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2021 Legatum Foundry Fellows Announcement Press Release

The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) introduces the inaugural cohort of the Legatum Foundry Fellows.

 Thirteen entrepreneurs selected from eight countries across Africa join the first cohort of Legatum Foundry Fellows.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., September 28, 2021— Today the Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT introduced the inaugural cohort of Legatum Foundry Fellows. Hailing from eight countries, these thirteen entrepreneurs have grown ventures operating in nine different markets across Africa. Having pioneered innovations in healthcare, fintech, education, and more, the Foundry Fellows have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to transforming systems and improving lives on the continent.

Launched earlier this year, the Foundry Fellowship is a first-of-its-kind fellowship focused on African entrepreneurs who have successfully grown ventures on the continent and have arrived at an inflection point in their entrepreneurial journeys. The fellowship will provide the space for these entrepreneurs to come together to reflect on their achievements and consider their present and future leadership roles as entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, and thought leaders. Collectively, the Fellows will explore the future of innovation ecosystems in Africa and demonstrate how Africa can be a hub for innovation globally.

Fellows will spend six months learning from MIT faculty, connecting with investors, and expanding their network of peer innovators through an interactive customized curriculum. The fellowship will culminate in a three-week immersive session in the United States where Fellows will explore the MIT innovation ecosystem and showcase their ventures and lessons in innovation with faculty, staff, and students.

Reflecting on the incoming class of Foundry Fellows, Dina Sherif, Executive Director of the Legatum Center at MIT, said, “Their unique perspective on innovation, inclusion and sustainability combined with their limitless ambition and resilience, make this extraordinary group of entrepreneurs particularly exciting. We look forward to welcoming the Foundry Fellows to the Legatum Center community and sharing their stories and lessons in impact with the rest of the world.”

Professor Fiona Murray, Faculty Director of the Legatum Center at MIT, added, “The Foundry Fellows exemplify how entrepreneurs contribute to growth and drive change in their regional innovation ecosystems. With the Foundry Fellowship, we aim to amplify the voices and influence of these leaders and draw lessons from their experience at the MIT Sloan School of Management.”

“Innovation and entrepreneurial solutions are critical to continued growth and creating shared prosperity across Africa. The Foundry Fellowship elevates the role of entrepreneurs and offers a platform for these accomplished leaders to advance and extend their impact in their local ecosystems and beyond,” said Kofi Appenteng, President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute and Legatum Center at MIT Advisory Board member.

The Foundry Fellowship was developed in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation in alignment with the Foundation’s vision of a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. By deepening the impact of leaders who are solving complex problems, creating jobs, and bringing essential services to millions across Africa through their innovation-driven business models, the fellowship directly supports the objectives of the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy which aims to enable 30 million young people to secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

For a full list of Foundry Fellows and descriptions of their ventures visit: https://legatum.mit.edu/foundry2021

Media requests should be addressed to Courtney Schoon at cschoon@mit.edu.

About the Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT

The Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship at MIT was founded in 2007 on the belief that innovation-driven entrepreneurship is key to increasing prosperity and building more inclusive systems in emerging markets. The Center drives prosperity globally by building pathways for principled entrepreneurial leaders to transform systems, and improve lives. Legatum Center is a global community based at MIT, drawing on the Institute’s talent, networks, and expertise to inspire and equip those who want to move their ideas toward scalable impact. In addition to supporting and equipping entrepreneurs operating in emerging markets with the tools and resources to build scalable impactful businesses, the Center gathers lessons and produces actionable insights to inform and advance innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems globally.

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