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Introduction to the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship
Applications are now open for the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship 2024 for young African graduates.tle -->
The fellowship, which provides 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 Center 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 business ideas.
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% of the participants said the program was either “very” or “extremely” helpful to further a business venture. 84% of the participants said their businesses had hired at least one youth since the beginning of the program.
It has been stated by Rawlings Grace Ogenyi, the founder of Gro-gel and an alumna of the 2023 program, that being a part of this fellowship has been a turning point in both her entrepreneurial and personal lives. The drive to keep going even when things get difficult is given by young entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing their communities, and they inspire her. The venture has advanced significantly due to the guidance received from coaches and business leaders, whose advice is invaluable since they have personal experience with the entrepreneurial journey.
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.
This fellowship programme is for all African students and recent graduates with a desire to solve pressing problems and bring entrepreneurial ideas to life.
Benefits of the Jim Leech Mastercard Fellowship
- Fellows have a Business Bootcamp delivered by Queen’s University faculty and industry leaders who bring decades of combined entrepreneurship and C-Suite experience
- Fellows have access to the Disciplined Entrepreneurship framework, a proven step-by-step framework for scalable startups developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Fellows are taught pitch coaching and mastery
- A Certificate is awarded for 100% completion of DDQIC’s essential entrepreneurship training modules
- Fellows get to liaise with mentors and speakers leading innovation and entrepreneurship in North America
- Fellows receive access to a Global Network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni
- Fellows get to join a cohort of thousands of like-minded students and recent graduates from across Africa
- Fellows are matched to industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the final phase of the program
- Fellows receive feedback at important startup milestones
- 15 Fellows will receive a stipend of CAD 500
- Fellows get opportunities to pitch for funding in Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Center seed funding competitions
Duration of Fellowship Programme
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 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 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, support, 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.
How to Apply for the Jim Leech Mastercard Fellowship
It is important to go through all application requirements on the official announcement webpage (see Link below) before applying. Note that the application deadline is 4th December 2023. Ready to learn more about the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship and begin your application?