PMB’s Young African Leader off to America

2015-06-17 10:28
Pietermaritzburg Businessman Lee du Preez starts his journey to America tomorrow for the the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders.

Pietermaritzburg Businessman Lee du Preez starts his journey to America tomorrow for the the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. (Supplied)

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A PIETERMARITZBURG entrepreneur is off to America to meet the Obamas later this month as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in America.

Young business owner Lee du Preez was the only person from Pietermaritzburg to be chosen for the prestigious programme and will be joining 40 other South Africans as they journey to the U.S. tomorrow.

The programme is designed to foster and develop the skills and leadership abilities of 500 of Africa’s most promising young leaders from all over the continent.

An intensive six-week programme that distributes the applicants to various U.S. universities, it includes workshops, mentorships, networking opportunities with recognisedand established leaders and most exciting of all, a chance to meet with President Barack Obama and other U.S. government, business, and civic leaders.

On the fellowship’s website it states that although each experience may not be directly relevant to the participants’ immediate goals, they will provide transferable skills they can use successfully during the course of their careers.

The owner of BEE Novation, a BEE consultancy that helps grow businesses’ BEE status, the 32-year-old Pietermaritzburg local said although he applied for the 2014 programme and was only accepted for 2015’s fellowship, he was “ecstatic” when he heard he had been accepted.

“It was one of the happiest days of my life,” he said.

“I couldn’t stop smiling that day. I phoned my whole family, I even called my sister who lives in South Korea straight from my cellphone.

“It just could not get any better than this.”

He said the programme was an opportunity of a lifetime and would bring the skills he is taught back to his business and the youth in Pietermaritzburg.

“I will use what I learn to help grow my business further and help develop youth working in business,” he said.
The businessman belongs to two ­business organisations, Enactus and the Raizcorp Programme.

Enactus is dedicated to developing entrepreneurial skills and Raizcorp’s function is ensuring the success of small, promising businesses.

Du Preez said he would share theworld-class knowledge that he would learn during the fellowship with both theorganisations to benefit members and ultimately the country.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  entrepreneur

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