A Tanzanian genius Benjamin Fernandes and MBA candidate at Stanford Graduate School of Business, has won 45m/- ($20,000) to build a business in Tanzania
Fernandes, aged 24, has become a great sense of pride for Tanzania. Prior to Stanford Graduate School of Business, Fernandes used to be a national television host in Tanzania.
Since business school, Fernandes has worked for the richest man in the world, Bill Gates at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before returning to complete his Stanford MBA.
On May 24th 2017, Fernandes was awarded the Frances and Arjay Miller Prize in Social Innovation. The Frances and Arjay Miller Prize in Social Innovation rewards students who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to public good and is awarded to graduating students who plan to focus on social or environmental impact in the next phase of their careers.
This year, Benjamin Fernandes was selected for this award and will receive a stipend of 45 million Tanzanian shillings to facilitate his transition after graduation.
Fernandes won this award alongside Ali Goldsworthy, an MsX candidate in the Stanford Executive Education programme. Through the fellowship, Fernandes is working on building a financial institution driving forward digital financial services in East Africa.
Fernandes will initially launch these services in Tanzania to support the 80 percent unbanked population Tanzania currently has. Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller, creator of two of the awards, is committed to supporting students leading social change.
Miller served as dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business from 1969 to 1979. During that time, he created the school’s Public Management Programme to promote cooperation between public and private sectors for the benefit of society.
“As I’ve said before, making money is the easy part — it’s making the world a better place that is the hard part,” Miller said.
“I wanted to encourage students to find unique ways to overcome social challenges, and I’m thrilled with the change these programmes have inspired over the past few years.” Fernandes received two awards on the night, one nominated by his peers where he received the Miller Social Change Leadership Award.
Recipients of this award are selected based both on their focus on social innovation through classroom and practical applications and on their leadership and contributions to the Stanford Graduate School of Business social change community.
“My faith is the foundation of what stimulates my drive to get things done. I have been blessed with the opportunities I have been given and feel very privileged by them.
My commitment is to go home in the future to help build a self-sustaining generation of Tanzanian’s rooted in optimism, hope and our mutual love for our homeland.” Fernandes said. Over the past two years, Fernandes has excelled in his commitment to putting Tanzania on the map.