Find out what our past Fellows thought about coming to Iowa City through the experiences shared below. See what they have to say about what they learned, benefited from, and what they are doing now in their current ventures. To see a full list of all the Fellows from past years of the program click the button below.

View all past Fellows

What did our 2017 Fellows think was the best past of the Fellowship program?

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2017 Fellow

“Venture School, it threw more light on what I am doing as an entrepreneur and showed me the way to be successful and profitable while impacting the society in which I find myself.”

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2017 Fellow

"Community service, I was touched by how selfless the volunteers were and how they gave service above self. I am going to use this experience to spread the spirit of volunteerism in my community and to discover ways that I can contribute to the betterment of others back home."

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2017 Fellow

“The Venture School here at University of Iowa is just the best experience I have had in the past 5 years of my life.”

Profiles

Read about the experiences of past Fellows. These Fellow interviews were done during their time in Iowa City, giving you a first-hand look into their experiences during the six week program.

Adama Diakite

Alumni Spotlight

Adama Diakite

Adama Diakite discovered a passion he wanted to follow after completing the Mandela Washington Fellowship. His desire to pursue these goals came from his experiences in and out of the classroom at Iowa. 

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Awa Caba

Alumni Spotlight

Awa Caba

Through the Mandela Washington Fellowship, Awa was given tools to manage her business, understand her customers, and know her value proposition. She tells of her personal experience going through the program here at Iowa and what it meant to her to be a part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. 

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Dave Okech

Alumni Spotlight

Dave Okech

Dave Okech found his innovative spirit while at Iowa for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Since then he's continued to pursue his business with newfound passion and an Iowan entrepreneurship state of mind. 

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Where Are They Now?

See how past Fellows are applying what they learned in Iowa City to their current ventures in their home countries.

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Silvia Tonui

Taking the time to reflect, Silvia knows she has benefited greatly from what she learned inside and outside of the classroom during the Mandela Washington Fellowship. Since then, she has taken what she learned and utilized it creating success for her business through a new outlook. 

What is your biggest takeaway from your time at the University of Iowa for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program? Why?

Biggest take away was definitely Venture School. I run a start up packaging honey so the business knowledge I received was priceless and helped me set my business strategy.

Have the skills you learned been helpful in your ventures? Which ones, and how did you apply them? 

Absolutely yes! Through the course work at Business School, I changed my marketing plan, I also received a business grant that helped me set up more bee hives and increase my distribution to include 6 extra Kenyan supermarkets.

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Barrack Ogwell

Barrack remembers his time in Iowa during the Mandela Washington Fellowship fondly as it gave him an experience full of new cultures, skills, and perspective of others. He's since put all of this into use in creating a new plan for himself and his future success in business. 

What is your biggest takeaway from your time at the University of Iowa for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program? Why?

My biggest takeaway was meeting with the other fellows from fourteen other African Countries with diverse sets of skills, interesting culture and experience in business and entrepreneurship.  It was an exciting and memorable moment interacting with them on a daily basis, sharing our experiences, culture, visiting the various places together as a team and learning the art of business and leadership. All these, to wrap it up with the Venture School Program which gave me an insight of startups, easier way of managing business, setting up and sustaining it was an experience I could rewind and do all over again. The experienced and friendly staff at Venture School as well as the business mentors added much value to my skills.

Have the skills you learned been helpful in your ventures? Which ones, and how did you apply them?

The skills I learned at Venture School have been helpful in my career. Currently, I am providing training to various youth groups and doctors that have private practices. I train them on their business models, value proposition, customer segments, revenue streams and customer archetyping. This is having a huge impact on their businesses and they are reporting improved operations, team and customer satisfaction as well as increased revenues. I have also managed to help three individuals set up new ventures using the business model canvas. The leadership training has also helped me become a better leader through seeing opportunities where no one is seeing any and I have managed to lead my groups with a vision of a more organized institution that works to constantly create a change in the community by embracing volunteerism within our networks.

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Jonase Seeiso Koetlisi

Since his visit to Iowa, Jonase has reflected on the impacts the Mandela Washington Fellowship has had on him and his business. From changing of his business plans and ideas to the learning of new business skills, he knows that this program has had a lasting impact on what he does in the future to further the success of his business. 

What is your biggest takeaway from your time at the University of Iowa for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Program? Why?

Well, my biggest takeaway from my time at the University of Iowa was the business skills that I obtained from class.  I have not been able to run my business in an organized way before, so this lesson helped me a lot to understand the dynamics of the business environment in general.

Have the skills you learned been helpful in your ventures? Which ones, and how did you apply them?

Among the skills that I learned and that were helpful to my venture are: Value Proposition, Value chain, Customer Archetype and Product difference.

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Learn More

See what's coming up for this year's program, or find out more about the 2016 and 2017 programs.

2018 MWF Program View past years