Monday, June 18, 2012

Young African Entrepreneurs Arrive in Pittsburgh for Mentoring Through New State Department Program

A group of young leaders from six African nations have arrived in Pittsburgh for 13 days of mentoring and leadership training in the fields of social and business entrepreneurship through GlobalPittsburgh and a new program of the U.S. Department of State.

 Day One Orientation
Pittsburgh was selected as one of nine U.S. cities to participate in a program called Mentoring Partnerships for Young African Leaders (MPYAL). The Africa Bureau of the U.S. State Department, with Meridian International Center, has designed this new program as a signature U.S. government engagement with Africa featuring a two-week professional development program to bring approximately 60 young African leaders to the United States.

GlobalPittsburgh has placed the six young leaders from Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Liberia, Madagascar, Somalia, South Africa and Sudan in seven days of job shadowing in companies or organizations as part of their total of 13 days in the community.

Organizations hosting the job shadowing and mentorships include Catalyst Connection, Brunner, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Suites Pittsburgh Downtown, the Hilton Garden Inn University Place, Innovation Works, Zola Design, Pittsburgh Public Market, and Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

One other full day will be used to introduce the group to a Pittsburgh business incubator and to the promotion of entrepreneurship in the region.

Meeting at CEED
The group was scheduled to visit the Manchester Bidwell Corp., which offers arts-based programs for high school students and vocational training for adults, and CEED, a community development organization that supports business startups for underserved populations, including minorities, women, persons with disabilities, immigrants and refugees.

GlobalPittsburgh also arranged a welcoming event for the participants and home hospitality for the guests during their stay in the region.

The participants in the project were nominated for their outstanding motivation and accomplishments by the U.S. Embassies in their countries and confirmed by the Africa Bureau program team. The group arrived on June 16 and will depart June 28.

The two weeks in U.S. cities is intended to provide a hands-on experience in the American workplace and exposure to cultural aspects of American life. Closing ceremonies will take place in Chicago on June 29 and 30.

The Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership will stress social and business entrepreneurship as a tool for harnessing Africa’s intellectual capital to create jobs and sustainable, equitable opportunities. Looking to the future, these programs aim to enhance a U.S.-Africa collaboration to promote business innovation, investment, and social responsibility activities in Africa, the State Department said.

On June 13, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the entire group to the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership with Young African Leaders, the overall three-week program sponsored by the U.S. government in collaboration with the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C. 

The President’s Initiative, which began with President Obama’s Forum with Young African Leaders in 2010, has included more than 2,000 U.S government-sponsored programs for young leaders across Sub-Saharan Africa in addition to the First Lady’s Young African Women Leaders Forum, held in South Africa in June 2011.

The Innovation Summit served as the opening event, bringing together high-profile business leaders, inspirational speakers, and international and local civil society activists. After the two-day event, participants were scheduled to travel to business internships in Seattle, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Miami, Huntsville, Denver, Chicago or Cincinnati for the Mentoring Partnership with U.S. companies and non-profit organizations.


  1. Very informational blog. Business and entrepreneurship programs increase business skills and strategies. Thanks. !!!

  2. South Africa and Sudan in seven days of job shadowing in companies or organizations as part of their total of 13 days in the community.