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HackCville Announces New Fellowship to Help UVA Entrepreneurs

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HackCville announced a new fellowship on March 21 HackCville announced a new fellowship on March 21
A group of students created the company Shakti, which sells "palazzos" A group of students created the company Shakti, which sells "palazzos"
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

A Charlottesville business is making it a little easier for students to pursue careers in technology.

On Wednesday, March 21, HackCville, which helps students develop skills and network with others, announced a new fellowship that will help University of Virginia graduates who are trying to start their own business.

The group says it had many graduate students unsure of how they wanted to take their next step in their careers, and that's why it unveiled another way it’s moving students forward.

It’s called HackCville's Elliewood Fellowship.

“We sell 'palazzos,'” says Shafat Khan, an Elliewood Fellowship student and Shakti apparel creator. “'Palazzos' are essentially flowy, Indian-style pants.”

The fellowship will help mentor people like Khan, a fourth-year UVA student who helped create an apparel brand to fund women's education in India with three other students.

“We partner with women who are in stitching centers in villages of India, and act as a market expansion from the stitching center to the U.S. market,” says Khan.

The brand is called Shakti, a Hindi word that means “strength.”

“Our main goal was to kind of go back to India this past winter break, come back with 400 more products, and we did that successfully and now we are selling more pants,” says Khan.

Khan is originally from Bangladesh. He wants to use the fellowship as a tool to encourage other students from abroad.

“Even if you're an international student, you can still go do whatever you’re passionate about,” says Khan. “So the fellowship in general is giving me so much mentorship in terms of the folks we get to meet.”

On Wednesday, HackCville announced the new fellowship at the Common House in Charlottesville. It's hoping to encourage students to stay local rather than moving to bigger cities by providing them with training and financial support.

“Whether it be students loans, or a lack of camaraderie or community connections, a lot of them feel like that isn't possible, so we are trying to break down those barriers to make it possible for these students to stay here in Charlottesville and do what they want to do and give back to this community,” says Daniel Willson, director of operations for HackCville.

Eleven fellows are confirmed to participate in the first Elliewood Fellowship starting this May. HackCville is hoping to choose new fellows every year.

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