Call For Applications: Jim Leech MasterCard Foundation Fellowship On Entrepreneurship for Africans ( up to $15,000 CAD)

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The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship offers African college students and recent graduates a chance to tackle pressing challenges and bring their creative concepts to life.

This fellowship empowers African students and recent graduates with essential training, valuable resources, financial assistance, and a network of mentors to nurture their entrepreneurial talents and kickstart their own business endeavors. Over the course of eight months, the program hones the exceptional entrepreneurial capabilities and mindset of these individuals, equipping them to lead initiatives that generate both social and financial benefits.

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Eligibility Criteria

● Applications are open to enrolled students and recent graduates hailing from diverse academic backgrounds and post-secondary institutions across Africa. Whether you’re already engaged in a business venture or aspiring to launch a new one, their support is available to you.

● They are in search of individuals who are committed to nurturing an entrepreneurial mindset and leveraging available tools to kickstart their own enterprises. Since the program is available online, participants have the flexibility to complete it at their own pace, but it is encouraged that dedicated students invest a minimum of 10 hours per week.

● Participants must ensure the timely submission of their assignments online to progress through the various program stages.

● All program materials are presented in English, although mentorship in both English and French may be accessible. It is required that pitch documents and assignments be written in English. Applicants with limited English proficiency are still encouraged to apply and collaborate with team members who can fulfill all program requirements in English.

● Prospective fellows may also explore partnerships with their local institutions to devise strategies for accessing university resources that can assist in overcoming language barriers.

Mastercard Foundation Advantages

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Training

● Mastercard Foundation Education : We provide access to our state-of-the-art innovation hub for those eager to learn, take risks, and give their best effort. The business boot camp is led by Queen’s University educators and accomplished business leaders with extensive experience in entrepreneurship and senior leadership roles. The Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offers a tried-and-true, step-by-step approach for building scalable startups.

● Guidance and Mastering Pitching Throughout the program’s duration, live sessions covering topics such as recruitment, goal setting, and marketing are conducted. Participants have the opportunity to earn micro-credentials in entrepreneurship from Queen’s University upon successful completion of the courses.

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Building Connections

● Connect with mentors and speakers who are at the forefront of entrepreneurship and innovation in North America.

● Gain entry into Queen’s Global Entrepreneurial Alumni Network.

● Become part of a vast community of like-minded African graduates and students numbering in the tens of thousands.

● During the program’s concluding phase, fellows are matched with experienced business owners and industry leaders.

● Receive valuable insights at crucial early-stage milestones.

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Financial Benefits

● The last phase will select a maximum of 60 Fellows, with each receiving a stipend of $500 Canadian dollars.

● Opportunities to participate in the concluding pitch competition, with a chance to win prizes valued at up to $15,000 CAD.

● Opportunities to visit the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre and establish enduring connections that will foster the advancement of your business.

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Inclusiveness

We believe that approaching challenges from diverse perspectives enhances our problem-solving capabilities. Our commitment is to remove barriers to entrepreneurship and continuously enhance the program’s inclusivity in response to user feedback. Some examples include:

  • We strongly encourage women to apply to the program, recognizing the unique challenges they often face when seeking employment or starting their own businesses (with women making up 60 percent of the 2020–2022 cohort).
  • In 2021–2022, we made course adjustments, such as enabling material downloads and offering language support for French-speaking students, to ensure accessibility for individuals with limited internet connectivity. All certifications and Queen’s University badges earned during the course are provided at no cost and accessible online for easy sharing of achievements.
  • Leveraging Blockchain technology, we’ll maintain a permanent record of each certificate and badge’s unique IDs.
  • Each participant is paired with a program coach for support throughout the course and has access to a network of over 15 mentors.

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Application Deadline: December 4th, 2023.

Ready to apply?

Click HERE to Apply

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