The Mastercard Foundation in partnership with the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) revealed an initiative that offers free virtual entrepreneurship training and an opportunity to receive startup funding through the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students at Queen’s University.
Since its launch in September 2020, approximately 1,252 students have participated in the program with over 60 percent identifying as women. Students and recent graduates from African universities within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program attended the virtual entrepreneurship training delivered by Queen’s University’s DDQIC Program. They were encouraged to innovate and create impact within their communities by leveraging tools provided within the three-phase program – Explore, Ignite, and Launch.
The fellowship is designed to address unemployment among post-secondary graduates by equipping students and recent graduates with entrepreneurial training to initiate and continue to grow their businesses. Participants were provided with seed funding to turn their vision into reality and in the inaugural cohort, they competed internationally with entrepreneurs where three of the fellows won a combined $25,000.
“The launch of the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students last year was a proud moment,” said Jim Leech. “Seeing bright African students take advantage of this entrepreneurial training to initiate, strengthen, and bring their business goals to life is exciting and augurs well for Africa’s future. I look forward to seeing the new waves of talent come in with this year's applicants.”
The Mastercard Foundation created these fellowships through an endowed donation to Queen’s University in honour of Jim Leech, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mastercard Foundation and Chancellor Emeritus of Queen’s University (14th Chancellor). In 2014, Mr. Leech was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions as an innovator in pension management, for his writings about retirement funding, and for his community involvement.
The applications for the upcoming academic year close on December 10, 2021. Learn more about the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship and start an application today.
For applicant inquiries, please email:
Program Coordinator at the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship
Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre