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De Beers Group empowers South African youth and entrepreneurs of the future with school partnership

De Beers Group has signed a major partnership that will enable and empower the youth and entrepreneurs of the future in South Africa.

The company announced that it will invest US$3mn in a three-year partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) to provide a series of programs aimed at empowering young, aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Two programmes will be launched in 2018 through the GSB in collaboration with a number of Government entities, including the Botswana Innovation Hub and the Botswana Ministry of Tertiary Education.

Seed Transformation Program

The Stanford Seed Transformation Program is a year-long leadership programme, taught by Stanford GSB faculty and Seed-trained local facilitators. The programme will provide 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. The programme will be open to established business owners in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Stanford Go-to-Market

Stanford Go-to-Market is an intensive, one-week entrepreneurship boot camp, taught by Stanford GSB faculty. Through a combination of lectures, case studies, and small-group discussions, it will help budding entrepreneurs gain the confidence and skills to commercialise their business ideas and accelerate their route to market. Initially running in Botswana, the programme may expand to include participants from other southern African countries once fully established.

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Bruce Cleaver, CEO De Beers Group, said: “Economic diversification and youth employment opportunities are priorities for our government partners and are priorities for De Beers Group as well. We all believe these two programmes, in partnership with a world-renowned educational institution, have excellent potential to help accelerate diversification and stimulate more opportunities for young and ambitious southern Africans.”

Jesper Sørensen, Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Faculty Director of Stanford Seed, said: “We are excited to work with the young and established entrepreneurs in the Southern African region through this collaboration. As with our experiences in East and West Africa, we are coming to learn as much as we are to teach. If the business and job growth that follows matches what we are seeing in our other locations, I anticipate this will be a very impactful initiative.”