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[liberationtech] Stanford GSB Launches Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies

Yosem Companys companys at
Fri Nov 4 17:38:43 PDT 2011

*Stanford Graduate School of Business Launches Institute to Alleviate
Poverty with $150 Million Gift*
 *Program for developing economies to include on-the-ground support for
organizations, new courses, and research*

November 4, 2011

STANFORD, CA—The Stanford Graduate School of Business has established
the Stanford
Institute for Innovation in Developing
Economies<> with
a $150 million gift from Dorothy and Robert King, MBA ’60. The gift is
among the largest ever to Stanford University. The Institute’s aim is to
stimulate, develop, and disseminate research and innovations that enable
entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders to alleviate poverty in developing

The Institute’s work is based on the belief that a critical route for
economic growth is through the creation of new entrepreneurial ventures and
by scaling existing enterprises. “Entrepreneurship, innovation, and
improved management are powerful ways to help alleviate poverty,” said
Stanford University President John L. Hennessy. “With tremendous foresight
and compassion, the Kings have made a seminal gift that leverages
Stanford’s knowledge, resources, and human capital to make a real
difference in the world for many years to come.”

*The inspiration*
The idea for the gift came out of home stays that founding donors Dorothy
“Dottie” and Robert “Bob” King have offered to international students at
Stanford for more than four decades. They witnessed first-hand the impact
that education and entrepreneurship can have at both an individual level
and a larger scale. One student, Xiangmin Cui, PhD ’97, introduced Bob to
his friend Eric Xu, who joined internet engineer Robin Li to launch a
Chinese-language search engine. Bob, an investment partner at Peninsula
Capital in Menlo Park, Calif., provided seed funding. He and Dottie were on
hand in 2005 when the company, Baidu, made its debut on NASDAQ. The
internet giant now employs more than 10,000 people in China. Another King
home stay student, Andreata Muforo, MBA ’09, from Zimbabwe, brought peers
from her global study trip to Africa to the King home for dinner. “We heard
how those first-hand experiences compelled some of the MBAs to return for
internships in Africa,” said Dottie King. “We saw the direct connection
between the learning experience and the motivation to make change.”

“We believe that innovation and entrepreneurship are the engines of growth
to lift people out of poverty,” said Bob King, who with his wife also
founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth <>.
“And we believe Stanford’s tradition of innovation coupled with a
forward-thinking global bias as well as its multidisciplinary resources
will make a real impact.”

The Kings have made a $100 million gift to fund the Institute. They have
committed an additional $50 million in matching funds to inspire other
donors to fuel Stanford University’s commitment to alleviating poverty,
bringing the total philanthropic investment to potentially $200 million.

*Three areas of focus*
The work of the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies
(SIIDE, pronounced and known informally as “SEED”) will span three
pursuits: research, education, and applied on-the-ground work to support
entrepreneurs and help growing enterprises to scale. It will:

   - Conduct multidisciplinary research in close cooperation with
   in-the-field managers that is focused on new and effective ways to both
   increase the impact of managed organizations and develop solutions to
   improve governance, education, and infrastructure.
   - Educate Stanford students from around the world as well as
   entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders in developing
   economies to enable them to relieve poverty through effective leadership
   and problem-solving.
   - Build capacity on the ground to support action by entrepreneurs,
   managers, and leaders to scale their organizations and spur innovation.

SEED will be a well-integrated series of activities, with each area of
focus continuously reinforcing the others. Data collected on the ground,
for example, will be used to fuel research that will shape new courses and
drive new solutions to problems as diverse as transportation and supply
chain logistics, health care needs, or mobile communications. Students,
faculty, and alumni will work in the field to support local organizations
solving real-world problems standing in the way of growth.

The school envisions that in addition to research, students will
participate in a course at Stanford before undertaking a work experience in
the field. The school already has pioneered this format, in collaboration
with Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, with *Entrepreneurial
Design for Extreme Affordability <>.* In
collaboration with in-country organizations, such as International
Development Enterprises <> and Proximity
Stanford students have identified opportunities that sparked ventures such
as d.light <>, a consumer products company
serving people without access to reliable electricity;
a social entrepreneurship venture that brings low-cost infant warmers to
premature and low-birth-weight babies in the developing world; and
a water technologies company that produces affordable, high-quality
irrigation systems designed for small-plot farmers. A face-to-face and
online curriculum also will be developed for in-country entrepreneurs,
leaders, and managers to help scale and boost the performance of nascent or
ongoing ventures.

