Bridge2Rwanda was formed in 2007 by Dale Dawson, and is a multifaceted organization traversing education, finance, and entrepreneurship while fostering relationships in Rwanda and abroad. It includes a dense interconnected network of relationships comprising individuals, churches, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and colleges all working together for the betterment of Rwanda. “If anything,” says Dale, “I’ve become increasingly convinced that the most transformational thing we can do for Rwandans is to get foreign investors coming into these countries, building businesses, and training the young people.”
The program’s most successful initiative has been taking the best and brightest Rwandan high school students and providing them the opportunity to get full scholarships from United States and European universities. The program works with the students in an intense one-year program to improve their English and prepare them for college admittance exams. Although students enter the program with no guarantees, to date, every Bridge2Rwanda, also known as B2R, scholar has been rewarded a full scholarship to high quality universities. Best of all, these students enter this program vowing to return to Rwanda after their studies to launch their careers and play a meaningful role in the growth and positive transformation of their country.
Dale Dawson, who spent most of his career leading the investment banking division at Stephens, Inc., has served on Founders Board of Advisors since 2013. The relationship between Founders, Dale and B2R has grown over the years, with Founders first providing monetary support and organizing trips to expose American business people to the work of B2R and the country of Rwanda. Founders, now more familiar with both the mission and success of B2R, continues to increase support. Founders Managing Partner, Duane Donner, joined the Bridge2Rwanda Board of Directors and the Founders team has committed to mentoring a B2R graduate, Patrick Rukundo, in a one year analyst program. As part of the second B2R class, Patrick received a full scholarship to the University of West Virginia and just recently graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. Patrick is interested in returning to Rwanda to help B2R start new businesses and foster entrepreneurship among other B2R scholars who are graduating and returning home. Founders is helping Patrick better understand how to start and run a successful business by giving him practical experience with market analysis, financial analysis, valuation analysis and operations.
“We are really impressed with the work B2R is doing in Rwanda, like Dale, we believe that increased economy and entrepreneurship in Rwanda can play a large part in lifting Rwandan families out of poverty and become a shining light and model for Eastern Africa the rest of the continent,” says Duane Donner, Founders’ Managing Partner. “I am honored to serve on the Bridge to Rwanda Board and we are excited to be able to train and mentor Patrick.”
If you are interested learning more about B2R and traveling to Rwanda to see first-hand the impact of creating good paying jobs for Rwandan families with well thought out and sustainable business start-ups, please reach out to Duane Donner for more information.
About Founders Investment Banking
Founders Investment Banking (Founders) is a merger, acquisition & strategic advisory firm serving middle-market companies. Founders’ focus is on oil and gas, SaaS/software, industrials, internet, digital media and industrial technology companies located nationwide, as well as companies based in the Southeast across a variety of industries. Founders’ skilled professionals, proven expertise and process-based solutions help companies access growth capital, make acquisitions, and/or prepare for and execute liquidity events to achieve specific financial goals. In order to provide securities-related services discussed herein, certain principals of Founders are licensed with M & A Securities Group, Inc. or Founders M&A Advisory, LLC, both members of member FINRA & SiPC. M&A Securities Group and Founders are unaffiliated entities. Founders M&A Advisory is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Founders. For more information, visit www.foundersib.com.