Sharing bright spots and practical business solutions for a post-COVID Africa

Author: Jennifer Krauser

Mwf Webinar
Panel Speakers (L-R): Jessica Manhica (Mozambique), Host; Bertha Sithole (Eswatini); Leah Molatseli (South Africa), Moderator; Denaya Dennis (South Sudan); Dupe Darabian (Nigeria); and Rasheed Kasito (Malawi).

Knowledge is power. Jess Manhinca is no stranger to this concept. Jess came to the University of Notre Dame for the Leadership in Business Institute in the summer of 2019 as part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. Jess is an exceptional individual with a great ability to befriend anyone. Fellows would open up to her and share their challenges of being an entrepreneur. Her active listening no-doubt led to her success within her community-based business accelerator, IDEÁRIO Hub, where she co-founded the first women-only tech marketplace in Mozambique, TEKLA, as a gender inclusive employment tool. Throughout her career, she has trained over 200 young women in entry-level ICT and professional skills and is motivated by the potential to create equal and inclusive employment opportunities.

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After this intensive program, focused on entrepreneurship and servant leadership, Jess wanted to start a project that could share practical ideas and solutions with small businesses and entrepreneurs, while also sharing her knowledge and network of professionals to a larger audience. Jess created the Notre Dame-Mandela Washington Fellows Talk, which is a series of webinars covering a variety of topics. The first topic will be “Businesses Post COVID-19” and will highlight a panel of other 2019 Notre Dame Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni with areas of expertise in legal consulting, business incubation & acceleration, music/entertainment, ICT and training, and NGO business consulting. They hope to share the current business situation in their six different countries and share bright spots or success stories during these uncertain times. The group also hopes to share their thoughts on innovative ways business can survive and/or pivot in a post COVID-19 world.

These Alumni exemplify what it means to be a Mandela Washington Fellow and what is at the heart of the University of Notre Dame’s teaching: Being a Force for Good in the World. I am proud they are taking the initiative to create this series of talks targeting small business and entrepreneurs. These Fellows are immensely knowledgeable, but also so humble and open to sharing and listening to new ideas.

Many are already registered to listen to the webinar, which will go live this Friday, 15 May 2020 at 10am Central Africa Time Zone (GMT +2). If interested please email Jess directly, Fellows from the Leadership in Business track are especially encouraged to attend.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is a program of the US Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by IREX. For more information about the Mandela Washington Fellowship, visit

Jennifer Krauser is a Program Manager within the Pulte Institute for Global Development’s Entrepreneurship and Education Division. In this role, she supports logistics, planning of training programs, proposal development, and reporting. She has been working with the Mandela Washington Fellowship since it first came to Notre Dame in 2014.