Entrepreneur jetting off to USA

2015-06-03 06:00
LEBOHANG SELLOANE (left) and Catherine Hill-Herndon, deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Pretoria.
                    Photo: Supplied

LEBOHANG SELLOANE (left) and Catherine Hill-Herndon, deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy in Pretoria. Photo: Supplied

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EMERGING ENTREPRENEUR Lebohang Selloane cherishes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hone her skill, as well as enhance her knowledge in managing business, in America.

Originally from Kutlwanong, Odendaals­rus, Selloane is one of the 500 candidates from Africa (of which two are from the Free State) chosen for the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

The initiative is a flagship educational programme of the Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali) of Barack Obama, president of the United States.

Selloane will participate in the Business and Entrepreneurship Category.

The other categories in the programme are for Civil Leadership and Public Management.

Selloane was selected to participate last month, following an interview during which she was found to meet the criteria.

“I was selected for the Business and Entrepreneurship Category following the Engen Pitch andamp; Polish Competition I had won in 2014,” says Selloane.

She scooped the national prize in the entrepreneurship competition.

This energetic young woman is expected to jet off to the United States on 18 June and return home to South Africa on 19 September.

Selloane believes the opportunity of being part of the programme will enhance the knowledge she needs to achieve her dream of venturing into entrepreneurship.

“The Professional Development Experience (PDE) is designed to give me practical training and the opportunity to learn transferable skills, expand my network and apply concepts learned to real-world situations.

“The PDE will also prepare me for greater leadership roles later in my career and help to advance my career path.”

The international programme, expected to run over 12 weeks, entails studying Business and Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, as well as participating in a PDE at International Business Machines (IBM).

“I will have the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to IBM through targeted projects, which will in return help me grow professionally and expand my portfolio.

“I will also hone my leadership skills and network with other young leaders from Africa south of the Sahara and the United States.”

After completing her academic residency at the university, she will travel to Washington D.C. to ­participate in a three-day Mandela Washington Fellowship Summit hosted by Obama.

“During the summit, I will have the opportunity to interact with United States leaders in the fields of business, government and the non-profit sector.

“Upon completion of the United States-based programme, my fellowship continues in Africa, where I will have access to ongoing professional development, networking and a variety of possible funding sources.

“Upon completion of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, I’m planning to implement what I learn abroad to develop and scale my business to other African countries and continue to empower young women through my foundation, the Dream Girls Foundation,” says Selloane

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