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 on 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 venture. The 8-month program develops the exceptional entrepreneurial skills and mindset of 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 African post-secondary institution. Whether you’re already working on 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 enterprise. The program is delivered virtually and can be completed at any pace, but the most committed participants will commit at least 10 hours per week. In order to progress through the program phases, participants will submit assignments online, adhering to strict deadlines.
  • The program content is delivered 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
  • Coaching and mastery of the game
  • Live workshops on marketing, goal setting and recruiting are held throughout the program
  • Opportunity to earn Micro-Credentials on Entrepreneurship awarded by Queen’s University for successful completion of the courses

Mentorship and networking

  • Connect with mentors and speakers leading innovation and entrepreneurship in North America
  • Access a global network of Queen’s entrepreneurial alumni
  • Join a cohort of thousands of like-minded students and recent grads from across Africa
  • Fellows are matched to industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the final phase of the program
  • Get feedback on important startup milestones

Financial support

  • Up to 60 fellows will be selected in the final phase to receive a stipend of $500 CAD
  • Opportunities to bid on prizes of up to $15,000 CAD in the degree competition at the end of the program
  • Opportunities to travel to the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Center to build lasting connections that will help your next business venture
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Program timeline

Phase 1: Explore (January-February)

1000+ exceptional candidates gain access to a curated list of online entrepreneurship courses and work through the first 11 steps of the Discipline Entrepreneurship Framework Workbook. Candidates have several months to prove their commitment to the entrepreneurial process by completing the training and progressing on the respective milestones of their ideas.

Phase 2: Ignite (March-April)

180+ finalists with an outstanding commitment to the entrepreneurship process, who will have excelled in the milestones set in phase one, will be selected to join this phase. Under this phase, they will continue to complete an additional curated list of additional online entrepreneurship courses and work through the remaining steps of the Discipline Entrepreneurship Framework Workbook. At the end of this phase, the participants will propose their ideas, compete for the fellowship, and the most advanced and promising business ideas will become the finalists who receive the fellowship.

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Phase 3: Launch and Fellowship (May-August)

Up to 60 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 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 more seed funding at the end of the program.

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 pitch competition opportunities as part of DDQIC’s network.

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

For more information:

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


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