2023 Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for young African students & recent graduates.


Application Deadline: December 4, 2022.

The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship in 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 businesses . The 8-month program develops exceptional entrepreneurial skills and thought leaders to drive social and financial impact.


  • the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship accepts students and recent graduates from all academic disciplines, and from any post-secondary institution in Africa. Whether you are already working in a business or you are looking to start a new one, we can help you.
  • The Fellowship is looking for participants who are committed to developing their entrepreneurial mindset and taking advantage of the resources provided to develop their own business. The program is delivered virtually and can be completed at any pace, although the most committed participants commit to at least 10 hours per week. To progress through the phases of the program, participants submit assignments online, adhering to strict deadlines.
  • The content of the program is provided in English. Mentorship can be offered in English and French.
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Program Benefits

Best in class Training

  • 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.
  • Teaching pitch and mastery
  • Live workshops on marketing, goal setting, and recruiting are held throughout the program
  • Opportunity to earn micro-credentials in Entrepreneurship awarded by Queen’s University for successful completion of courses

Mentorship and Networking

  • Connect with educators and speakers who are leading innovation and entrepreneurship in North America
  • Access to a Global Network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni
  • Join a group of thousands of like-minded students and recent graduates from across Africa
  • Fellows are matched with industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the final phase of the program
  • Receive feedback on key startup milestones

Financial Support

  • Up to 60 Fellows will be selected in the final round 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 Center to make lasting connections that will help you move your business forward.
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Program Timeline

Phase 1: Exploration (January-February)

1000+ unique candidates will 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 a few months to demonstrate their commitment to the entrepreneurial process by completing training and developing their ideas.

Phase 2: Ignite (March-April)

The 180+ finalists with exceptional commitment to the entrepreneurial process, who can exceed the milestones outlined in phase one will be selected to participate in 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 in the framework of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship workbook. At the end of this phase, the participants will pitch their ideas, compete for the fellowship, and the most advanced and promising business ideas will be the finalists who will receive the fellowship.

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Phase 3: Launch and Engagement (May-August)

Up to 60 Fellows will be selected to participate in DDQIC’s summer incubation program. During this phase, Fellows 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. Fellows will have the opportunity to compete in a pitch competition for additional seed funding at the end of the program.

Graduation (August)

The 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 the DDQIC network.

High-performing Fellows will be invited to participate as ambassadors and mentors for future Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowships as well.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the 2023 Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship Program


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