Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship is back with its 2024 edition, presenting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for African students and recent graduates. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking to elevate your game, this fellowship might be the stepping stone you’ve been waiting for.
Designed to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit, this 8-month program is set to refine the skillset of future leaders, aiming to produce individuals who are capable of driving both social and financial impact. Not merely an academic exercise, the fellowship ensures participants are endowed with confidence, resources, knowledge, networking opportunities, and crucially, the financial backing to translate their startup dreams into reality.
Who Should Apply?
If you’re an African student or a recent graduate, fueled by an ambition to address critical issues and breathe life into innovative entrepreneurial ideas, this program is tailored for you. The journey comprises three online courses that cover:
- Fundamentals of entrepreneurship
- Virtual coaching sessions
- Facilitation in business idea development
It’s a progressive structure, with participants needing to showcase their dedication and commitment to move from one course to the next.
Core Benefits: What’s On Offer?
1. Best in Class Training
- Business boot camp steered by the revered faculty of Queen’s University and industry stalwarts amassing decades of entrepreneurial experience.
- Adoption of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework — a methodical approach to scalable startups straight from the corridors of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Expert guidance in pitching and exhaustive live workshops centered around marketing, goal establishment, and talent acquisition.
- Earn micro-credentials in Entrepreneurship awarded by Queen’s University upon successful course completion.
2. Mentorship and Networking Opportunities
- Engage with a galaxy of mentors and speakers at the forefront of North American innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Tap into the vast Global Network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni.
- Be part of a thriving community of ambitious African students and graduates.
- Enjoy being paired with industry experts and seasoned entrepreneurs during the program’s concluding phase.
- Receive invaluable feedback during critical startup phases.
3. Financial Backing & Opportunities
- A select group of 60 exemplary fellows will be rewarded with a stipend of CAD 500 during the final phase.
- The chance to pitch for prizes amounting to CAD 15,000 in the concluding pitch competition.
- Opportunities to journey to the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre, fortifying connections that can potentially transform your business aspirations.
4. Commitment to Inclusivity
The fellowship prides itself on its dedication to inclusivity, continuously innovating to ensure the program is accessible to the widest possible audience.
Students and recent graduates from any African academic institution across all disciplines can apply. Whether you’re nurturing a budding business or are on the verge of kickstarting a new venture, this fellowship can assist.
The content is delivered virtually, allowing flexibility in pacing, yet a commitment of at least 10 hours per week is expected for a fruitful experience. Participants need to submit assignments online, adhering to stringent deadlines regularly. Furthermore, while the program’s primary language is English, provisions have been made to accommodate non-English speaking participants, ensuring no one is left behind.
Applications close on December 4, 2023, at midnight (local time).
- Phase 1 – Explore Entrepreneurship: January 2024 – February 2024
- Phase 2 – Ignite Entrepreneurship: March 2024 – April 2024
- Phase 3 – Launch Entrepreneurship: May 2024 – August 2024
All the best in your pursuit!