Seed Transformation Program is expected to take specific regional challenges into consideration, including leadership, strategy, and value-chain innovation. In addition, it hopes to create a network of like-minded individuals.

"The SEED Transformation Program opened my eyes on the business potential, the sheer size of how the business can be scaled," said Tara Fela-Durotoye, founder and CEO of House of Tara, and a past participant of the Seed Transformation Program in West Africa.

Located between San Francisco and San Jose, and deep within Silicon Valley, Stanford University is one of the largest teaching and research universities in the world. Founded in 1891, the school works to find solutions to large problems and offer students the ability to prepare to become leaders. Located within Stanford, the Graduate School of Business offers students hands-on management education through a combination of best practice along with advanced theory from research. Graduates of the school have gone on to found companies such as Nike and eBay, in addition to leading global organizations including General Motors, Warner Brothers, General Mills, and AmBev.

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