Institute for International Business (IIB) 

The Institute for International Business (IIB) is a partnership between the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Tippie College of Business. IIB is dedicated to advancing knowledge and international skills in business and educational communities.  In addition, IIB works to promote entrepreneurship as a tool to empower people in developing countries and frontier markets while also providing Iowa students with cross-cultural and international business skills.  In so doing, IIB is strengthening links between the University of Iowa, Iowa communities and the world.

IMG_Mandela Washington Fellows

Mandela Washington Fellowship Program

Due to concerns and recommendations regarding COVID-19, the Mandela Washington Fellowship will not occur in 2020.  IIB will be implementing supplemental virtual programming for Alumni in its place.

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) provides members with invaluable opportunities to connect with other leaders in their community and to learn from experts in their field. The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, started in 2014, and is the flagship YALI program that empowers young people through academic coursework, leadership training, and networking. The Fellows have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.

For the fifth year, the Institute for International Business is welcoming 25 Mandela Washington Fellows from Sub-Saharan African countries to the University of Iowa to partake in the 2020 program.

The UI Mandela Washington Fellowship program is run by the Institute for International Business, a partnership between Tippie College of Business and the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa.

Learn more about the 2019 program

Business Consulting

International business consulting services are provided by teams of 3-5 University of Iowa students and are under the guidance of a faculty advisor with extensive business experience. The curriculum is designed for maximum performance for the client, and throughout the semester, teams provide clients with weekly progress reports and appraisals and will then complete a full report of the objectives, findings and recommendations. 

Find out more

Training Programs

The IIB offers online CGBP exam prep. The Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential is administered by the National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators (NASBITE). Enrollment is on-going. Sign up today to get your certification!

Opportunities for UI students

  • Travel abroad: Experience another culture. Annually, Iowa JPEC and IIB partner to host trips abroad during breaks in the academic year. These opportunities are available through the International Entrepreneurship and Culture course.

  • Student consulting projects: Take on applied projects for local Iowa companies that are looking to expand globally or companies abroad. This can be done through the Business Consulting course.

African Business Innovation Internship

Recognize some of the contemporary macro business issues of globalization. Gain first-hand knowledge of the business environment in Sub-Saharan Africa. Network with international business professionals. Acquire and practice the skills of cross-cultural competency and global mindsets. Students can experience all of this and more by participating in this exciting opportunity.

Each student will be assigned to work virtually in a company owned by a UI Mandela Washington Fellow alumnus or alumna, to act as an intern. Students will be matched by IIB to the Fellows companies based on overlapping interests in particular industrial sectors or business focus areas and will have the following responsibilities:

  • Provide fellows and their affiliated companies/institutions, with ongoing support in areas such as conducting and interpreting results of customer discovery, defining business models, developing a marketing plan, creating professional networks and social media profiles and plans, conducting market research, building financial models, designing HR procedures, etc. 
  • Work as consultants to the chosen company on a particular project under the mentorship of the instructor.

Steps to register for this specific section

1. Complete the BUS:3100:0EXV Enrollment Request form during the appropriate dates

Summer 2020 registration

  • Requests for summer enrollment will be accepted April 15 - June 5
    • Enrollment requests received after that date will be reviewed on a case by case basis by the course instructor.
    • Classes start June 15 and end August 6
2. Response to your request
  • You will receive a response within one week of submitting the enrollment request form.
  • If your request is approved, you will be given registration instructions for MyUI. You must enroll prior to the registration deadline for that academic term. This internship has its own section of BUS:3100 (0EXV) so students need to register specificially for this experience. 
  • If a decision cannot be reached based on the form responses or your responses raise concerns, you may be asked to provide additional details.
  • If your request is denied, you will receive an explanation and have the opportunity to make a new request if details of the internship change.

Note: Students may also complete this experience by registering for ENTR:4900:0IND, which is a 3 credit hour option and tuition rates apply.

Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni

Are you a Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni interested in hosting a virtual internship? Please fill out this brief questionnaire and you will be contacted by an IIB staff member for further information.  

Fill out questionnaire

Venture School International

The Institute for International Business Venture School program is designed to train and empower entrepreneurs by focusing on the critical success factors involved in early stage company development.  By using the Business Model Canvas as a focal point for creating value through customer discovery, the International Venture School program utilizes the guidance of established U.S. entrepreneurs and University of Iowa Venture School faculty while nurturing the development of mentor relationships within the local community.  This combination of resources, expertise, and feedback is instrumental in the development of next generation innovators.  Established American entrepreneurs are often the biggest champions for turning ideas into validated opportunities, and we aim to foster this same atmosphere in our programs abroad.   

B.E.L Initiative

In summer 2019 IIB welcomed its first cohort of Haitian entrepreneurs to the University of Iowa as a part of the B.E.L. Initiative. The B.E.L. Initiative is planned in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti, the IIB, and the Georgia Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (GAHCCI). It is an accelerator program providing business development curriculum, mentorship, and networking opportunities for its Fellows with the goal of transforming the economic landscape of Haiti. During their stay, the Fellows participate in Venture School, cultural excursions, company visits, and networking events, with the main educational themes being business development, international trade, and agribusiness. The program for 2020 has been expanded to include more Fellows thanks to a grant from the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince.


Hosted in partnership with the Iowa City Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the IIB holds quarterly “International Trade 101” lunch and learn sessions during which a key international business topic is discussed. These lectures are open to the general public.

International Entrepreneurship Summit

Every spring, the IIB partners with local and global entrepreneurial organizations to host the International Entrepreneurship Summit. Each year’s summit focuses on international business opportunities for local Iowa businesses and startups. 

Additional international services and resources

  • Export readiness assessment
  • Overall trade compliance and documentation
  • Foreign market opportunity assessment
  • Trade mission preparation
  • International business diplomacy (foreign partners and clients negotiations preparation, dealing with foreign governments)
  • International business development
  • Trade financing
  • International logistics issues
  • International business risks analysis
  • International banking and insurances
  • International business plans
  • Cross-cultural issues
  • Building strategies for different foreign markets

Next Steps

If you are interested in finding out more about the Institute for International Business, applying to receive consulting services, and/or looking to sponsor the IIB, please contact us. Your support will help provide resources for program development, promotion, student support, faculty development, and research in the area of International Business Studies.

Contact us  Donate to the IIB