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 capture lessons learned and policy implications to ensure that our work impacts both entrepreneurs on the ground and the broader development community.

Learn more about SEAD, our approach, and the cohort.

Knowledge Products

Highlights Paper

Highlights for the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke

At the conclusion of the five-year accelerator program, the SEAD team reflects on the program sharing key findings, reports, toolkits, and guides.

SEAD Highlights Report

Effective Enterprise Acceleration

Decoding the ABCs of Effective Enterprise Acceleration: 10 Lessons from SEAD

Like learning a new language, scaling an enterprise is full of unknowns, imperfect attempts and lessons for the future. Enterprise accelerators often serve as translators between their participants and the outside world. In doing so, accelerators must decipher between what they assume will be effective and what the enterprises they serve want and need. How can enterprise accelerators crack the code? The SEAD team shares 10 lessons for other accelerators.

Decoding the ABCs of Effective Enterprise Acceleration


CASE Smart Impact Capital

CASE Smart Impact Capital™ is a scalable online fundraising toolkit for entrepreneurs and the support programs that guide them. CASE created Smart Impact Capital after seeing patterns in the challenges faced by SEAD entrepreneurs in raising capital and realizing that, when it comes to capital-raising, impact entrepreneurs are operating without a guidebook. The toolkit is designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the fundraising process, so they don’t end up with the wrong kind of capital or the wrong investment partner. It is organized into nine modules, or chapters, based on topics with which impact entrepreneurs struggle, and contains bite-size learning videos, downloadable tools, and practical resources.

Investors’ Circle Co-Investor Alignment Assessment

Aligned co-investment relationships help investors mitigate early-stage investment risk, better support portfolio companies, and build meaningful impact investing practices. However, broad interests in healthcare provision and outcomes, differing perceptions of market and business risks, and a diverse array of capital providers supporting innovation add complexity to working with other investors in the global health sector. This tool helps investors understand their personal investment objectives in order to assess alignment with prospective co-investors and build complementary investment relationships.

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DGHI Evidence Lab Evaluation Tools

As part of SEAD, the Duke Global Health Institute’s Evidence Lab developed a series of tools to help social enterprises in healthcare evaluate their services, products, and/or technologies. Most social enterprises work in contexts that lack the requirements for rigorous, gold-standard evaluations: finances, time to observe changes, and a controlled environment. The toolkit outlines different ways social enterprises in health can better evaluate their work and communicate their results with tighter timelines and more limited resources. Donors and funders may also use the toolkit with their grantees, or to better understand what types of information are reasonable to request from social enterprises in health.

Tools include:
1. Monitoring Organizational Reach and Influence
2. Measuring Household Out-of-Pocket Health Expenditures
3. Economic Impact: Finding the Right Analysis for Your
Evaluation Needs
4. Strengthening Access and Quality of Care Patient Data
5. Considerations in Leveraging Data for Expansion

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Fundraising for Global Health Social Enterprises: Lessons from the Field

Interviews with investors and global health social enterprises provide insight into common challenges and emerging best practices for fundraising in the field of global health. Trends in the current funding landscape are also described. The authors outline three fundamental questions global health social enterprises should address as they develop fundraising strategies.

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Healthcare Innovation in East Africa: Navigating the Ecosystem

Healthcare innovators face many critical external and internal challenges to growth and scale within the East Africa context. This analysis reveals a number of issues, prospects and ecosystem-building partnership possibilities that can help shape the future potential of innovations to make quality healthcare more accessible and affordable.

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Shared Vision, Different Perspectives: Catalyzing Co-Investment into Early-Stage Impact Enterprises in Kenya

Based on experiences bringing impact investors to Kenya, Investors’ Circle white paper describes how investors can better fund early-stage impact enterprises in Kenya.

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Strengthening Health Systems in Developing Countries Through Private Investment: Lessons from the Global Health Investment Landscaping Project (GHILP) 

Authors reviewed approximately 85 organizations and interviewed approximately 30 capital providers to better understand the current landscape of global health investors in India and East Africa. To address the main challenges identified for impact investors, the authors developed a two-step framework for evaluating health sector opportunities.

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Guide to Governance, Management, and Team Development: A resource for Global Health Impact Investors

Evaluating a company’s founders, management team, governance structure, and overall organizational development is one of the most important and challenging parts of the due diligence process. Understanding these enterprise components can be even more complicated when working with global health innovations in complex regulatory environments and emerging markets. This tool, developed by Investors’ Circle’s Global Health Advisory Board, helps investors understand what organizational development characteristics to look for when assessing global health investment opportunities at different stages of growth.

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MicroEnsure CASE Studies

This series of case studies, written by Strathmore University and Duke University faculty, looks at the market for base of the pyramid financing and the challenges MicroEnsure faced providing microinsurance effectively to this market.