When Opportunity Knocks

Visiting Lagos, Nigeria was a great blessing, instinctively I always knew I would travel to the African continent. Having the good fortune to receive the Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange Award from the U.S. State Department gave me both the reason for my trip and the opportunity to make a difference. What it also afforded me was the possibility to partner with Hauwa Liman, a Mandela Washington Fellows Alumnus and Fashion Designer from Kaduna, Nigeria. Our shared passion to empower women entrepreneurs lead to our collaboration on the Creative Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, which was launched this past April in Lagos, Nigeria.

One of the highlights of my visit to Lagos was to meet Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank of Africa and Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Some of the goals his foundation established was to identify and empower 10, 000 African entrepreneurs, create a million jobs, and add $10 billion in revenue to Africa’s economy over a 10-year period.
The affect of our Creative Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Lagos, Nigeria by no means can compare to the impact the Elumelu Foundation will have on the African continent. However, it does provide something very tangible for us to aspire towards when planning the next steps of our international empowerment project.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Department of State and administered by IREX. This publication was produced independently by Sheila Hawkins-Bucklew and in no way represents official views of the U.S. Government, IREX, or other official entity administering the Mandela Washington Fellowship Reciprocal Exchange component.