Stanford Seed programme, a growth catalyst for entrepreneurs

Staff Writer

The Stanford Seed Transformation initiative, is a programme which partners with entrepreneurs in emerging markets to build successful enterprises that transform lives.

It has returned at a timely opportunity for Namibian entrepreneurs to expand their capacity to succeed.

The programme, a collaboration between the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the De Beers Group, allows leaders to gain critical skills to grow their companies and create jobs which in turn will lead their regions to greater prosperity.

With applications for the 2021/22 Southern Africa Seed Transformation Program (STP) now open, entrepreneurs with a mind-set to grow their businesses have an opportunity to be part of an unconventional, online learning experience that goes beyond acquiring business skills, but provides practical hands-on tools to support business growth.

This year, the programme is designed to not only capacitate the business owner, but up to 5 members of the senior management team, in order to ensure implementation and continuity.

With applications set close on 15 April 2021, a breakfast engagement with the business community has been arranged for the 25th of March 2021.

In essence, the programme targets CEOs or founders of for-profit companies or for-profit social enterprises who want to grow and scale their companies as well as companies with annual revenue between US$300,000 and US$15 million based in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Since inception, the program has trained 628 business leaders and 2378 managers from 19 countries and expects 20 companies from Namibia, Botswana and South Africa to participate each year.

Companies from Namibia that have already participated in the programme include Cospharm, Vulkan Ruine Tours and Transfers, Anticor (Pty) Ltd, International Training College-Lingua, PowerCom and Brumar Construction.

During the seed transformation, participants will undertake a 12-months’ intensive leadership programme which includes sessions on strategy and finance, business ethics and design thinking. Stanford’s world-renowned faculty and a dedicated team of experts, work with leaders and their team throughout their transformational journey.

In addition, a series of four full-day workshops delivered at the participating company and its management team, will take place at various intervals throughout the programme.

By challenging business leaders to assess their company’s vision, to redefine strategies, and to make ambitious changes to their businesses, transformation is realised even before completion of the training.

As an overarching goal, the programme provides management training, leadership team workshops and networking support to assist southern African leaders to grow their businesses, create jobs and help lead their regions to greater economic diversity and prosperity. Ultimately, it is also primed to create and activate a detailed action plan to help businesses grow and scale their companies. Throughout the year-long experience, participants will work in small peer groups called leadership labs to share experiences, resources, ideas and support.

The participants are also be able to take advantage of a world-class curriculum from Stanford GSB and the innovative thinking that has shaped some of the most successful companies in Silicon Valley.

Notably, surveys on the programme indicate that 64 percent of past participants increased their revenues by 58 percent, expanded into new geographies and cumulatively all past cohorts have raised over US$224 million in capital, following their training.

Stanford University, founded in 1891 in Palo Alto, California (ISA) ,is one of the world’s leading teaching universities. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford graduates have founded established global entities such as Nike, eBay, Snapchat, Yahoo, Cisco and numerous others.

Seed Southern Africa Company Profiles- Namibia

Cohort 1
Cosmas Mukaratirwa
Pharmaceutical firm focused on registration of IP for generic drugs, exclusive distribution, wholesaling and retailing of medications. They deliver lower cost and enhanced access to medicines as they bring more generic options to the market.

Vulkan Ruine Tours and Transfers
Julius Gaweseb
Provides logistical support to the tourism Industry, but also provides bus/coach hire, transfers, rental of camping equipment and conducting tours on a smaller scale. They partner with many tour facilitators who make use of Vulkan Ruine transport services.

Cohort 2
Anticor (Pty) Ltd.
Mr. Thomas Duncan, Markus Lubbe
Anticor (Pty) Ltd is Namibia’s oldest water purification and chemical treatment company. Does total water management solutions from single point of use systems for homes, up to larger industrial scale projects using various water purification systems and chemical treatment solutions post water analysis by our neighbouring analytical laboratory.

International Training College-Lingua
Ingrid & Leon Mettler
The institution is one of the first accredited, reputable, private vocational higher education institutions in Namibia. Provide entry for students who have completed grade 12 or the equivalent, and have not received enough credits in grade 12 to be admitted to public institutions.

Alisa Amupolo
PowerCom design constructs & maintains telecommunications towers for lease purposes (+-600 leases). The business offers “build to suit” services to clients who are seeking turnkey solution partners for their telecommunications infrastructure roles, i.e self-providing operators. PowerCom also provides managed services to 3rd parties, in particular roof top managed services in various towns country-wide.

Cohort 3
Brumar Construction
Bruno & Lungisile Mareka
Brumar Construction provides civil construction services and products to government, parastatals and private enterprises in urban and rural areas. The service offering includes road and building construction and maintenance (ie. road surfacing and graveling, storm water drainage construction, water and sewer reticulation, reinforced concrete structures and bridges, bulk earthworks construction, building construction and renovations, solid waste management).

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