Legatum Center at MIT Foundry Fellowship 2023 for African Founders

Applications are now open for the Legatum Center at MIT Foundry Fellowship 2023 for African Founders

Application Deadline: 7th July 2023

About the Award: The Legatum Center at MIT presents the Foundry Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind leadership program for Africa-based founders who have scaled innovation-driven companies and find themselves at an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journey. The Foundry is a place where Fellows reflect on their entrepreneurial journey, rethink their future leadership roles as entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders, and renew their commitment to building entrepreneurship and innovation-led ecosystems. 

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The Foundry Fellowship will bring together leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to bringing about change through entrepreneurship and are ready to build the leadership skills to carry them into the next phase of their entrepreneurial journey. 

The Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs from Africa who have founded and scaled for-profit innovation-driven companies on the African continent, with a preference for entrepreneurs operating in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda.

Type: Entrepreneurship

Eligibility: The inaugural cohort will include 15 entrepreneurs from Africa. Fellows will be identified through a selective application and nomination process.

Candidates should have a demonstrated history of impact, commitment, and concrete connection to the region and have already achieved considerable success with their ventures. 

The fellowship is open to Africa-based founders who have: 1) founded and scaled a for-profit, innovation-driven company, AND 2) who are now at an inflection point and are preparing to transition into leadership in one of the following ways:   

  1. By transitioning from running your innovation-driven enterprise to taking on a new leadership role within the ecosystem; for example, you may be launching a venture capital fund, starting an accelerator, or pursuing a path in policymaking;  
  2. By founding a venture or support organization that will specifically help build innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems across Africa;  
  3. By expanding your innovation-driven enterprise across the continent, and through that expansion, focus on ecosystem development to reach your growth goals. 

*Innovation-driven companies are based on a technology or process innovation that allows them to scale across regional and global markets. 

Applicants should be aware of the fellowship requirements, including:  

As a Foundry Fellow, your commitment to your personal objectives, your cohort, and the next generation of innovation-driven entrepreneurs across Africa is essential to your success. The Legatum Center asks that you commit to:  

  1. Confirming your English language ability: The Foundry Fellowship programming is delivered in English; all fellows should feel comfortable communicating complex ideas in writing, and verbally, in English. 
  2. Attending all Foundry Fellowship online sessions and in-person meetings. Note that the fellowship covers most costs associated with ecosystem tours, including hotels, group meals, group transport, etc.; however, fellows are responsible for their own flights to and from ecosystem tours as well as certain travel-related expenses.  
  3. Participating in all sessions intending to give your full attention to the discussion and topic.  
  4. Presenting the next step you will take after completing the Foundry Fellowship program at the conclusion of the six-month immersion. 

Eligible Countries: African countries

Number of Awards: 10

Duration & Value of Award: The Foundry Fellowship is a fully-funded six-month program.

Fellows will complete an interactive curriculum designed to:

  • Increase their leadership acumen; 
  • Explore pathways to impact as entrepreneurs, policymakers, thought leaders, and investors;
  • Exchange practical knowledge with MIT faculty and students; and, 
  • Engage in multi-stakeholder networking opportunities in the MIT ecosystem.

The learning journey will culminate in a three-week in-person immersive program in which Fellows will have the opportunity to engage with MIT faculty, investors, thought leaders, and policy influencers. This immersive experience will give Fellows insight into how to design cutting-edge programs, implement practices, and create policies that are transferable to their markets. Fellows will also have the opportunity to showcase their ventures and lessons in innovation with MIT faculty, staff, and students.

How to Apply:

  1. Complete the online application here.
  2. Record and upload your 2-min video 
  3. Sign the application 
  4. Ensure that your two letters of recommendation have been submitted before the application deadline of July 7, 2023

Application Submission Date is July 7, 2023 

Applicants may apply here. The submission deadline is July 7, 2023 at 11:59 PM ET. 

Questions may be directed to [email protected]


If you know an Africa-based entrepreneur who is a great fit for the Foundry Fellowship, please nominate them through our form. We will reach out and invite them to complete an application. 

Nominations will be accepted here through June 27, 2023. Nominees will be invited to complete an application. A nomination is not required to apply. 

  • It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.

Visit Award Webpage for Details