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


Application deadline: December 4, 2022.

Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship for Entrepreneurship provides African students and recent graduates with access to training, resources, financial support and a network of mentors to develop their entrepreneurial skills and start building their businesses. The 8-month program develops exceptional business skills and a leadership mindset to drive social and financial impact.


  • The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship accepts students and recent graduates from all academic disciplines and from any post-secondary institution in Africa. Whether you are already working on a business or want to start something new, we can help you.
  • The scholarship is looking for participants who are committed to developing their entrepreneurial mindset and using the resources provided to develop their business. The program is delivered virtually and can be completed at any pace, however the most active participants will commit at least 10 hours per week. Participants will submit assignments online within strict deadlines to proceed through the program stages.
  • Program content is delivered in English. Mentoring can be offered in English and French.
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Benefits of the program

Best in class training

  • Business Boot Camp is delivered by Queen’s University faculty and industry leaders who bring together decades of combined business 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
  • The program features live workshops on marketing, goal setting and recruiting
  • Opportunity to earn a business microcredit awarded by Queen’s University for successful course completion

Mentoring and networking

  • Connect with mentors and speakers who are driving innovation and entrepreneurship in North America
  • Access the global network of Queen’s business alumni
  • Join a group of thousands of like-minded students and recent graduates from across Africa
  • In the final phase of the program, fellows are matched with industry leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Get feedback on important startup milestones

Financial support

  • In the final round, up to 60 fellows will be selected to receive a $500 CAD scholarship.
  • At the end of the program, there is an opportunity to enter a competition for prizes of up to $15,000 CAD
  • Opportunities to travel to the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Center to make lasting connections that will help your business continue
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Program timeline

Phase 1: Exploration (January-February)

Over 1,000 exceptional candidates receive access to a curated list of online business 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 training and progressing their ideas to relevant milestones.

Phase 2: Ignition (March-April)

More than 180 finalists with outstanding commitment to the entrepreneurial process, who will have excelled in achieving the milestones identified in the first phase, will be selected to join this phase. During this phase, they will continue to review the list of additional online entrepreneurship courses and complete the remaining steps in the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Framework workbook. At the end of this phase, participants will present their ideas in competition for a grant, and the most advanced and promising business ideas will become the finalists who will receive the grant.

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Phase 3: Initiation and Fellowship (May–August)

Up to 60 fellows will be selected to join the DDQIC Summer Incubation Program. During this phase, fellows will have the opportunity to work on their ideas, access seed funding, and participate in weekly 3-2-1 pitches about the work they do to 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. At the end of the program, fellows will have the opportunity to compete in a pitch competition for more seed funding.

Graduation (August)

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 competitive opportunities as part of the DDQIC network.

High-performing Fellows will also be invited to serve as ambassadors and mentors for future Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarships.

For more information:

Visit the official website of the 2023 Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship Program


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