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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Legatum center for development & entrepreneurship

Legatum Center Blog

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Voyager Grants


Thank you for your interest in the Legatum Voyager Grant Program!

Voyager Grants support travel to growth markets for market research, prototyping and pilots during Independent Activities Period and summer vacation. The Grant Program enables students to experience opportunities on the ground so they are prepared to address real challenges and create solutions that have the potential to drive economic and social progress in frontier markets.

The Legatum Center offers Voyager Grant application and funding cycles for the Independent Activities Period and summer vacation.



In order to be eligible for a Voyager 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 Grant funded travel and/or prototype construction.
  • Committed to exploring opportunities for innovation-driven entrepreneurship and pursuing a venture during their time as an MIT student and after graduation
  • Voyager Grant awards must be used and travel vouchers must be completed before the student graduates from his or her MIT degree program.
  • Graduating students may apply for funding for the summer or IAP immediately following course completion.

The Legatum Center does not award Voyager Grants for travel to High or Extreme risk countries, cities, or regions as described in the MIT Travel Risk Policy (link:…).

Applicant Criteria

With a Legatum Center Voyager Grant you may:

  • Travel to a prospective market to learn more about your customers’ challenge(s) and the local business context;
  • 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.

Application process

  • Online Application: 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.
  • Review: MIT faculty and staff and industry and geography experts review applications.
  • Interviews: Strong applications that meet the proposal criteria will be invited to participate in an interview in November. If applicants are unable to attend in person, they may have an opportunity to interview via phone or Skype.
  • Notification: Successful applicants will be notified in November for IAP Voyager Grants and in April for summer Voyager Grants.
  • Re-applicants: Please note that students who have applied for Legatum Center Voyager Grants in the past, regardless of whether they received an award, are eligible to apply for Voyager Grants again. Previous submissions will not be reviewed.

A note on 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.

Voyager Grant awards must be used for the specified award cycle. Travel vouchers and reimbursement requests must be completed within two weeks of completing the trip.

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