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Grants

Legatum Center Seed Grant Program for MIT Entrepreneurs

Read the 2016 Summer Seed Grant Blogs

Examples of Past Seed Grant Projects

The 2016 Legatum Center Seed Grant Program Application is now closed. Applications for Summer 2016 Seed Grants will closed on March 28, 2016 at 12 noon EDT.

Please familiarize yourself with the application process and review the sample application and conditions of eligibility before applying. For updates on the Seed Grant Program and application notices, please join our mailing list.

 

THE LEGATUM CENTER SEED GRANT PROGRAM FOR DEVELOPING WORLD ENTREPRENEURS AT MIT

Seed Grants are available through the generosity of the Legatum Center’s supporters so that MIT students may explore innovation-driven entrepreneurship opportunities in the developing world. Seed Grants fund travel to locations throughout the developing world so students may learn about the local business context, conduct primary market research, and pilot prototypes. By supporting early stage entrepreneurial leaders at MIT, the Seed Grant Program enables students to experience opportuities on the ground with the hope that award recipients will address real challenges and create solutions that have the potential to drive economic and social progress across the developing world.

 

SEED GRANT COMPONENTS

Staying true to our MIT motto, our Seed Grant program exemplifies elements of both Mens (mind) et Manus (hand) by funding innovation-driven entrepreneurship exploration in the form of travel to a developing country, the construction of a prototype on campus, or a pilot in the country of your venture. With a Legatum Center Seed Grant you may:

  • Travel to a prospective market to learn more about your customers’ challenge(s) or build a prototype of your technology on campus;
  • Conduct primary market research or pilot a beta version of your product or service with your customer market in order to learn how well the product or service addresses a challenge; and
  • Explore opportunities to adapt an innovation to increase access to services, generate employment, and spread prosperity across developing markets.

 

ELIGIBILITY

In order to be eligible for a Summer 2016 Seed Grant, applicants must be current MIT students:

-Enrolled as a student in an MIT degree program at the time of application and enrolled as an MIT student at the time of Seed Grant funded travel and/or prototype construction. Students graduating in June 2016 are ineligible for Summer 2016 Legatum Center Seed Grants.

-Committed to exploring opportunities for innovation-driven entrepreneurship and pursuing a venture during their time as an MIT student and after graduation

-The Legatum Center does not award Seed Grants for travel to High or Extreme risk countries, cities, or regions as described in the MIT Travel Risk Policy (link: https://insurance.mit.edu/services/international-travel/mit-travel-risk-...).

-Seed Grant awards must be used and travel vouchers must be completed before the student graduates from his or her MIT degree program.

 

SELECTION CRITERIA

Applicant Criteria:

We are seeking self-motivated visionaries who are exploring opportunities for high-impact entrepreneurship in the developing world. Applicants may be in either ideation or exploration or execution mode—actively building prototypes and piloting their models.

 

Proposal Criteria:

1. Vision – We are looking for projects with a clear vision and well thought out plan for how the funding will be used and a strategy for preparing and executing your field trip or prototype construction. We want you to use the seed grant to explore opportunities for entrepreneurship in the developing world and transform ideas into action.

2. Impact-driven – We are looking for ideas focused in developing world markets that not only have the potential to accelerate economic progress (by creating jobs and increasing the average income per person) but also to accelerate social progress.

3. Innovation-driven – We are looking for you to discover, build, and scale ideas centered on new concepts that promote a competitive advantage based on an innovative technology, business model, or policy initiative.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

  1. Online Application: All Seed Grant applicants are required to complete and submit the online application by the deadline of 12 noon EDT on March 28, 2016. The application includes multiple choice, short answer, and long answer questions about your qualifications and your proposed project. You must also include an itemized budget.
  2. Review: MIT faculty and staff and industry and geography experts review applications.
  3. Interviews: Applicants may be invited to attend an interview in the Legatum Center’s office. If applicants are unable to attend in person, they may have an opportunity to interview via phone or Skype.
  4. Notification: Successful applicants will be notified by May 6, 2016.

 

Re-applicants

Please note that students who have applied for Legatum Center Seed Grants in the past, regardless of whether they received an award, are eligible to apply for Seed Grants again. Previous submissions will not be reviewed.

 

KEY DATES

February 18, 2016 – Seed Grant Application Opens

February 22, 2016 – Legatum Center Fellowship & Seed Grant Programs Information Session in the Stata Center (32-144) at 5:30 PM. RSVP here

March 28, 2016, 12 noon EDT – Seed Grant Submission Deadline

May 6, 2016 – Seed Grant Notification Deadline

 

A NOTE ON SEED GRANT DISBURSEMENT

With the award notification, you will receive information about the travel, lodging, meal, business meeting, ground transportation, and prototyping supplies, among other categories, for which you are eligible for reimbursement. To defray the costs of travel, award recipients may have the option of reserving round trip economy class airfare on an Institute travel card.

Upon completion of travel, the business pilot, or the prototype, awardees must submit a report on their learnings, complete a travel voucher, and participate in a poster session to share their progress with MIT’s community of developing world entrepreneurs.

 

Summer 2014 Seed Grant Teams

Spring 2014 Seed Grant Teams

IAP 2014 Seed Grant Teams

Summer 2013 Seed Grant Teams

IAP 2013 Seed Grant Teams

Summer 2012 Seed Grant Teams

IAP 2012 Seed Grant Teams

Summer 2011 Seed Grant Teams

IAP 2011 Seed Grant Teams

Summer 2010 Seed Grant Teams

IAP 2010 Seed Grant Teams (with video)

Summer 2009 Seed Grant Teams (with video)

IAP 2009 Seed Grant Teams (with video)