The launch of SEED in West Africa has been realized due to the extraordinary generosity and vision of the program’s benefactors, Bob and Dottie King of Menlo Park, CA. They spent this week in Ghana with us. It’s been moving to see them witness their vision become reality in Accra.
The Kings were inspired to create the SEED program by their close relationships with the many foreign students who lived at their Menlo Park home over the past 50+ years. Collaborating with Garth Saloner, the Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, they created and funded the SEED program to realize their vision of growing entrepreneurial businesses around the world as a driving force to alleviate poverty.
At the morning event, lively African drumbeats escorted the Kings down the aisle at the auditorium.
The Kings sat in the front row of the auditorium and were recognized by the dignitaries on stage, a group of cabinet ministers from West African nations. After the speeches, we took a brief moment to snap this picture with them.
At the evening party, Bob and Dottie were also “dressed like brothers” wearing their Ghanaian outfits. They were thrilled that one of the Stanford students who had lived with them—a woman originally from Zimbabwe who returned to Africa to pursue her career—was able to join them at the celebration.
In a moving ceremony, Bob and Dottie were honored in a very traditional African way with the National Dance Troupe of Ghana performing an interpretive dance that highlighted the generosity and inclusiveness of the SEED program.
At the end, the Kings and Dean Saloner were robed in traditional Ghanaian Kente cloth. Bob became our “Chief” and was presented with a sword.
Bob and Dottie are very approachable and down-to-earth. They loved meeting the entrepreneurs we are coaching and hearing their stories. The SEED team is truly grateful for their expansive vision and enormous generosity.
Being with Bob and Dottie as they experienced their vision become concrete (quite literally) with the opening of the Stanford SEED Center in Accra has been a very emotional and touching experience for us.
Bob and Dottie are not only our “Kings”, but they are truly our “Chiefs”! Thank You! Or as they say in Twi (the local language), “Meda ase!”