Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship

Posted on November 09, 2021


Dear University of Pretoria students,

Through a collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and Queen’s University, the two organisations have created the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students. The Dunin-Despande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) is Canada's premiere university entrepreneurship & innovation centre. This is an exciting opportunity available to students currently pursuing their studies at the University of Pretoria and are interested in entrepreneurship.

Below, find more information on the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship:

  • The Fellowship will be offered to at least 15 Fellows with 15 outstanding business ideas. They will benefit from the online version of DDQIC’s (https://www.queensu.ca/innovationcentre/jim-leech-fellowship). This is an eight-month accelerator program that provides:
  • Access to the Discipline Entrepreneurship Toolbox for five months. This is an online entrepreneurship training program with 24 steps developed by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
  • Access to an incubation support for three months. The Fellows will be on boarded into a company creation process with access to mentorship and coaching from DDQIC’s network. They will compete to win seed funding grants from DDQIC’s network of investors.

 • The recruitment process has been designed to be practical and to democratize entrepreneurship among the student community from participating universities. It will provide an opportunity for the best students

 – From the performance-based online training programs

 – To not only validate ideas and assumptions they have around the business ventures they are working on, but also to qualify for the Fellowship. It will be a competitive process involving three levels:

Program Timeline:

Phase 1: Explore – December 2021-February 2022

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 – February-April 2022

30 finalists with an outstanding commitment to the entrepreneurship process, who will 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 additional 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 2022

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 start-ups. 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 2022

Start-up entrepreneurs (Fellows) will complete their incubation program at the end of August. After graduation, Fellows will continue to receive post-incubation services, supports, 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.

The closing date for the 2022 Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship is the 30th of November 2021.

We, at Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of Pretoria wish you all the best.





- Author Rethabile Mabaso

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