INSEAD Expands into North America

INSEAD officially opened the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation at 224 Townsend Street on 27 February 2020
INSEAD officially opened the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation at 224 Townsend Street on 27 February 2020

27 February 2020 marked an important milestone for INSEAD – the official inauguration of the San Francisco Hub for Business Innovation and our foray into North America. We celebrated the historic event with stimulating discussions, hosted alumni and friends and welcomed the International Directors Programme, our very first educational offering.

SF Hub Launch
From left: Andreas Jacobs MBA’90D, Chairman of the INSEAD Board; Peter Zemsky, INSEAD Deputy Dean and Dean of Innovation; Isabelle Finger MBA'09D, Director of the SF Hub; and Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD at the opening ceremony

The Hub’s new facility – a converted 1930s industrial garage renovated with the support of founding donors – is located in the heart of the Bay Area’s start-up scene. More than just a building, the San Francisco Hub is a state-of-the-art learning space that invites thinkers and doers to connect and co-create; leads the development of innovative research and teaching; thrives on diversity and different points of view; and harnesses technology as a force for good. As global organisations today face challenges that range from technology-driven disruption to generational shifts that drive new demands, there is no better place to understand these fast-paced changes than San Francisco. 

Peter ZemskyBuilding on the tremendous support of our Founding Donors, the inauguration of the INSEAD Hub Brick Campaign takes the tradition of the beautiful, timeworn bricks of the Camembert, on our Europe Campus, in a new digital direction. Gifts of USD$1,000 are recognised with a “brick” on the Hub’s digital donor wall, while gifts of USD$3,000 receive an additional named plaque affixed to a desk in the new amphitheatre. To date, the Hub has received over €76,500 in “desk” gifts from 27 donors and over €55,270 “bricks” from 63 donors. This number is expected to grow as the Hub expands and the Brick Campaign gathers momentum.

The tremendous support received from these gifts, as well as several other major contributions, will enable the Hub to unlock initiatives such as new research on digital transformation and the building of bridges between the vibrant tech ecosystem in San Francisco and INSEAD's global network of leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. It will also allow the Hub to offer a tailored selection of executive development programmes and an extensive line-up of events and activities for business executives, entrepreneurs and companies, as well as for our 700 alumni based in the region.

Moving the conversation online

On 16 March, in response to COVID-19, the difficult decision was made to temporarily close the Hub to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our local and global communities. However, this did not stop the Hub from forging connections.

In collaboration with the National Alumni Association, weekly Monday Online Discussions about the crisis and the future were streamed, as well as live online fireside chats with prominent Bay Area alumni.

From an entrepreneurial spirit to the celebration of diversity, the values that run deep in the DNA of INSEAD are evident in the San Francisco community.

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