The 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit will take place in the Netherlands in June, and we are checking in on a visionary exchange alumnus who attended the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2017! As an entrepreneur, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (YALI) alumnus Adulai Bary is “always looking for the next thing to create, or for that next big world to conquer.” However, Adulai’s main goal is to bring victories back to his home country of Guinea-Bissau. He is the founder and CEO of InnovaLab, which is the only institution in the country that is focused on providing training opportunities and small business/startup support programs for entrepreneurs working in social impact sectors like education, agriculture, health care, and infrastructure.
For Adulai, “the fellowship adventure in Reno and Washington, D.C. was … a set of inspirations to boost what we do back home.” After participating in the MWF, he expanded InnovaLab’s activities to include promoting economic development by working with new companies and contacts. He inspires entrepreneurs to create business plans, collaborate, network, and mentor other creative people. Through Adulai’s leadership, vision, and skilled management, he has successfully hosted technological networking events, hackathons, and the first Africa Science Week held in Guinea-Bissau. Adulai also opened a digital literacy center, which enables his community to improve their communication and technology skills free of charge. Additionally, he developed an online platform to mentor new, up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
In addition to his work with InnovaLab and his community outreach, Adulai is also a sought-after resource in the Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni community in Guinea-Bissau and in the region. He is seen as a role model by his peers and his nation. He currently serves as Guinea-Bissau’s Ambassador to the Next Einstein Forum, an initiative of the African Institute of Science and Mathematics. In 2018, he received a West African Youth Award as one of the 100 Most Influential Young People in West Africa.
Even after all his success, Adulai stays grounded and says that you can’t forget your origins, because “no matter how far you roam or how successful you think you are, forgetting your roots –can – and will – diminish your success.” We congratulate Adulai on being named the March 2019 Exchange Alumni Member of the Month, and we are excited to see the lasting impact he will have on Guinea-Bissau.