- Former Chair & CEO
- Investment Banker
- Stephens Inc.
- National Director
- Founder, Chairman & CEO
About Bridge2Rwanda: Bridge2Rwanda was formed in 2007 to help expand Rwanda’s global network of friends, to encourage foreign direct investment and to create opportunities for Rwandan students to study abroad. A few years later, President Paul Kagame asked B2R to develop a new scholars program to “burst the bottlenecks” that were preventing Rwanda’s best students from competing for international scholarships. The first class of Bridge2Rwanda Scholars was launched in 2011.
Nomination in Brief
With the 1994 genocide as background, Dale Dawson and Bridge2Rwanda (B2R) encourage foreign direct investment and create opportunities for Rwanda’s most promising youth of all faiths and ethnicities. B2R also helps create and grow new businesses including Urwego Opportunity Bank (microfinance), Rwanda Trading Company (coffee), Ikiraro Farm (poultry), Acacia Accounting (services) and Zamura Feed (animal feed mill).
Read Dale Dawson 2018 Nomination form (Word Doc)
Dale Dawson is an investment banker, entrepreneur and founder, Chairman & CEO of Bridge2Rwanda. He serves on the Presidential Advisory Council of Rwanda President Paul Kagame, the board of Halftime Institute and the investment committee of Diamond State Ventures. Since 2002, Dale has helped launch and grow a number of businesses and social enterprises in Rwanda. During his first half, Dale was the Head of Investment Banking at Stephens Inc. (private investment firm); Partner and National Director at KPMG (global accounting firm); and Chairman & CEO of TruckPro (distributor of commercial truck parts, sold to AutoZone). He earned a BBA and MPA at the University of Texas and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Hendrix College. Dale and his wife, Judi, have two grown children and split their time between Little Rock and Kigali.
Dale Dawson and a group of friends formed Bridge2Rwanda (B2R), a U.S. nonprofit, in 2007 by to help accelerate Rwanda’s development and progress. They were specifically encouraged by Rwanda’s leaders to help expand the country’s network of international friends, encourage foreign direct investment and create opportunities for Rwanda’s most promising students to study abroad. Over the last ten years, B2R has recruited hundreds of talented professionals and volunteers to work in Rwanda and hosted thousands of visitors, including investors, tourists, universities, students, corporations, churches, medical professionals, nonprofits and government representatives.B2R has encouraged and helped friends create and grow several new businesses in Rwanda, including Urwego Opportunity Bank (microfinance), Rwanda Trading Company (coffee), Ikiraro Farm (poultry), Acacia Accounting (services), B2R Services (training) and Zamura Feed (animal feed mill).
The B2R Scholars Program was launched in 2011 at the request of the Rwandan government to increase the number of students earning full scholarships to attend international universities outside of Rwanda. Today, B2R is a Certified Kaplan Education Provider and recognized as one of Africa’s best university preparation programs. To date, 175 B2R Scholars have been awarded international scholarships to 76 colleges and universities in eight countries valued at over $42 million. The scholarships are from many elite universities, including all eight Ivy League schools and three U.S. military academies. While most B2R Scholars are from Rwanda, the program now includes students from Burundi, DRC and South Sudan. The long-term impact of the B2R Scholars Program will be fulfilled when the scholars graduate and return to Africa to launch their careers. With their international educations and networks of friends, the B2R Scholars are uniquely equipped to work with foreign investors and to be effective change agents and catalysts for growth across all sectors – private, public and social.
The B2R Scholars Program is open to high school graduates of all faiths or no faith, and the program’s community service projects and business development activities works across individuals and organizations of all faiths. Practically speaking, well over 90% of Rwanda’s population is Christian, with a significant Catholic population and numerous Protestant denominations and independent churches. We have scholars from all of these groups. As it relates working across faith lines, one of the significant goals of the program is to prepare our East African scholars for the challenges of living abroad to study and work with individuals and in communities that are significantly different and more diverse than the communities from which they come. For the Scholars to be successful academically while abroad and to equip them for their long-term role as global African leaders, it is essential that they learn to work with everyone, regardless of religious beliefs, cultural values, nationality, ethnicity and gender. Rwanda aspires to be a global emerging economy — the B2R Scholars are uniquely prepared to serve as leaders, ambassadors and change agents in a new, more diverse and international Rwanda.
- Chuck Bentley
- Crown Financial Ministries