History is the Best Teacher: Lessons from Stanford University

By Professor Venansius Baryamureeba, PhD - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professor Venansius Baryamureeba

Stanford University is a private research university in Stanford, California. The university was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford was a U.S. Senator and Former Governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. Following World War II, Provost Engineering Professor Frederick Terman, dubbed the “Father of Silicon Valley,’’ left his stamp by encouraging and supporting Stanford faculty, graduates and students not only to develop but also to commercialize their ideas. He supported faculty, graduates and students’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

Corona Virus (COVID-19) is likely to cause an economic depression across Africa. UTAMURIC entrepreneurship ecosystem is stepping up its efforts to support faculty, graduates and students’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry across Africa. It is not only targeting, encouraging and supporting faculty, graduates and students to develop but also to commercialize their ideas.

UTAMURIC startup and innovation ecosystem has access to great ideas, talent, capital and customers. It is a one stop centre for great ideas, talent, capital and customers. In short it brings together in one place (virtually or physically) all the key players in an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

UTAMURIC's ultimate goal is to be the Silicon Valley of Africa

Silicon Valley greatly led to the transformation of Stanford University after World War II. Stanford university is one of the top fundraising institutions in the U.S., having become the first university to raise more than a billion dollars in a single year. As of November 2019, 83 Nobel laureates, 27 Turing Award laureates, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford University as students, alumni, faculty or staff. In addition, Stanford University is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford University alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $3 trillion in annual revenue and have created over 7 million jobs as of 2018, roughly more than the 10th largest economy in the world. Stanford is the alma mater of one President of the United States (President Herbert Hoover, member of Stanford’s Pioneer Class of 1895), over 30 living USD billionaires, and over 17 astronauts. Stanford University is also one of the leading producers of members of the United States Congress.

UTAMURIC will encourage and support its partner Universities and research institutions from across Africa to emulate Stanford University. It's the only way they can build a local industry. Vibrant local industry not only creates jobs for graduates, it also helps to raise endowment funds for their alma mater. Universities and Research Institutions must accept a well-known principle of “big money follows big ideas “.  So, Universities and Research Institutions from across Africa need to work with institutions like UTAMURIC to support and translate the big ideas from faculty, graduates and students into startups that can be incubated into big companies.