Application Deadline: July 7, 2023
The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was founded on the belief that entrepreneurs and their market-driven solutions are critical to advancing sustainable prosperity across global growth markets.
The Foundry Fellowship embodies this belief through its creation of a community of Africa-based entrepreneurs who share a vision for a continent where people, ideas, and resources move across borders, and where ecosystems enable innovation-driven entrepreneurs to thrive and scale. This community plays a critical role in shifting the narrative of Africa to one of abundance, opportunity, innovation, and dynamism.
The Foundry Fellowship is a six-month, transformative experience for accomplished entrepreneurs who are committed to leading the acceleration and interconnection of Africa’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems.
The fellowship is designed for entrepreneurial leaders who seek to catalyze systems transformation and inclusive growth across Africa. Applicants choose to apply to the fellowship for the following reasons: 1) they have had success in scaling an innovation-driven business, 2) are at an inflection point in their leadership journeys, and 3) want to identify ways to support the growth and evolution of the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems across Africa.
The fellowship is a cohort-based program, with 10 fellows accepted into the cohort each year. Going through the fellowship as a cohort gives fellows the supportive context to move beyond current inflection points to define the next stage in their entrepreneurial and leadership journeys. The small number of fellows in each cohort, the emphasis on a selective profile, and the unique curation of the curriculum, leads to a learning environment that is highly supportive for deep transformation.
The fellowship is open to Africa-based founders who have: 1) founded and scaled a for-profit, innovation-driven company, AND 2) who are now at an inflection point and are preparing to transition into leadership in one of the following ways:
- By transitioning from running your innovation-driven enterprise to taking on a new leadership role within the ecosystem; for example, you may be launching a venture capital fund, starting an accelerator, or pursuing a path in policymaking;
- By founding a venture or support organization that will specifically help build innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems across Africa;
- By expanding your innovation-driven enterprise across the continent, and through that expansion, focus on ecosystem development to reach your growth goals.
Applicants should be aware of the fellowship requirements, including:
As a Foundry Fellow, your commitment to your personal objectives, your cohort, and the next generation of innovation-driven entrepreneurs across Africa is essential to your success. The Legatum Center asks that you commit to:
- Confirming your English language ability: The Foundry Fellowship programming is delivered in English; all fellows should feel comfortable communicating complex ideas in writing, and verbally, in English.
- Attending all Foundry Fellowship online sessions and in-person meetings. Note that the fellowship covers most costs associated with ecosystem tours, including hotels, group meals, group transport, etc.; however, fellows are responsible for their own flights to and from ecosystem tours as well as certain travel-related expenses.
- Participating in all sessions intending to give your full attention to the discussion and topic.
- Presenting the next step you will take after completing the Foundry Fellowship program at the conclusion of the six-month immersion.
The application includes:
- Personal demographic information and contact information;
- Details about your role as a founder and your company;
- Essay questions on your interest in the Fellowship program, questions about your role as an ecosystem builder, and what entrepreneurial leadership means to you;
- A resume outlining your educational background, professional experience, leadership positions held, and community engagement;
- A 2-minute video (in English), summarizing the key points of your application, and;
- Two letters of recommendation from people who know you as co-founder, mentor, board member, or senior manager in your company (note: you are responsible for giving recommenders sufficient time to complete the recommendation letters before the application deadline).
Applications will be reviewed by an evaluation committee. Finalists will be invited to participate in at least one panel interview.
- May 26: Application period opens.
- July 7th: Application period closes.
- August: Interviews with Legatum Center staff, community, and Foundry Fellow Alumni.
- September: Acceptance letters sent; commitments made.
- October: Orientation (virtual).
- November: Africa ecosystem tour (location TBD; approximately one week of travel).
- February: Africa ecosystem tour (location TBD; approximately one week of travel).
- April/May: US ecosystem tours (first location TBD; second location will be Boston/Cambridge; approximately two weeks of travel) and fellowship celebration event.
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