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Grants Awarded to Mandela Washington Fellows


United States African Development Fund grant recipients and mentors from left to right: Dave Croasdell, University professor, Cosmos Shaduka, Lisema Masheane, Ethiopia Wondimu Robi, Miriam Kyasiimire, Carina Black, executive director of the Northern Nevada International Center, Andrew Bright Chikomba, and Haruna Fatawa Ndahi. Image courtesy UNR.

During a Skype conference on July 29th, seven Mandela Washington business and entrepreneurship fellows at the University of Nevada, Reno received $25,000 grants through the United States African Development Fund (USADF).

Competing against fellows from many other universities across the nation in a business plan competition, the Reno cohorts received the largest number of awarded grants. The fellows that received grants included Andrew Bright Chikomba, Miriam Kyasiimire, Lisema Masheane, Ethiopia Wondimu Robi, Cosmos Shaduka, Haruna Fatawa Ndahi and Fatoumata Binta Baldé.
“Nevada is very special to us,” Michele Rivard, USADF chief of staff, told the assembled group via Skype. “The business and entrepreneurship track has traditionally been an east coast thing, and you are taking your knowledge gained in Nevada back to your home countries. We welcome being part of your next steps.”
As part of President Barack Obama’s  Young African Leaders Initiative, the University hosted 25 of Africa’s emerging entrepreneurial leaders during the six-week academic fellowship. This program intends to provide insight into American business practices to an international audience.
“The Mandela Washington Fellows have used the opportunity to develop their ideas through local contacts and academic curriculum,” Dave Croasdell, the Charles and Ruth Hopping professor of entrepreneurship and the chairman of information systems in the College of Business at the University, said. “These awards are validation of the collaboration, mentorships and partnerships this community has shared with these African business leaders.”
“It is never just the grant winner who succeeds,” Croasdell told the group. “Keep your dream alive and keep your business going.”


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