About SEAD

The Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) was a five-year accelerator program of Duke University that brought together interdisciplinary partners through a coordinated effort across the university and leveraged institutional relationships and networks to create an integrated global health social entrepreneurship hub. SEAD, in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the USAID Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN), mobilized a community of practitioners, investors, policymakers, faculty, staff, and students to identify, assess, help develop, build capacity of, and scale solutions, technologies, and business models for healthcare delivery and preventive services in developing countries around the world. Through this program, SEAD has captured lessons learned and policy implications to ensure that our work impacts both entrepreneurs on the ground and the broader development community.

SEAD was a joint initiative between the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Innovations in Healthcare, and the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), in collaboration with the Developing World Healthcare Technology (DHT-Lab) at Pratt School of Engineering and Durham-based Investors’ Circle, the world’s oldest, largest and most successful early-stage impact investing network.

Our Approach

SEAD’s approach to supporting social entrepreneurship for improved global health outcomes was to:

  • Spark, select, and scale new solutions and technologies to address global health challenges, including many from low and middle-income countries
  • Engage in building an ecosystem of networking support and access to investment capital to help entrepreneurs scale their enterprises
  • Assess the effectiveness of SEAD, the development problems it engages, and the solutions it supports
  • Disseminate practical and academic knowledge and evidence about scaling health innovations globally, especially among actors on the ground in developing economies.


SEAD Pipeline Graphic

Our Partners

SEAD was a joint initiative between the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, Innovations in Healthcare, and the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), in collaboration with the Developing World Healthcare Technology (DHT-Lab) at Pratt School of Engineering and Durham-based Investors’ Circle, the world’s oldest, largest and most successful early-stage impact investing network.

In addition, faculty from the Sanford School of Public Policy, Department of Economics, and elsewhere across Duke served as advisers for the initiative.

The program was funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN).

The SEAD Innovators

The 2015 SEAD Cohort


Afya Research: Operates kiosks located in rural villages, making it easier for community members to access services such as well-baby and ante-natal visits.

MicroClinic Technologies: Commercializing ZiDi, Africa’s first enterprise health management solution which enables clinics and hospitals across Africa to improve management of patient care, medicines, and personnel.

Safe Water and AIDS Project (SWAP): Engages Community Health Promoters to provide health education and door-to-door sales of health and hygiene products in rural Kenya.

ZanaAfrica: A social enterprise that locally manufactures and distributes affordable, high quality sanitary pads for girls and women in East Africa. ZanaAfrica also focuses on issues such as health education and policy advocacy for girls.


Ayzh: Develops low-cost, appropriate technology such as safe birthing kits designed to meet the needs of women in resource-poor settings.

Bodhi Health: Provides medical education training materials that explain complex medical topics to less literate health workers with highly pictorial e-Learning content available in regional languages.

Noora Health: Provides training that empowers families of patients to be better care givers in the hospital and at home. Noora operates in India and US.

SevaMob: Offers primary healthcare and insurance via mobile clinics.  It offers rapid point-of-care diagnostics and provides healthcare sponsorships for orphanages.


The 2014 SEAD Cohort


LifeNet: Efficient Capacity Building for Local Health Clinics.  Strengthens local healthcare capacity, by partnering with community health centers to build their medical and administrative capacity and connect them with necessary pharma/medical equipment.  Partner clinics have seen a 72% increase in quality of patient care.

Northstar: Shipping Container Clinics for Transport Workers.  Operates a network of 36 converted shipping container clinics placed along Africa’s transport corridors currently with over 1.4 million health sessions in 10 countries since its inception.  Partners with over 70 public, private and social organizations including Chevron, Heineken, UPS and others.


Arogya FinanceHealth Loans for the Traditionally Unbankable.  Provides health loans within 24 hours to patients, approving patients based on a proprietary behavioral test rather than formal system requirements like a bank account or collateral.

Forus Health: Intelligent Medical Technology.  Focused on “Democratizing Wellness,” Forus Health develops affordable technology solutions that can easily be used by a minimally trained technician, thereby making health service accessible and scalable.  Creator of 3nethra- an intelligent pre-screening ophthalmology device.

SughaVazhvu: Evidence Based Blue Print for Primary Care.  Offers low-cost primary healthcare services through an easy to follow blue print clinic system.  This includes a focus on evidence-based primary care, use of a proprietary health management information system, community engagement tactics and highly developed protocols to treat the most common 80+ illnesses.

Swasth India: Low Cost, Patient Centered, Primary Care Franchise.  Driven by the motto “Health for all,” Swasth India operates a chain of primary care centers in slum areas with a model that provides a 50% reduction in out of pocket expenses to the patient.  Provides everything in a 150 square foot facility that offers access to a family doctor, rapid diagnostics on site, discounts on drugs, referrals with discounts, in patient day care services and electronic health records.

The 2013 SEAD Cohort


Changamkaan integrated health financing company that utilizes an electronic platform, accessible by mobile phones, to facilitate the financing of healthcare services for the working poor in Kenya.

Jacaranda Health: Combines business and clinical innovations to create a self-sustaining and scalable chain of clinics that provide reproductive health services to poor urban women.

Riders for Health: an International social enterprise that manages and maintains vehicles for health-focused partners in sub-Saharan Africa which enables health works to deliver vital health care to rural communities on a reliable and cost-effective basis.

Penda HealthBuilds a chain of primary healthcare clinics to finally bring quality healthcare to Kenya’s lower income families by utilizing a unique staffing model and a focused set of services that address key outpatient needs in order to bring down costs.

SproxilProvides world-class brand protection services in emerging markets by allowing consumers to verify product genuineness within seconds through SMS texts.

WE CARE SolarPromotes safe motherhood and reduces maternal mortality in developing regions by providing health workers with reliable lighting, mobile communication, and blood bank refrigeration using solar electricity.


Naya JeevanA hybrid social enterprise that seeks to bring low-income families throughout the emerging world out of poverty by providing them with affordable access to quality healthcare, mobile health technology and mobile-enabled financial inclusion.

Operation AshaWorks to prevent and treat tuberculosis with the ultimate goal of eliminating TB among disadvantaged communities by utilizing SMS and biometric technology to ensure treatment adherence.

VaatsalyaBuilds and manages hospitals/clinics in semi-urban and rural areas of India to bring healthcare services where they are most needed.

North America:

ClickMedixBrings affordable and quality health services to underserved populations by connecting patients to doctors through mobile technologies and community-based health providers to achieve continuous healthcare delivery to patients.

salaUno: Applies operating and strategic principles pioneered by the successful Aravind Eye Care System in India as well as engineering best practices such as Lean and Kaizen to bring timely and affordable eye surgery services.