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Tuesday, 20 August 2013 09:28

Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies

A GNA Feature By Yaa Oforiwah Asare-Peasah/Ellen Tetteh

ACCRA, Ghana, August 20, 2013, (GNA) - "Africa Rising" is a buzz-phrase which gets thrown around quite casually these days. For some, there is the notion that Africa is rising from the ashes of a sordid past, "a broken continent finally finding its footing and place in the world".


Perhaps, more poignant is the reflection this casts on the African people, "a broken people finally finding their place in the world". The reality is certainly a much less dire affair and rather quite inspirational when observed through a more accurate lens. One only has to take a stroll through evolving African towns and cities and it becomes clear that they are near bursting with vast expressions of creativity and entrepreneurial outlook.


History teaches us that Africa has always been pioneering and ahead of the pack. Africa has always been the hotspot of human endeavour and innovation. This reality remains true today. Indeed Africa is rising, but not out of the ashes; rather, it is evolving through an effective local system that Africans have benefitted from for centuries, and that enables Africa to meet the challenges of being a competitor within the global economic arena.


According to the World Bank's latest "Africa's Pulse", a twice-yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa's economic prospects, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to reach more than five per cent on average in 2013-2015.


The bank goes on to predict that medium-term growth prospects remain strong and will be supported by a gradually improving world economy, consistently high commodity prices, and more investment in regional infrastructure, trade, and business growth.


It is in recognition of this potential that the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED) has committed itself to partnering with high potential businesses in West African countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, and others, to step up the growth of these businesses and their contribution to economic development through job creation.


In line with this, SEED is establishing its first regional innovation centre in Ghana to serve as a focal point for the delivery of a customised training program designed to help enterprises address and overcome hurdles to growth.


SEED will also facilitate access to investors and, most uniquely, provide continuous business coaching by a team of accomplished volunteers who are based in Accra and who will work side by side with local and regional businesses.


SEED is a Stanford University Initiative, targeted at stimulating regional prosperity that would help transform lives through the growth and scaling of businesses—and job creation.


Stanford University has a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurship, and has served as the launch pad for many of the managers and business leaders who have in turn built some of the most recognisable global brands such as Nike, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard among many other institutions.


"It is our privilege to be able to leverage Stanford's resources and culture of innovation and entrepreneurship through our first on-the-ground programme which will include companies from Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and other West African nations," says SEED Executive Director, Tralance Addy.


Through its expertise and profound regard for African ingenuity, SEED looks set to propel African businesses and business owners into the full realization of their potential. (GNA)



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