Jim Leech Foundation Mastercard Entrepreneurship Scholarship 2023 for young African students and recent graduates.  |  Opportunities for Africans

Jim Leech Foundation Mastercard Entrepreneurship Scholarship 2023 for young African students and recent graduates. | Opportunities for Africans


Application deadline: December 4, 2022.

The Jim Leech Foundation Mastercard Entrepreneurship Scholarship 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 business. The 8-month program develops the exceptional entrepreneurial skills and mindset of leaders to generate social and financial impact.


  • The Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Scholarship 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 scholarship seeks participants who are committed to developing their entrepreneurial spirit and leveraging the resources provided to grow their own business. The program is delivered virtually and can be completed at any pace, but the most committed participants will dedicate at least 10 hours per week. In order to progress through the phases of the program, participants will submit their assignments online, adhering to strict deadlines.
  • Program content is delivered in English. Mentoring can be offered in English and French.

Benefits of the program

Top notch training

  • Business bootcamp led by Queen’s University professors 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 pitch
  • Live workshops on marketing, goal setting and recruiting are held throughout the program
  • Opportunity to earn micro-credentials in entrepreneurship awarded by Queen’s University for successful course completion

Mentoring and Networking

  • Liaise with mentors and speakers at the forefront of North American innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Access a global network of former Queen’s entrepreneurs
  • Join a cohort of thousands of like-minded students and recent graduates from across Africa
  • Fellows are matched with industry leaders and entrepreneurs in the final phase of the program
  • Get feedback at startup milestones

Financial aid

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

Program schedule

Phase 1: Explore (January-February)

Over 1000 outstanding candidates have 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 progressing on the respective milestones of their ideas.

Phase 2: Ignite (March-April)

Over 180 finalists with an exceptional commitment to the entrepreneurship process, who have excelled at the milestones set in the first phase will be selected to join this phase. During this phase, they will continue to work through an additional list of additional online entrepreneurship courses and complete the remaining steps of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Framework Handbook. At the end of this phase, participants will pitch their ideas, compete for the scholarship, and the most advanced and promising business ideas will become the finalists who will receive the scholarship.

Phase 3: Launch and scholarship (May-August)

Up to 60 fellows will be selected to join DDQIC’s 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 presentations about the work they do as they transform their ideas into scalable startups. Additionally, 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 participate in a pitch competition to secure more seed funding upon completion of the program.

Graduation (August)

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

The top performing scholars will also be invited to participate as ambassadors and mentors for future Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation scholarships.

For more information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Jim Leech Foundation Mastercard Scholars Program 2023

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