In 2011, 16% of the graduating MBA class at Stanford reported that they were starting entrepreneurial ventures. This is a surprisingly large number for any Business School in the world. Not for Stanford though. According to the October 2012 report by two Stanford professors, since the 1930s, Stanford entrepreneurs have founded companies that generated revenues of $2.7 trillion annually while creating 5.4 million jobs. 55% of the entrepreneurs chose Stanford because of its entrepreneurial environment.
Google, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems are among the 39,900 companies that originated from Stanford. If we combine them as a country, it will be the #10 economy in the world. Some of the renowned non-profits originating from Stanford are Kiva, a microfinance organization, and The Special Olympics and Acumen Fund that assist entrepreneurs in developing economies.
While the above stats are for Stanford as a whole, MBA graduates have only benefitted from this environment. Phil Knight, MBA '62, the Founder and Chairman of Nike, is perhaps the most well-known among them. Located in Silicon Valley, Stanford is right beside the world’s most innovative and successful startups and is just next to Sand Hill Road, home to leading VCs and investors. Beyond this, Stanford itself hosts an unrivalled nurturing environment for entrepreneurship.
Centers —the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES)
The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies (CES) is focused on building an international entrepreneurial community of thought leaders with the aim of transforming the world. This is accomplished by supporting radical new research and education, inspiring Stanford students, and forming a pivotal center around which the entrepreneurial community — students, alumni, faculty, investors and industry can meet. CES stresses on entrepreneurship and venture capital, helping budding entrepreneurs evaluate, fund, and manage a startup idea.
The Stanford MBA curriculum has a wide range of subjects meant to empower entrepreneurs. The one course that stands out is the “Startup Garage”. Its motto is “Where D meets B: Design thinking in the Business School”, and its ambition is to help students “Design and launch a startup in two quarters”. The primary aim of this course is to stimulate the design of innovative solutions to existing problems. To get an idea about how entrepreneurship is taught in Stanford, read Stanford MBA teaches you how to start a Company published in F1GMAT’s Entrepreneurship section.
This is an experiential, project-based course where students can work as individuals or teams, consisting of any schools from Stanford, to develop and test a path-breaking new product or service. Industry partners, Expert Mentors and Startup Garage Fellows help the teams as they meet twice a week to implement a pre-determined process with weekly deliverables. Teams present the business model and an initial half-year plan to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs at the end of the quarter.
Aimed at ‘Powering Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ this is an academic program to assist individuals in formulating, developing and commercializing ideas. It brings students with visionaries, researchers, and technical experts from leading companies. Stanford faculty conducts the course and holds lectures, case studies, discussions, workshops, panels, and team projects. Critical startup skills like marketing, operations, strategy, accounting, finance, and economics along with practical skills like negotiation, teamwork, public speaking and leadership are developed. This is a 9-week, part-time program where B-school students pay less than $1000 for the course which otherwise costs almost $10,000.
Stanford Entrepreneurship Network
The Stanford Entrepreneurship Network (SEN) is an umbrella forum of around 25 on-campus entrepreneur organizations. SEN hosts the annual Entrepreneurship Week, conducts educational and networking events, and organizes "Coaches-on-Call" for entrepreneurs.
Stanford Entrepreneurship Week
This is a weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship, filled with events, activities and opportunities for budding student entrepreneurs. The highlights of the 2011 event were Coaches-On-Call, where industry experts mentored students; DFJ Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders where leading entrepreneurs held talks; and Startup 101 Entrepreneur Career Expo where students showcased their ideas.
Stanford Venture Studio
Stanford Venture Studio provides infrastructure and support to help bring business ideas to fruition. Here a cross section of MBAs, engineers, lawyers, and medical school students work together to foster innovative business plans. The incubation center works as a business a hub that brings together faculty, alumni, entrepreneurs, and investors to help the students. They also benefit from workshops, and contact with professionals and investors from a wide range of disciplines.
Stanford Venture Studio conducts an annual, ‘Conferences on Entrepreneurship’, and also holds the ‘E-Provocateurs Speaker Series’, which brings leading entrepreneurs into the lab. Another program, ‘Nuts & Bolts of Entrepreneurship Series’ helps entrepreneurs get a hold on the practical aspects of a startup. The outstanding feature of this program is the wide range of resources a student can access. They include Videos, Business Plans, Legal Resources, Angel Financing, Venture Capital and International Entrepreneurship Assistance.
StartX is a non-profit business accelerator of Stanford affiliated startups, founded in 2009. Since then, over 2000 students have presented more than 650 ideas, of which 60 were accepted. 51 of these have successfully formed companies that raised over $88M in funds. They include MindSumo, Stem Cell Theranostics and AgeTak Inc.
Stanford Technology Ventures Program
The Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) is the School of Engineering’s entrepreneurship center, which aims to create a world-class resource hub to promote entrepreneurial research and education. It has created the ECorner website, the world’s largest free resource center for entrepreneurs and thought leaders. As of now, it offers 2000+ podcasts and videos that feature the world’s leading entrepreneurs and innovation visionaries.
Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students (BASES)
BASES is one of the biggest student entrepreneurship groups in the world. It empowers future entrepreneurs not just in Silicon Valley, but around the world. Besides undergraduate and graduate Stanford students, the board is made up of faculty, VCs, and leading entrepreneurs. BASES is dedicated in bridging the gap between academia and industries, helping budding entrepreneurs meet leading startup founders and investors.
The BASES 150k Challenge recently offered up to $150,000 to entrepreneurial ideas in three tracks – the Entrepreneurship Challenge Track, the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge Track and Product Showcase. It also conducted the Stanford Entrepreneurship Bootcamp 2012, a conference designed to help transform ideas into concrete startups ready for launch. The boot camp enabled pitching and design workshops, marketing tactics, media plans and industry-specific mentoring with top-notch industry sponsors and partners. It also gave Stanford students with the platform to present their products to investors in Silicon Valley. Finally, the winners received a grant to implement their startup ideas.