GSB students recognized for using social innovation to solve problems, drive change

The 2021 Social Innovation Fellowship recipients, Shawon Jackson, Abdulhamid Haidar, and Ted McKlveen, launched ventures that address social and environmental needs. | Javier Flores
The 2021 Social Innovation Fellowship recipients, Shawon Jackson, Abdulhamid Haidar and Ted McKlveen, launched ventures that address social and environmental needs. (Photos by Javier Flores)

The Graduate School of Business has awarded three members of the Class of 2021 the Social Innovation Fellowship (SIF) to continue their work to empower Black and Brown youth through public speaking, expand education in areas with limited internet connectivity and reduce emissions in transportation.

The SIF is awarded each year to graduating students who plan to start a high-impact for-profit or nonprofit social venture that addresses a pressing social or environmental need. It provides financial and personalized entrepreneurship support for one year, including a $110,000 stipend, communications and leadership coaching and an opportunity to join the Stanford Venture Studio resident program, an interdisciplinary community of graduate students and alumni who are developing new businesses.

Commitment to social innovation has never been higher at Stanford GSB. This year, more than 150 students will receive a Certificate in Public Management and Social Innovation for their coursework in fields such as economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, health or education — the highest number ever. In addition, 76 students participated in the Stanford GSB Impact Fund, a student-managed fund that invests in ventures with social value; this is the fund’s largest class since it was founded in 2015. Students also took part in nearly 100 social impact summer experiences through Stanford Seed internships, Social Management Immersion Fellowships and Impact Design Immersion Fellowships — up from 38 experiences in 2019.

“Our social innovation awards recognize the important role leaders play in finding innovative ways to approach some of the most complex social problems,” said JONATHAN LEVIN, the Philip H. Knight Professor and dean of Stanford GSB. “We are proud of these students for their commitment to making the world a better place in so many ways.”

The 2021 SIF recipients are:

  • ABDUKHAMID HAIDAR: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Haidar created Darsel, a nonprofit educational platform for students with limited internet access or device availability. His goal is to alleviate a global learning crisis by increasing access to low-cost, low-bandwidth technology in resource-constrained communities.
  • SHAWON JACKSON: Last year, Jackson launched Vocal Justice, an organization that prepares Black and Brown youth to be socially conscious leaders through a public speaking program that focuses on developing confidence, communication skills and critical consciousness.
  • TED MCKLVEEN: McKlveen co-founded Verne, a hydrogen storage company that aims to reduce emissions in heavy-duty transportation. Current hydrogen storage solutions are expensive, heavy and take up too much space on a vehicle; Verne’s cryo-compression technique allows its tank to be half the weight, volume and cost of existing models.

Read more about this and other awards on the Graduate School of Business website.