Twelve African entrepreneurs are learning about doing business in the United States as part of an educational exchange program at Oklahoma State University. The group arrived at OSU May 1 from Kenya, South Africa and Uganda to participate in the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs grant project.
The Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership is partnering with the Department of Agricultural Economics and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship to conduct the two-way educational exchange program. The goal is to create professional relationships and learning experiences for the selected African entrepreneurs.
During the Entrepreneurial Fellows’ stay in Oklahoma, they will participate in an orientation to learn about U.S. history and culture, technology and social media, business development, and customer service. At the beginning of their second week in Oklahoma, each Fellow will be paired for a three-week internship with businesses, organizations, not-for-profits, government agencies and educational centers around Oklahoma.
Some of the local organizations hosting the participants include The Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center, Lost Creek Mushroom Farm, OSU College of Human Sciences, Formal Fantasy, Meridian Technology, Rolling Plains Ag Compost, Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, Agricultural Expo, HOPE Food Science, ABLE TECH, Riata Center for Entrepreneurship and Oklahoma Foundation Seed Stock.
HOPE Food Science is hosting Anita Owora, a Kenyan resident interested in gluten-free products.
“HOPE Food Science is so very excited about this opportunity,” said Larry Johnston, co-owner and operator of HOPE in Tulsa. “We hope to assist our entrepreneurial Fellow in connecting the dots to all her aspirations of gluten-free products and help her carry this knowledge to her home country.”
At the conclusion of their fellowships, all participants will travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in the Professional Fellows Congress, June 4-6. The congress marks the culmination of the exchange experience in the United States, providing a forum for participants to discuss best practices and meet other young leaders within their profession as well as to develop projects they will implement upon their return home.
Entrepreneurial Fellows at OSU include:
Kenya: Anita Owora, Christine Mburugu, Marcus Kassa and Robert Wang’ombe
South Africa: Faith Nene, Malixole Gwatyu, Nozuku Dlamini and William Mugal
Uganda: Johnathan Kisakye, Joyce Nabisaalu, Nathan Kariuki and Sebastian Ssembowa