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


Application deadline: December 4, 2022.

The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship for Entrepreneurship offers African students and recent graduates the opportunity to access training, resources, financial support and a network of mentors to develop their entrepreneurial skills and build their own business. The 8-month program develops the exceptional entrepreneurial skills and mindset of leaders to make a social and financial impact.


  • That Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship accepts undergraduates and graduates from all academic disciplines and all African post-secondary institutions. Whether you’re already working in a business or looking to start something new, we can help.
  • The Fellowship is looking for participants who are committed to developing their entrepreneurial mindset and using the resources provided to develop their own business. The program is conducted virtually and can be completed at any pace, however the most dedicated participants will invest at least 10 hours per week. To progress through the program stages, participants submit assignments online while adhering to strict deadlines.
  • The program content will be delivered in English. Mentoring can be offered in English and French.

Program Benefits

Best in class training

  • Business bootcamp conducted by Queen’s University faculty and industry leaders who bring decades of 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 championship
  • Live workshops on marketing, goal setting and recruiting will be held throughout the program
  • Opportunity to acquire entrepreneurship micro-credentials awarded by Queen’s University for successful completion of the courses

mentoring and networking

  • Work with mentors and speakers who are leaders in North America for innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Access a global network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni
  • Join a cohort of thousands of like-minded students and graduates from across Africa
  • In the final phase of the program, the Fellows are matched with industry leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Get feedback on key startup milestones

Financial support

  • In the final phase, up to 60 fellows will be selected to receive a CAD$500 stipend
  • Opportunities to pitch in the pitch contest at the end of the program for prizes up to $15,000 CAD
  • Opportunities to travel to Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Center to build lasting connections that will help drive your business forward

program timeline

Phase 1: Explore (January-February)

More than 1000 exceptional candidates gain access to a curated list of online entrepreneurship courses and complete 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 meeting the respective milestones of their ideas.

Stage 2: Ignite (March-April)

Over 180 finalists with an outstanding commitment to the entrepreneurship process who have excelled at the milestones set in Phase 1 will be selected to participate in this phase. In this phase, they will continue to complete an additional curated list of additional online entrepreneurship courses and complete the remaining steps of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Framework workbook. At the end of this stage, participants present their ideas and compete for the grant, and the most advanced and promising business ideas become the finalists, who receive the grant.

Phase 3: Start and Fellowship (May-August)

Up to 60 Fellows will be selected to participate in the DDQIC Summer Incubation Program. During this phase, Fellows are given the opportunity to work on their ideas, access seed funding, and participate in weekly 3-2-1 pitch presentations about their work while turning their ideas into scalable startups. In addition, Fellows will receive a $500 stipend, as well as dedicated coaches and mentors from DDQIC’s global network of industry professionals and entrepreneurs. At the end of the program, the fellows have the opportunity to apply for more seed funding in a pitch competition.

Graduation (August)

Startup entrepreneurs (fellows) will complete their incubation program at the end of August. After graduation, Fellows continue to receive post-incubation services, support, and pitch competition opportunities as part of the DDQIC network.

High-performing Fellows are invited to also participate as ambassadors and mentors for future Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation grants.

For more informations:

Visit the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation 2023 Scholarship Program official website

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