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Grants

Legatum Center Student Club Sponsorship Requests

The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship’s objective is to support a community of students whose events and activities align with our center's mission to move ideas to impact in the developing world and solve complex challenges through innovation-driven entrepreneurship.

To request a club sponsorship please fill out the linked form

Legatum Center Seed Grant Program for MIT Entrepreneurs

Read the 2016 Summer Seed Grant Blogs

Examples of Past Seed Grant Projects

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 fund travel to locations throughout the developing world. Staying true to our MIT motto, our Seed Grant program exemplifies elements of both Mens (mind) et Manus (hand) for students exploring innovation-driven entrepreneurship by:

  • Traveling to a prospective market to learn more about customers’ challenge(s);
  • Conducting primary market research or piloting a beta version of a product or service with customers in context; and,
  • Exploring opportunities to adapt an innovation to increase access to services, generate employment, and spread prosperity across developing markets.

APPLY HERE

MENTORSHIP AND ADVISING FOR SEED GRANT AWARDEES

  • Pre travel – mentorship from a developing world entrepreneur-in-residence and workshops prepared students for primary market research and prototype testing
  • Post travel – students continue building their ventures with advising from entrepreneurs-in-residence and professional advisors from the Legatum network

ELIGIBILITY

Applicants must be current MIT students:

  • Enrolled 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. 
  • Committed to exploring opportunities for innovation-driven entrepreneurship and/or 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.

 

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

Friday, Sept. 30th – IAP 2017 Seed Grant Applications Open

Monday, Oct. 31st – IAP 2017 Seed Grant Applications Close

Week of Nov. 21st – Award Notifications

EXAMPLES OF SUMMER 2016 SEED GRANT PROJECTS

  • Constructing a spring protection water well in Ethiopia
  • Digitizing textile art in the San Blas Islands, Panama
  • Piloting an LEED building system technicians’ manual in Brazil

 

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)