The MasterCard Foundation and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Announce New initiative to Support Entrepreneurship in Africa and Developing Regions
Boston and Toronto, October 27, 2011 – The MasterCard Foundation and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are pleased to announce a strategic 10-year, $21 million grant to support emerging entrepreneurs focused on Africa and developing regions.
“The Legatum Center uniquely combines entrepreneurial leadership, technological innovation and grassroots development to benefit the world's poor," said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. "Our partnership will educate a new generation of leaders and provide them with the knowledge, skills and networks they need to create sustainable businesses that make a measurable impact on poverty."
The partnership will provide 200 fellowships at the Legatum Center for students from developing countries, with an emphasis on students from Africa. The Legatum Center will publish case studies of entrepreneurship-led development and business models that meet the needs of the poor. The Center will also host a global competition to catalyze and recognize transformative innovations that invigorate economic growth and create employment opportunities, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"The MasterCard Foundation is adding important building blocks to the Legatum Center's endeavors. The Foundation is making it possible for 200 students from developing nations, preferably from African nations, to attend MIT and prepare for entrepreneurial careers. It is helping us establish other programs that connect us to those nations more effectively. In addition to the funding support, the Foundation itself has related programs in these countries and, as a result, augments our overall network."
The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducts a Fellowship program which prepares MIT students to establish innovative, sustainable, for-profit enterprises in emerging countries. By promoting enterprises that engage local human resources and introduce new technologies and processes, the Legatum Center aims to address deep-rooted problems in low-income countries.
The MasterCard Foundation chose to work with the Legatum Center at MIT recognizing the shared vision that economic progress and good governance in developing countries emerge from entrepreneurship and innovations that empower ordinary citizens. This program will build on the Legatum Center’s reputation and experience in innovative entrepreneurship.
The program will benefit from MIT’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, a global community of thought-leaders dedicated to the development of innovative business concepts and transformative technologies that have served the world for 150 years and will continue to serve the world in the 21st century.
About The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship was founded on the belief that economic progress and good governance in low-income countries emerge from entrepreneurship and innovations that empower ordinary citizens. The Center administers programs and convenes events that promote and shape discourse on bottom-up development. Led by Iqbal Z. Quadir, founder of Grameenphone, the Center runs a highly competitive fellowship program for MIT graduate students who intend to launch enterprises in low-income countries. In addition, the Center convenes an annual conference, hosts lectures, and supports teams of enterprising men and women at MIT who are passionate about starting viable businesses in the developing world.
About the MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation advances microfinance and youth learning to promote financial inclusion and prosperity. Through collaboration with committed partners in 48 countries, The MasterCard Foundation is helping people living in poverty to access opportunities to learn and prosper. An independent, private foundation based in Toronto, Canada, The MasterCard Foundation was established through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide at the time of the company’s initial public offering in 2006. For more information, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.