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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Fall 2018 - Dividend

Strengthening Partnerships in Africa

in Support of Global Entrepreneurship
map of Africa highlighting Tanzania
Tanzania is located on the eastern coast of Africa

To continue building meaningful global partnerships that help entrepreneurial students attain the global mindset, networks, and cultural fluency that corporate leaders value, representatives from the Carson College of Business traveled to Arusha, Tanzania, in January 2018 to meet with leaders at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST).

Chip Hunter, Carson College dean, and Marie Mayes, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, were invited to serve as judges for NM-AIST’s African Grand Challenge. The competition brought together teams from around sub-Saharan African countries to inspire innovation that significantly addresses major health problems in Africa.

During the trip, the duo also toured two secondary education schools that have close ties to NM-AIST
through the institute’s School of Business Studies and Humanities (BuSH), which seeks to “accommodate, enable,
stimulate, catalyze, and harness the innovativeness and entrepreneurial qualities inherent in the young generation.”

According to Mayes, these site tours help WSU partners gain a broader view of the many different partnerships in Africa and provide additional insights into ways the Carson College and Center for Entrepreneurship can support those relationships.

Building Global Partnerships

WSU began its partnership with NM-AIST in 2013. In that time, WSU’s scientific research in Africa has focused largely on global health. Through this larger University partnership, the Carson College began working with NM-AIST students to provide entrepreneurship education to complement their graduate studies in science and technology, according to Hunter.

“WSU aims to build partnerships with other universities across the world to do interesting work,” he says. “Our partnership with NM-AIST supports the University’s mission as a land-grant institution—in areas such as agriculture and global animal health, through local and global engagement—to improve quality of life.”

NM-AIST students apply entrepreneurial concepts
NM-AIST students apply entrepreneurial concepts to graduate research.

Center for Entrepreneurship plays a major role in supporting that partnership as well. “Working with the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology is important from an international development support role,” says Mayes. “WSU and Center for Entrepreneurship are focused on sustainable international development, and empowering NM-AIST students to be entrepreneurs is the best way to achieve that.”

Cultivating The Entrepreneurial Mindset

In June, the Carson College launched the WSU Entrepreneurship Skills and Knowledge Accelerator (WESKA), a week-long program designed for WSU graduate students and postdoctoral associates interested in learning more about entrepreneurship.

The WESKA program allows the college to provide education and resources to graduate students outside of business who are interested in starting new business ventures.

As part of the inaugural WESKA program, the Carson College and Center for Entrepreneurship invited a student team from NM-AIST to attend and work alongside WSU graduate students and postdoctoral associates and learn from WSU faculty in the areas of strategic entrepreneurship, finance, management, and marketing, as well as campus community members and alumni who are experts in start-ups.

“When we can take science and technology students, or students from any other major, and combine that with entrepreneurship education and an entrepreneurial mindset, it’s a really powerful thing,” says Mayes. “It allows students to move their ideas toward impact and apply them in practical and meaningful ways in their own country.”

Supporting WSU’s Global Efforts

The Carson College’s efforts in Africa support WSU’s strategic goals in the area of exceptional research, innovation, and creativity with WSU looking to advance its reach both nationally and internationally.

“It’s a great way to help put both institutions on the map in a way that neither could do by themselves. Washington State University is doing some really cool research in Tanzania,” says Hunter. “When you think about WSU and the Drive to 25 initiative, having the kind of profile where we have a partnership with an excellent research institute in Tanzania: that’s the kind of thing top 25 schools do.”


The Carson College establishes a cooperation with THE NELSON MANDELA AFRICAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (NM-AIST) to teach business and entrepreneurship courses and advise NM-AIST on launching its own business plan competition.