Jim Leech is the outgoing Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mastercard
Foundation. He also recently completed his term as the Chancellor of Queen’s University, a partner university within our Scholars Program network. To honor Jim’s leadership and dedicated service to the mission of the Foundation in a manner that reflected his passion for entrepreneurship and his support of young people with great ideas. Hence, the Mastercard Foundation has endowed this special Fellowship in his name at Queen’s University.
Below, please find more information on the Fellowship, which will be based at the Dunin-Despande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC):
The Fellowship will be offered to at least 15 Fellows with 15 outstanding business ideas.
They will benefit from the online version of DDQIC’s “QyourVenture”. This is an eight-month accelerator program that provides:
Access to the Discipline Entrepreneurship Toolbox for five months. This is an online
entrepreneurship training program with 24 steps developed by the Martin Trust
Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.
Access to an incubation support for three months. The Fellows will be onboarded into
a company creation process with access to mentorship and coaching from DDQIC’s
network. They will compete to win seed funding grants from DDQIC’s network of
• The recruitment process has been designed to be practical and to democratize
entrepreneurship among the student community from participating universities. It will provide an opportunity for the best students – from the performance-based online training programs– to not only validate ideas and assumptions they have around the business ventures they are working on, but also to qualify for the Fellowship. It will be a competitive process involving three levels:
Level 1: Approximately 1,000 students will be recruited in partnership with the
Scholars Program Network. These students will go through the online Disciplined
Entrepreneurship training, unlocking 11 steps/topics such as understanding
customers and markets. This will be for a period of two months.
Level 2: Out of the 1,000 students, a minimum of 30 students with 30 promising
business ideas will be selected to continue with the online training offering 12 topics,
such as designing products and scaling businesses. This will be for a period of 2-3
Level 3: Out of the 30 business ideas, the 15 most promising ones, as selected
through a pitch competition, will receive the full Fellowship.
After the eight-month Fellowship program, the Fellows will continue to have access to the DDQIC’s network. Where appropriate, they will be linked to local resources that will help accelerate the growth of their ventures.
This Fellowship will be available to all students at the University of Gondar.