Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke University (SEAD)

Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke University (SEAD)

The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke, implemented by partners at Duke University and beyond, provides innovative health care enterprises in East Africa and India with the knowledge, systems, and networks to succeed at scaling their impact. Leveraging Duke’s extensive global networks, SEAD mobilizes a community of practitioners, investors, corporations, faculty, staff, and students to provide mentoring, peer support, targeted technical assistance, and support in attracting capital. 

At a Glance

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STIMULATING IMPACT INVESTING: SEAD catalyzes global health impact investing by providing technical assistance to participating social enterprises and engaging investors interested in opportunities in the global health sector. SEAD has convened a Global Health Impact Investing Advisory Board of 23 diverse individuals including angel investors, asset managers, and asset owners. After conducting a market analysis to highlight challenges and opportunities in the field, SEAD convened investors to discuss the best ways to approach this relatively new area of investment. Results indicated that despite its inherent challenges, several recent market developments have generated considerable growth in activity around global health impact investing.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Through its comprehensive program evaluation and complementary research endeavors related to impact investing and the innovation ecosystem, SEAD is committed to sharing insights from its work to help the development community better understand the factors that help and hinder the scale of impact of global health innovation. In collaboration with the Duke Global Health Institute, SEAD launched the Evidence Lab, which helps global health entrepreneurs evaluate their business model, impact on patients, and influence in the global health space.

ENGAGING STUDENTS AND FACULTY IN GLOBAL HEALTH INNOVATION: Through internships, fellowships, and more, students from Duke support SEAD innovators while developing a deeper understanding of social entrepreneurship and global health. SEAD also provides a range of on-campus programming to connect students to the work of the innovators and broader global health innovation. SEAD engages faculty across Duke, convening a research working group of faculty interested in global health innovation, providing research funding for faculty addressing global health innovation issues, and connecting faculty with SEAD innovators with aligned research interests.  


SEAD identifies growing nonprofit and for-profit enterprises with operations in East Africa and India that have experienced initial success in developing potentially transformative ways to address challenges in global health. SEAD provides these enterprises with a three-year program of support focusing on overcoming obstacles that social enterprises commonly face in scaling up their impact. Topics include refining scaling strategies, understanding behavior change, forming strategic partnerships across sectors, managing organizational growth, accessing funding, and assessing performance.

The program includes the annual SEAD Summit at Duke, field visits by the SEAD team to meet with innovators, development of a regional SEAD office in East Africa, collaborations among innovators and experts, and coaching from SEAD partners.