On July 18, Stanford SEED celebrated its official launch in a two distinct parts. In the morning, government officials from Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire spoke in a formal ceremony at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The speeches were about the commitment the governments to focus infrastructure improvement in the areas of job training, electricity, logistics and the availability of equity financing in order to foster growth in business and employment. All the ministers expressed enthusiasm for the SEED program and Stanford’s commitment to aiding the business sector in West Africa.
The “dress code” in the morning was Business Formal. So, as coaches, we “dressed as brothers (and sisters)” for the occasion. Here we are on the red carpet with Gina Jorasch, the SEED Director for Alumni and Student Programs:
The evening called for a party at the Stanford SEED Center. We invited the participating entrepreneurs and their spouses, as well as local business professionals and local academics. A local tailor created a Ghanaian outfit for the Stanford staff and the coaches. Now we were truly dressed as brothers!
Ed’s sister saw this photo and pronounced that we looked like “Homecoming King and Queen”!
Since our name tags read “Bill Coach” and Ed Coach”, perhaps they are actually brothers!
And maybe Jan and Melissa are siblings too!
All the gals sported dresses with different design. (My only request of the tailor was, “Please, no peplum or ruffles around the hips!” He replied, “But Madam, most Ghanaian ladies prefer to accentuate their hips.” When, he saw my reaction to this, he noted my request and made the dress to fit my preferences.
The party featured a great band, with a vocalist who has appeared all over the world, and members of the National Dance Theater of Ghana. The entertainment was fantastic. It was also fun to meet others in the expat/NGO community as well as more members of the Stanford diaspora in West Africa.
Even though it was exhausting—and the staff and the thirty entrepreneurs in our Immersion Week had to “report for class” at 8:00 the next morning—the SEED launch was an enormous success!