Applications are open for Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship 2024 for young African graduates.
Application Deadline: 4th December 2023
About the Award: Free virtual entrepreneurship training and an opportunity to receive startup funding is available to more than 1,000 aspiring entrepreneurs through the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students at Queen’s University.
The program is delivered by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre at Queen’s University. Participants receive access to a curated list of virtual entrepreneurship courses, one-on-one coaching, and mentorship as they develop and launch their own business idea.
The outcomes of the program are to develop the entrepreneurial mindset of participants and create new job possibilities for African post-secondary graduates. In the 2023 post-program survey, 100 percent of the participants said the program was either “very” or “extremely” helpful to further a business venture. 84 percent of the participants said their business had hired at least one youth since the beginning of the program.
“Being part of this fellowship has been a turning point in both my entrepreneurial and personal life,” said Rawlings Grace Ogenyi, Founder of Gro-gel and 2023 Program Alumnus. “I’ve been inspired by fellow young entrepreneurs passionate about transforming their communities, which motivates me to persist despite setbacks. The mentorship from coaches and industry experts has driven significant progress in my venture. Their advice is invaluable as they understand the entrepreneurial journey firsthand.”
Around 70 Fellows are selected each year to attend the program’s final phase from May to August. Fellows receive a stipend of CAD $500 and the opportunity to pitch for more seed funding. To date, Fellows in the program have been awarded more than CAD $180,000.
The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship gives you the confidence, resources, knowledge, network, and financial support to build a startup with an impact.
For African students and recent grads with a desire to solve pressing problems and bring entrepreneurial ideas to life.
The proven winning formula:
- Combine students and recent grads with a willingness to learn, take risks, and commit themselves fully
- with best-in-class entrepreneurship training from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.
- The result? Leaders with the exceptional entrepreneurial skillset and mindset to drive social and financial impact.
Eligibility: For African students and recent grads with a desire to solve pressing problems and bring entrepreneurial ideas to life.
Eligible Countries: African countries
To be Taken at (Country): Online
Number of Awards: Numerous
Value of Jim Leech Mastercard Fellowship:
- Business bootcamp delivered by Queen’s University faculty and industry leaders who bring decades of combined entrepreneurship and C-Suite experience
- The Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, a proven step-by-step framework for scalable startups developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Pitch coaching and mastery
- Certificate awarded for 100% completion of DDQIC’s essential entrepreneurship training modules
Global Visibility and Network:
- Liaise with mentors and speakers leading innovation and entrepreneurship in North America
- Access a Global Network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni
- Join a cohort of thousands of like-minded students and recent grads from across Africa
- Fellows are matched to industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the final phase of the program
- Receive feedback at important startup milestones
- 15 Fellows will receive a stipend of $500 CAD
- Opportunities to pitch for funding in Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre seed funding competitions
Duration of Award:
Phase 1: Explore – Jan -February 2024
1000 exceptional candidates receive access to a curated list of online entrepreneurship courses and work through the first 11 steps of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework workbook. Candidates have several months to demonstrate their commitment to the entrepreneurial process by completing the training and progressing on their ideas’ respective milestones.
Phase 2: Ignite – March-April 2024
30 finalists with an outstanding commitment to the entrepreneurship process, who will have excelled at the milestones set out in phase one will be selected to join this phase. Under this phase, they will continue to go through an additional curated list of additional online entrepreneurship courses and work through the remaining steps of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework’s workbook. At the end of this phase, the participants will pitch their ideas, competing for the fellowship, and the most advanced and promising business ideas will become the finalists who receive the fellowship.
Phase 3: Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship – May-August 2024
15 Fellows will be selected to join DDQIC’s summer incubation program. During this phase, Fellows will get the opportunity to work on their ideas, access seed funding, and participate in weekly 3-2-1 pitch presentations about the work they are doing as they transform their ideas into scalable startups. In addition, Fellows will receive a $500 stipend and dedicated coaches and mentors from DDQIC’s Global Network of industry experts and entrepreneurs.
Graduation – August 2024
Startup entrepreneurs (Fellows) will complete their incubation program at the end of August. After graduation, Fellows will continue to receive post-incubation services, supports, and pitch competition opportunities as part of DDQIC’s network. Fellows will be invited to participate as ambassadors and mentors for future Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowships as well.
- It is important to go through all application requirements in the Award Webpage (see Link below) before applying.