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African start-up founders can apply to join Stanford Seed

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African start-up founders can apply to join Stanford Seed

Seed, a Stanford Graduate School of Business-led initiative, has renewed its collaboration with the African Management Institute (AMI) in its ongoing effort to partner with entrepreneurs to help them build thriving enterprises that transform lives.

Stanford has announced a new scholarship fund for the initiative, which spans the African continent, and will now include francophone Africa. Launched in partnership with Stanford Seed in 2021, AMI’s Aspire Business Growth programme provides owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their senior teams with practical learning and training to power growth in their business with 88% of graduates attributing accelerated business growth to the programme.

“Partnering with AMI to offer the Aspire Business Growth Programme has expanded our ability to reach more SMEs across Africa, while also preparing businesses to be positioned to join Stanford Seed’s Transformation Program for established CEOs and founders,” said Darius Teter, Seed executive Director.

“Evidence shows that small and early-stage businesses are in need of more tailored support. Through Aspire we’re able to offer support to entrepreneurs at an earlier stage of their journey through AMI’s practical programme built specifically for African business owners.’’

Designed for business owners with annual revenue of between $20 000 and $400 000, Aspire is delivered virtually over a six-month learning journey, with participating businesses joining pan-African cohorts of 30 businesses.

The programme offers access to AMI’s practical business tools and resources through experiential workshops, online platform access, and peer groups, in addition to a live session delivered by Stanford Seed Graduate School of Business Faculty. Access to Stanford Seed mentors is offered to a select number of participants who operate high performing businesses that successfully complete all the programme requirements.

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“Aspire draws on AMI’s business growth methodology and practical learning approach that has proven to help African businesses grow and thrive,” said Rebecca Harrison, CEO and Co-founder of AMI. “The Aspire programme is designed for small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) who benefit from learnings focused on five key pillars including: strategy and planning, customers and markets, finance and money, people and talent and operations efficiency.

”Thousands of well-established SMEs generating revenue between $300 000 and $15 million have applied to Stanford Seed’s flagship programme, the Seed Transformation Program (STP), but the programme admits only a select few.

Originally offered as an alternative option for African businesses that do not meet the minimum requirements, AMI and Seed have opened the application process for the Aspire Business Growth Programme to businesses across the continent after a successful pilot. 130 businesses have enrolled in the programme so far with 88% of participants that complete, attributing their business growth to the programme.

“In 2021 our business was at a stagnant state, we were not growing and we didn’t know what to do next. The Aspire programme gave us a 360 degree look at the business,” said Raphael Opiyo Obiero, founder of Nawiri African Sprouts and Aspire participant.

“The tools were a game-changer. Before Aspire we kept postponing decisions as we run the day-to-day operations of the business, but now we have a way of making both big and small decisions and more importantly bringing people on board to the decisions. Our revenue has grown, our business continues to grow thanks to Aspire.”

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Applications for the March 2023 English cohorts can be done online. Applications close on Monday, 13 March 2023.


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