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Legatum Center Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Foundry Fellowship 2024

The Foundry Fellowship is an eight-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 principled 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) They are at an inflection point in their leadership journeys, AND  

3) They are seeking to identify ways to support the growth and evolution of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems across Africa.

The fellowship is a cohort-based program, with 10-15 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 curriculum includes personal leadership seminars, coursework with MIT faculty, and experiential tours of innovation ecosystems as a cohort, including tours of multiple ecosystems on the African continent. Together, this unique program prepares fellows to lead initiatives that accelerate the development of ecosystems both within their home markets and throughout the continent.

Requirements

The fellowship is open to Africa-based entrepreneurs 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:

  1. 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;
  2. By founding a venture or support organization that will specifically help build innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems across Africa; or 
  3. By expanding your innovation-driven enterprise across the continent, and through that expansion, focus on ecosystem development to reach your growth goals.

Founders from the same company may apply, but each founder must complete a unique application. Each founder will be considered independent of a co-founder.   

MIT alumni and current degree candidates are welcome to apply. 

Interview date, Process and Venue 

Applicants should be aware of the considerable commitment that the Foundry Fellowship requires, in both time and attention. 

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 Center asks that you seriously consider the following program requirements before applying:

  1. 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.
  2. Attending all Foundry Fellowship online sessions and in-person meetings: See the section below on key dates for a picture of the total time commitment. Typically, the fellowship program includes four ecosystem tours, each lasting between five and seven days. In the spring we combine two tours, bringing the total time away from work and home to about two weeks. 
  3. Providing your own transportation to and from ecosystem tour locations and covering some of your travel expenses. Note that the fellowship program 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.
  4. Participating fully in all sessions by giving your full attention to the participants and discussion. 
  5. Presenting the next steps you will take after completing the Foundry Fellowship program to your peers and other supporters of the fellowship. 

KEY DATES

  • May 17: Application period opens.
  • June 30: Application period closes.
  • July-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).
  • January/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. 

*Dates will be confirmed and shared with finalists when acceptance letters are sent out. 

Documents Required for Application

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;
  • 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).

Application Deadline

June 30, 2024

How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Legatum Center on fellowship-mit.smapply.io to apply

  1. Complete the online application here.
  2. Record and upload your 2-min video.
  3. Sign the application.
  4. Ensure that your two letters of recommendation have been submitted before the application deadline of June 30, 2024.

Application Submission Date is June 30, 2024

For more details, visit Legatum Center website.

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