The Legatum Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is excited to announce the launch of the Foundry Fellowship, an unprecedented leadership program designed for African founders who have successfully scaled innovation-driven companies and are at a pivotal point in their entrepreneurial journey. The Foundry Fellowship provides a unique space for Fellows to reflect on their experiences, redefine their future roles as entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders, and reaffirm their commitment to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems.
This exclusive Fellowship brings together exceptional leaders who have demonstrated a strong dedication to driving change through entrepreneurship and are eager to enhance their leadership skills for the next phase of their entrepreneurial endeavours. Entrepreneurs from across Africa are invited to participate, with a particular focus on individuals operating in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda.
Entrepreneurs who wish to apply for the Foundry Fellowship should meet the following criteria: they must have founded and successfully scaled a for-profit, innovation-driven company and currently find themselves at an inflexion point in their entrepreneurial journey. This pivotal moment could manifest in different ways, such as transitioning from running their innovation-driven enterprise to assuming a new leadership role within the ecosystem (e.g., launching a venture capital fund, starting an accelerator, or venturing into policymaking), founding a venture or support organization dedicated to building innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems across Africa, or expanding their innovation-driven enterprise across the continent while actively contributing to ecosystem development.
Innovation-driven companies are characterized by their reliance on technology or process innovations that enable them to scale across regional and global markets. Applicants should familiarize themselves with the fellowship requirements, including communicating effectively in English, as all Foundry Fellowship programming is conducted in English. Applicants are expected to attend all online sessions and in-person meetings, with most costs associated with ecosystem tours covered by the fellowship. However, Fellows will be responsible for their own flights and certain travel-related expenses. Furthermore, participants must fully engage in all sessions, actively contributing to discussions and topics, and present their next steps after completing the Foundry Fellowship program at the conclusion of the six-month immersion.
The Foundry Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs based in Africa who have significantly impacted their region and have a strong connection to the continent. The inaugural cohort will comprise 15 entrepreneurs selected through a rigorous application and nomination.
Successful applicants will receive a fully-funded six-month program as part of the Foundry Fellowship. Fellows will partake in an interactive curriculum meticulously designed to enhance their leadership skills throughout the fellowship. The program aims to help Fellows explore various pathways to create meaningful impact as entrepreneurs, policymakers, thought leaders, and investors. Additionally, participants will be able to exchange practical knowledge with esteemed faculty members and students from MIT while engaging in valuable networking opportunities within the MIT ecosystem.
The fellowship journey will culminate in a three-week immersive program in person, during which Fellows will interact with MIT faculty, investors, thought leaders, and policy influencers. This intensive experience will provide Fellows with invaluable insights into designing cutting-edge programs, implementing best practices, and creating policies that can be transferred to their respective markets. Moreover, Fellows will have the chance to showcase their ventures and share lessons in innovation with MIT faculty, staff, and students.
Interested entrepreneurs must complete the online application on the Legatum Center’s website to apply for the Foundry Fellowship. Additionally, applicants must record and upload a two-minute video, sign the application, and ensure that two letters of recommendation are submitted before the July 7, 2023, deadline.