Michigan State University Professional Fellows Program 2023

East and Southern African agricultural entrepreneurs, MSU, and external partners connect via the Professional Fellows Program Advancing Young Women Agribusiness Entrepreneurs and Innovators, a program funded by the U.S Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

The Advancing Young Women Agribusiness Entrepreneurs and Innovators Professional Fellows Program is sponsored by the US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by Michigan State University (US), University of Rwanda (Rwanda), University of Pretoria (South Africa), University of Zambia (Zambia) and Chinhoyi University of Technology (Zimbabwe). The goal of the program is to build Fellows’ capacity and skills in agro-entrepreneurship and agri-food system innovation and advance their ability to support women’s economic empowerment. Rwandan, South African, Zambian and Zimbabwean Fellows will develop their leadership capacity and professional skills through a fully funded five-week fellowship program in the U.S.

The US program will include a four-week professional placement with Michigan organizations focused on agriculture, innovation, agro-entrepreneurship, and women’s empowerment and additional seminars and trainings with professionals from Michigan State University and throughout the state of Michigan. In the final week of the program, Fellows will travel to Washington, DC to participate in the Professional Fellows Congress, where they will network with program participants from around the world.

Upon returning home, Fellows will implement a community-based project with support from the program team and select U.S. fellows, chosen from the MI host organizations, who will travel to East and Southern Africa on a reciprocal exchange.

Please note, the in-person, U.S.-based program is contingent upon favorable travel conditions. In the event there are travel restrictions, or others factors which could adversely impact the health, safety and welfare of program participants and hosts, the Professional Fellows Program will pivot the in-person, U.S.-based exchange to virtual programming

Apply to Program

We are recruiting young Rwandan, South African, Zambian, and Zimbabwean professionals from diverse backgrounds in private, public, non-governmental, and education sectors who are either women agribusiness entrepreneurs or individuals working to increase women’s economic engagement in the agricultural sector. View the detailed program information.


Applications for both the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 must be submitted according to the following timeline

Application process opens: January 13, 2023

Application deadline: February 24, 2023 11:59pm EST

Program Dates

Fall 2023: September 2 – October 6, 2023

Spring 2024: May – June, 2024 (Actual dates to be confirmed)

Who Should Apply

  • Women entrepreneurs, social innovators, or small and medium business owners or managers and other leaders working in the agriculture and food sectors
  • Individuals (of any gender) in civil society and NGOs working on programs that support women in the agriculture and food sectors in their respective countries
  • Policymakers, ministry employees, and others in the public sector (of any gender) focused on supporting and improving opportunities for women in the agriculture or food sector
  • Academic staff (of any gender) who are implementing programs to impact advancing women in the agriculture and food sectors