Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship For young African. (2023)
For African students and recent graduates who want to solve pressing problems and bring entrepreneurial ideas to life.
The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship gives African students and recent graduates the opportunity to access training, resources, financial support and a network of mentors to develop their entrepreneurial skills and start building their own venture. The 8-month program develops the exceptional entrepreneurial skillset and mindset of leaders to drive social and financial impact.
Having gone through the program, I feel highly polished as an entrepreneur and more confident in my skills and ability to build a successful enterprise and navigate the adversities that come with that.
Joan Bayega, Co-founder of DMB Translation Services, 2022 Fellow
We provide participants who demonstrate a willingness to learn, take risks, and commit themselves fully with the best that our innovation centre has to offer.
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
Live workshops on marketing, goal setting, and recruiting are held throughout the program
Opportunity to earn micro-credentials on Entrepreneurship awarded by Queen's University for successful completion the courses
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
Our Mentors include:
Christine Kamala, founder of Christie's Crisp
Kora Sabi Janvier, founder of Allo Veto
Oluwasegun Oluwaleti, founder of Water Boy
Duncan Asamoah, founder of Mr. Neat Company
and many others
Up to 60 Fellows will be selected in the final phase to receive a stipend of $500 CAD
Opportunities to pitch for prizes of up to $15,000 CAD in the pitch competition at the end of the program
Opportunities to travel to the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre to build lasting connections that will help your further your business venture
We believe we do our best work when we tackle problems from diverse perspectives.
We are committed to eliminating barriers to entrepreneurship and making the program inclusive to as many people as possible. We are constantly iterating and improving the courses in response to user needs.
In 2020-2022, 60% of the cohort identified as women, and we strongly encourage women to apply to the program as we recognize the additional barriers women face when accessing employment or venturing into entrepreneurship.
In 2021-2022, the courses were adapted to be accessible by those with limited internet access, from downloading content to language support for French speaking students
All Queen's University badges earned in the course are free of cost and all badges and certificates are available online so that students can retrieve them anywhere, at any time, and easily share the details of their achievements. The certificates and badges have a unique ID that will be kept as a permanent record using Blockchain technology.
Each participant receives direct access to a program coach to provide support and a group of over 15 mentors in the completion of the course.
Although intensive, the program is brilliantly structured to help busy entrepreneurs successfully go through the rigorous training schedule. One of the most beneficial elements of the program is access to a network of experienced coaches and mentors we can rely on for practical advice relating to our enterprises.
Victor Boafo, Founder of EntoFarms, 2022 Fellow
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology
Who We're Looking For
We accept students and recent graduates from all academic disciplines, and from any African post-secondary institution. Whether you are already working on a business or you are looking to start something new, we can help you.
We are looking for participants who are committed to developing their entrepreneurial mindset and taking advantage of the resources provided to develop their own enterprise. The program is delivered virtually and can be completed at any pace, however the most committed participants will commit at least 10 hours per week. In order to progress through the program phases, participants will submit assignments online, adhering to strict deadlines.
The program content is delivered in English. Mentorship may be offered in English and French. Assignments and pitches must be completed in English. Prospective fellows who are unable to speak or write English are still encouraged to apply and form teams with someone who can fulfill all the requirements of the program in English. Prospective fellows may also work with their local university to come up with a strategy to make sure they are able to access university resources that will help them navigate the challenge related to language ability.