To amplify its impact on the more than one billion people in the world who
live on less than $1.25 a day, SEED will partner with organizations such as
Endeavor <>, which mentors and accelerates the work
of high-impact entrepreneurs; Omidyar Network <>, a
philanthropic investment firm that helps scale innovative organizations
that catalyze economic, social, and political change; Skoll
which drives change by investing in social entrepreneurs; and global social
enterprise investor Acumen Fund <>. All have
established operations abroad.

“Today’s students aspire to achieve a global impact that will change
people’s lives for the better with everything from businesses that create
employment and income sources to creating access to better education,
health care, and governance,” said Garth Saloner, the Philip H. Knight
Professor and Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of
“This initiative is an enormous opportunity for Stanford students, faculty,
and on-the-ground entrepreneurs to collaborate on the design and incubation
of new enterprises and solutions.” Examples of such organizations include
everything from microfinance lenderEquity
Bank<> in
Kenya to MercadoLibre <>, Latin America’s
leading e-commerce business, which launched with support from Endeavor and
now employs some 1,500 people, to Embrace and d.light. SEED will cover a
broad spectrum of organizations with emphasis on enterprises that employ
people in impoverished communities or deliver products and services to
those living in poverty.

*Why Stanford and the Graduate School of Business?*
Stanford University has innovation in its DNA. By providing students with
education, skills, and problem-solving tools, Stanford has played a pivotal
role in the creation and growth of Silicon Valley. Alumni have founded or
helped build whole new technologies, industries, and companies including
Google, Nike, HP, Yahoo, Charles Schwab, and Cisco. With Stanford’s rich
history, track record, and relationships as a backdrop, the Institute will
strive to enable entrepreneurs and others in developing economies to create
and scale their organizations. The objective is to help entrepreneurs
change the lives of their employees, people within their communities, and
those who purchase or use their products and services. “There are very few
settled solutions about how best to alleviate poverty in a wide range of
contexts, which means there is plenty of opportunity to uncover, share, and
apply new insights,” said Saloner.

The Institute will draw from the GSB’s world-class MBA program and suite of
courses in entrepreneurship, as well as research on supply chains, finance,
funding, and other topics relevant to the needs of growing economies. In
addition to its Center for Entrepreneurial
, Center for Global Business and the
and Center for Social Innovation <>, the school
recently launched an evening Program in Innovation and
It also has welcomed the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and
Entrepreneurship <>, which conducts research
and holds conferences for entrepreneurs, investors, and government leaders
about the elements that contribute to regions of rapid growth around the
world. Going forward the Institute expects to embrace resources, students,
and faculty from across Stanford’s six other world-class schools at which
approximately one in six MBA students already is working on a joint or dual

*Institute leadership*
Hau Lee<>,
a supply chain expert and the Thoma Professor of Operations, Information
and Technology at the Graduate School of Business, will lead the Institute.
A winner of the MBA Distinguished Teaching Award, he recently collaborated
with Riders for Health <> to measure and demonstrate
the impact of their work transforming the Gambian and Zambian health care
delivery systems through the comprehensive management of
national/regional fleets of vehicles. Lee also will head the Institute’s
research area.

Jesper Sørensen<>,
the Robert A. and Elizabeth R. Jeffe Professor of Organizational Behavior
and the Susan Ford Dorsey Faculty Fellow*, *will lead the education and
dissemination area. Sørensen is a faculty director of the Center for Social
Innovation at the Graduate School of Business and teaches *Poverty,
Entrepreneurship, and Development,* among other courses.

Jim Patell<>,
who is the Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management and
the Katherine and David DeWilde Faculty Fellow, with Bill
the Raccoon Partners Lecturer in Strategic Management and director emeritus
of McKinsey & Co., will lead the on-the-ground area. Meehan will focus
primarily on supporting existing business leaders to scale and grow their
enterprises through a combination of executive education, consulting,
mentoring, and online courses. Building on his years of teaching
Design for Extreme Affordability*, Patell, a winner of the MBA
Distinguished Teaching Award, will manage programs aimed at partnering
Stanford students with in-country organizations to develop new products and
services. Following a period of coursework and preparation at Stanford,
students will provide manpower and management support by working with
startups, NGOs, and companies in-country. Students will investigate needs
and execute solutions with partner entities on the ground.

Nobel laureate A. Michael
chair the Institute’s advisory board, which is now forming. Spence is an
authority on global economics in the developing world. He is the Philip H.
Knight Professor and Dean Emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of
Business and the William Berkley Professor in Economics and
Business<> at
New York University.

The Institute’s first research
forum<> will
be held March 5-6, 2012, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It
will bring together faculty by invitation from across Stanford University
and elsewhere to share and jointly explore research opportunities in
developing economies.

For non-press inquiries regarding the Stanford Institute for Innovation in
Developing Economies, please contact Debbie McCoy at 650 725-2994 or
debbie.mccoy at<>
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