How Entrepreneurship is Changing the World
What if you invited a humble international student to stay at your home and, with your mentoring, he or she created 10,000 jobs and a $50 billion business? One of the reasons I love Virgin Unite is because they attract crazy entrepreneurs who actually believe outrageous things like that can happen and change the world.
That type of Richard Branson-esque thinking took root here in Silicon Valley, California, when just last week a Stanford alumni –Bob King– committed $150 million to fight poverty with a new entrepreneurship center. The gift is the biggest in Stanford’s history and was inspired by homestays that Dottie and Bob King have offered to international students for more than 40 years.
They witnessed first-hand how education, linked to entrepreneurship, changes the world. One international Stanford homestay student, Xiangmin Cui, introduced Bob to his friend Eric Xu, who joined internet engineer Robin Li to launch a Chinese-language search engine. Bob, an investment partner atPeninsula 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. Today, it has a market capitalization of $50 billion and employs more than 10,000 people in China.
Another one of Bob and Dottie’s home stay students, Andreata Muforo, Stanford MBA ’09 from Zimbabwe, brought peers from her global study trip in 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,” Bob King shared, who with his wife also founded the Thrive Foundation for Youth.
The new Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies is based on Bob’s belief that job creation and economic recovery come from stimulating and growing entrepreneurial ventures and supporting existing new enterprises.The Kings have made a $100 million gift to fund the Institute and have committed an additional $50 million in matching funds to inspire other donors to fuel Stanford University’s commitment to alleviating poverty. This brings the total potential philanthropic investment to $200 million.
Wishing you a successful week,