Impact: Stanford University's Economic Impact via Innovation and Entrepreneurship

103 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2013 Last revised: 17 Oct 2017

See all articles by Charles E. Eesley

Charles E. Eesley

Stanford University - Management Science & Engineering

William F. Miller

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: October 16, 2017


Stanford University has a deep history in entrepreneurship and technological innovation. For more than a century, the university has incubated ideas, educated entrepreneurs and fostered breakthrough technologies that have been instrumental in the rise and constant regeneration of Silicon Valley, and at the same time, contributed to the broader global economy.

Stanford graduates have founded, built or led thousands of businesses, including some of the world’s most recognized companies – Google, Nike, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Charles Schwab, Yahoo!, Gap, VMware, IDEO, Netflix and Tesla. In the area of social innovation, the Stanford community has created thousands of non-profit organizations over the decades, including such well-known organizations as Kiva, the Special Olympics and Acumen Fund.

This report focuses on data gathered from a large-scale, systematic survey of Stanford alumni, faculty and selected staff in 2011 to assess the university’s economic impact based on its involvement in entrepreneurship. The report describes Stanford’s role in fostering entrepreneurship, discusses how the Stanford environment encourages creativity and entrepreneurship and details best practices for creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The report on 2011 survey, sponsored by the venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, estimates that 39,900 active companies can trace their roots to Stanford. If these companies collectively formed an independent nation, its estimated economy would be the world’s 10th largest. Extrapolating from survey results, those companies have created an estimated 5.4 million jobs and generate annual world revenues of $2.7 trillion.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, university, academic, innovation

Suggested Citation

Eesley, Charles E. and Miller, William F., Impact: Stanford University's Economic Impact via Innovation and Entrepreneurship (October 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Charles E. Eesley (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Management Science & Engineering ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States


William F. Miller

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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