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Legatum Foundry Fellowship

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The Legatum Center at MIT presents the Foundry Fellowship, a first-of-its-kind fellowship for Africa-based founders who have scaled innovation-driven companies and find themselves at an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journey. The Foundry is a place where Fellows consider their present and future leadership roles as entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders building entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. 

Launching in 2021, the Foundry Fellowship will bring together leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to bringing about change through entrepreneurship and are ready to build the leadership skills to carry them into the next phase of their entrepreneurial journey.  

The Fellowship is open to entrepreneurs from Africa who have founded and scaled for-profit innovation-driven companies on the African continent, with a preference for entrepreneurs operating in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. 

Fellowship Summary

The Foundry Fellowship is a fully-funded eight-month fellowship. Fellows will complete an interactive curriculum designed to:

  • Increase their leadership acumen; 
  • Explore pathways to impact as entrepreneurs, policymakers, thought leaders, and investors;
  • Exchange practical knowledge with MIT faculty and students; and, 
  • Engage in multi-stakeholder networking opportunities in the MIT ecosystem.

The learning journey will culminate in a three-week in-person immersive program in which Fellows will have the opportunity to engage with MIT faculty, investors, thought leaders, and policy influencers. This immersive experience will give Fellows insight into how to design cutting-edge programs, implement practices, and create policies that are transferable to their markets. Fellows will also have the opportunity to showcase their ventures and lessons in innovation with MIT faculty, staff, and students.

Note: The Legatum Center’s goal is to offer an in-person immersive experience in line with the regulations of the U.S. federal government, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Legatum Center will support individuals who are offered a Fellowship with the visa application process by providing an invitation letter and reimbursing visa fees. 


The inaugural cohort will include 15 entrepreneurs from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda. Fellows will be identified through a selective application and nomination process.

  • Have founded and scaled for-profit innovation-driven companies* on the African continent, with a preference for founders of companies with operations in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda;  
  • Applicants who have founded and scaled a company outside of Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, or Uganda should have a demonstrated interest in supporting economic growth in the market(s) of at least one of the aforementioned seven countries; 
  • Have a demonstrated interest in supporting entrepreneurship ecosystems on the African continent;  
  • Are at an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journey and are considering the next phase;
  • Are prepared to dedicate time and space for their own self-discovery and leadership development to achieve the next milestone;   
  • Are able to participate in regular online sessions and cohort activities, from September 2021 through March 2022 (note: additional time is required for readings and exercises); and,  
  • Are able to commit to a three-week in-person session in April 2022.  
  • 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.    

Nominations & Applications

The Legatum Center is accepting nominations and applications from interested entrepreneurs.

Nominees will receive an invitation to complete the application process. A nomination does not guarantee acceptance, nor is it required to apply. Entrepreneurs who have launched and scaled a venture in one of the seven countries listed above may submit an application without a nomination. Nominations must be submitted by May 20, 2021.

Application Details

Applicants, including nominees, must submit a complete application before the submission deadline on June 17, 2021, at 11:59 PM EDT. The application includes the following components:

  • 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;
  • A resume outlining your educational background, professional experience, leadership positions held, and community engagement;
  • A 3-minute video essay [prompt provided in the online application form] and;
  • Two letters of recommendation.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee and Finalists will be invited to participate in a panel interview.  


Email with questions about the Legatum Foundry Fellowship.  


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