Thursday, March 10, 2016


Thursday, March 10, 2016
The 5th Commencement of the Stanford Seed Transformation Programme aimed at ending the cycle of poverty in developing economies was held in Accra last Friday.

The Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, (Stanford Seed) has been established through the generosity of Stanford Graduate School of Business alumni, Robert King and the wife Dottie King.
The Seed's integrated approach addresses multiple fronts across multiple time horizons.

Under the programme, coordinators have initiated what they called “in-country efforts to help scale high-potential enterprises and create jobs.”
It was designed and led by the Stanford faculty with the support of some local faculty instructors.

The programme will offer general management training, hands on workshops and networking opportunities to established African SMEs with high growth potential.

Reverend Emmanuel Kitcher, Regional Manager for the SEED Programme, said the initiative is inspiring Stanford students to become “globally-engaged leaders, and supporting critical research from across the university to maximize our impact.

“It is said that if the companies founded by Stanford graduates since 1930 were an independent nation, it would be the 10th largest economy in the world,” he said, adding that the programme has brought “innovative mindset and practical business training to entrepreneurs in Africa by establishing its first footprint in Accra in July 2013 to serve the West Africa sub-region.”

“Since July 2013, over 110 CEOs and founders of various SME’s from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana have participated in the programme.

“A distinguishing aspect of the programme is the presence on the ground of Seed Volunteer business coaches, who are assigned to the participating companies in the programme,” he added.

He also introduced the high-profile instructors to the audience.
“We are already seeing some of these companies expand their operations even into the USA. Finally a number of these companies that used to walk alone are beginning to collaborate with other companies and beginning to embrace the idea of opening up their businesses to other investors, particularly private equity.”

Rev. Kitcher also said that “with 85% of the world’s population growth coming from emerging nations, how are we going to create sustainable jobs to absorb the large young workforce?”

 “In Ghana for example, SMEs provide about 85% of the manufacturing employment and account for 90% of existing businesses in the country, contributing to 70% of the country’s GDP.”

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, an accomplished entrepreneur and politician, who was the guest speaker, said businesses can only grow through determination and hard work.

He advised those willing to start businesses to learn the hard way and make efforts to explore untapped areas.

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