Stanford Seed

Stanford Seed, an initiative led by the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, May 9 announced its expansion into India. The initiative’s executive director, Jesper Sorensen (above), said Stanford Seed is “very eager” to expand to a country with “entrepreneurial dynamism” such as India. (gsb.stanford.edu photo)

The Stanford University Graduate School of Business initiative known as Stanford Seed announced May 9 its expansion into India.

The initiative aims to build upon the success it has achieved since its inception in 2011, it said in a news release.

The core of the success, it said, has been the Seed Transformation Program through which faculty, staff and coaches have trained more than 500 business leaders with the goal of promoting prosperity in these regions.

“The impact of Seed in West and East Africa has been astounding, with nearly two-thirds of participants reporting increased revenue and job creation,” said Jesper Sørensen, the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe professor of organizational behavior at the graduate school of business and executive director of Seed.

The program was first launched in 2013 in West Africa and expanded in 2016 to East Africa.

“We are five years into our journey, and just getting started. We believe – and have seen firsthand – that this 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,” Sorenson added. “We are very eager to see its impact in India.”

The success of the Africa programs led to the expansion into India, where it will reside in Chennai, though serving entrepreneurs throughout the country.

The program, to be held at the Infosys corporate campus, will run from August this year to August 2018.

Seed consists of three programs which each complementing the other: the Seed Transformation Program, Seed Student Programs and Seed Research.

The transformation program is a yearlong, on-the-ground leadership program for the founders and leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises.

The student program provides educational opportunities and summer internships at participating companies.

The research provides funding for critical research to discover breakthrough solutions to promote prosperity throughout the developing world.

As part of the transformation program, which is taught by graduate school of business faculty, participants engage in four intensive, week-long sessions over the course of nine months on topics such as leadership, strategy, business ethics, accounting, marketing and value chain innovations, according to the news release.

In the intervening weeks, skilled facilitators assist participants in applying insights from the classroom, developing their leadership teams and formulating a detailed plan for organizational transformation and growth, it added.

Furthermore, Seed facilitators work with participants in carefully constructed leadership peer groups, offering networking opportunities, resources and ideas to help implement the participants’ transformation plans.

After the Seed Transformation Program, participants may apply to receive high-touch coaching as well as access to Stanford student interns and Seed consultants.

“India is the world’s second-most populous country, known for its entrepreneurial dynamism,” Sorensen said. “We know from experience, however, that starting a company is different from making it grow, and that sustainable economic growth depends on firms solving the puzzle of scaling,” he added.

“The Seed Transformation Program leverages Stanford’s deep insights into the leadership of rapidly growing enterprises,” he said. “We believe that by transforming leaders and companies through this program we can contribute to increased prosperity for the companies and, more importantly, their communities.”

In addition to the initiative, the graduate school of business has global reach as part of its Stanford Ignite program, which is a certificate program teaching innovators to formulate, develop and commercialize ideas, with programs around the world, including India.

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