Opportunity to Obtain a Start-Up to be an Entrepreneur
The Mastercard Foundation, Toronto Canada in PARTNERSHIP with Queen’s University, Canada offer young students and alumni to apply the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students.
Application for the Fellowship opens on 2nd November 2020. Be on the lookout for the application form.
This would be a competitive process involving three levels:
- Level 1: Approximately 1,000 students will be recruited in partnership with the Scholars Program Network. These students will go through the online Disciplined Entrepreneurship training, unlocking 11 steps/topics such as understanding customers and markets. This will be for a period of two months.
- Level 2: Out of the 1,000 students, a minimum of 30 students with 30 promising business ideas will be selected to continue with the online training offering 12 topics, such as designing products and scaling businesses. This will be for a period of 2-3 months.
- Level 3: Out of the 30 business ideas, the 15 most promising ones, as selected through a pitch competition, will receive the full Fellowship.
Further Information About the Fellowship
This Fellowship program is based at the Dunin-Despande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC).
- 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 “QyourVenture”. 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 onboarded 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.
After the eight-month Fellowship program, the Fellows will continue to have access to the DDQIC’s network. Where appropriate, they will be linked to local resources that will help accelerate the growth of their ventures.
Queen’s University and Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre Background
- The Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) is a pan-university initiative at Queen’s University, established in 2012. It is led by Queen’s University’s award-winning faculty with some of the world’s best innovators, policy makers, and legal and business strategists.
- DDQIC provides Fellows with a structured approach – Explore, Ignite and Launch – and aims to turn their idea, technology, or inspiration into a venture.
- Drawing on the DDQIC experience, running synchronous and asynchronous entrepreneurship training for aspiring entrepreneurs and social innovators, the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship program will present the opportunity for founders to unlock resources and training as they demonstrate commitment to the program.
- DDQIC supports innovations of students, professors, entrepreneurs and community members through incubators, accelerators, joint courses, workshops, internship opportunities, seminar series, conferences, and business plan competitions.
- The program emphasizes the value of team diversity in innovative and entrepreneurial endeavors.
- In the past, DDQIC has supported international early stage founders through a virtual program, including African countries such as Rwanda, Cameroon, Uganda, Nigeria, among others, and Mastercard Foundation Scholars.
The Fellows will have access to:
- The Disciplined Entrepreneurship, which is a proven framework for start-ups to bring innovative ideas/products to market more efficiently.
- DDQIC team’s mentorship and networks.
- Participation on DDQIC’s platform with dedicated mentors and administrators.
- Live in-class sessions with professors and experts. It also has some self-paced components where Fellows can access the services and content at a time that is convenient for them.
- Virtual participation in funding pitches, workshops, and speaker events.
- Each Fellow will receive a $500 stipend. These stipends and technology guidance are intended to ensure they have access to digital devices as well as safe and secure internet access.
Candidates profile and criteria of selection:
- 70 percent of the Fellows will be young women.
- Countries: all countries in Africa.
- There will be no quota/target number of youth recruited per university. Students/Fellows will be recruited from current 11 university partners based on students’ competencies, potential, motivation, and business ideas. Ideal candidate would be/have:
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Idea stage or pre-idea for a potentially scalable business
- Bias for action
- Coachable & adaptable
- Sense of agency
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