Mastercard Foundation Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund (MCF – SIEF)

AIMS-NEI, in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, is launching the MCF Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund (MCF – SIEF). Applications are open until March 18th (11PM).

  • The MCF – SIEF aims to better prepare AIMS Mastercard Foundation scholars and alumni with knowledge and skills to innovate and generate creative solutions to social challenges. Participants will collaborate and create inspirational entrepreneurial projects that contribute to improving their lives and that of others.
  • The program brings together Mastercard Foundation Scholars, alumni and other AIMS Scholars and alumni to learn how Design Thinking works and how to apply it to real-world challenges. Participants will work on a specific design challenge in one of the following broad areas:
    • Improving existing livelihoods;
    • Enabling diversification of income; or
    • Creating dignified and fulfilling work (jobs).
  • By the end of the program, participants will have developed innovative entrepreneurial solutions ready to be pitched to others.
  • Participants will compete at the Final Challenge on May 31st for seed funding grants of up to $10,000 as well as further mentorship support.

How is the program structured?

  • Training sessions: 6 training sessions to be delivered on a weekly basis. The sessions will last approximately 3 hours and will be delivered on the side of classroom hours (during weekdays and/or Saturdays).
  • Individual work: Besides attending the sessions, participants are encouraged to dedicate at least 2 hours per week to further work on their project ideas.
  • Final challenge: At the end of the program, participants will present their solution at the Final Challenge, which will look for the best project ideas with demonstrable viability.
  • Seed funding & Mentorship: Winning solutions will receive seed funding grants and further mentorship support over the course of two months.

 Program Timeline

  • 4 March: Applications open
  • 18 March: Applications close
  • 21 March: Accepted students will be notified
  • 29 March: Training sessions start
  • 17 May: Training sessions end
  • 31 May: Final Challenge
  • June – July: Follow up and mentorship support

Benefits

  • Skills and knowledge in Design Thinking and social innovation
  • Certificate of completion for participants attending all training sessions
  • Seed funding grants of up to $10,000 for winning solutions
  • Mentorship support for winning solutions
  • Opportunity to collaborate with other Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni

If you are applying as an individual, click here: http://bit.ly/SIEFIndiv
If you are applying as a team, click here: http://bit.ly/SIEFTeam
Applications are open until 11PM on Monday, March 18th.

Eligibility

The applications are open to AIMS Mastercard Foundation Scholars, Alumni and other AIMS students based in Rwanda who are interested in being catalysers of socio-economic transformation. Applicants should be interested in learning how to become creative problem solvers and be committed to generating innovative entrepreneurial solutions to help improve their lives and those of others.

Applicants can apply as individuals or in teams of 2-3 people. At least one individual (preferably the one assuming the position of team leader) per application should be a Mastercard Foundation Scholar or Alumni.

Applicants can apply to the program with OR without an existing solution idea.

  • Applicants who do not have an existing idea but are passionate and committed to solving a social challenge can generate a new idea as they go through the program.
  • Applicants that already have an existing solution idea in mind should be flexible to adapt it as they go through the program’s facilitated process of innovation.

All applicants must be able to attend all training sessions and dedicate time additionally to continue developing their solution ideas.

If you have any questions, email us at mcf-sief@nexteinstein.org

  1. How do we apply?

If you are applying as an individual, click here: http://bit.ly/SIEFIndiv

If you are applying as a team, click here: http://bit.ly/SIEFTeam

Applications are open until 11PM on Monday, March 18th.

  1. Who is eligible to apply?

The applications are open to AIMS Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni and other AIMS students based in Rwanda who are interested in being catalyzers of socio-economic transformation. Applicants should be interested in learning how to become creative problem solvers and be committed to generating innovative entrepreneurial solutions to help improve the lives of others.

Applicants can apply as individuals or in teams of 2-3 people. At least one individual (preferably the one assuming the position of team leader) per application should be a Mastercard Foundation Scholar or Alumni.

Applicants can apply to the program with OR without an existing solution idea.

  • Applicants who do not have an existing idea but are passionate and committed to solving a social challenge can generate a new idea as they go through the program.
  • Applicants that already have an existing solution idea in mind should be flexible to adapt it as they go through the program’s facilitated process of innovation.

All applicants must be able to attend all training sessions and dedicate time additionally to continue developing their solution ideas.

  1. Can I apply on my own or do I need a team?

Yes, if you do not have a team you can still participate in the program. If applying alone, you must be a Mastercard Foundation Scholar or Alumni.

  1. Are there any conditions for applying as team?

You can apply as a team of 2 or 3 people. You must ensure that at least one team member is a Mastercard Foundation Scholar or Alumni.

You must ensure that your team will be in the capacity to continue working on the solution idea even if after graduation you will all be in separate locations.

  1. I don’t have an idea. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can develop a solution idea as you through the program’s training sessions.

  1. How much time commitment is expected?
  • Participants should attend all six training sessions. Sessions will be delivered on a weekly basis, and will have a duration of 3 hours each.
  • Besides the training sessions, participants should dedicate at least 2 hours per week to further develop their idea, using the tools and techniques learned during the training sessions.
  • At the end of the program, participants should attend and pitch their solutions at the Social Innovation Challenge. In preparation, all participants may attend a mock pitching session.
  1. Do we have to be in Rwanda?

Yes, you must be present in Rwanda during the training sessions and final challenge.

However, your solution can be implemented in any other country.

  1. What kind of ideas and solutions are we expected to generate?

We are looking for entrepreneurial project ideas that contribute to improving the lives of others and create economic opportunities, especially for women and young people, either through:

  • Improving existing livelihoods;
  • Enabling diversification of income; or
  • Creating dignified and fulfilling work (jobs).

The project ideas must demonstrate viability. They may be implemented in or outside of Rwanda.

  1. What are the benefits and prizes?

Participants will pitch their solution at the final Social Innovation Challenge on May 31st and have the opportunity to win:

  • Seed funding grants of up to $10,000
  • Mentorship support to further develop their solution and move towards implementation

All participants will benefit from:

  • Skills and knowledge in Design Thinking and social innovation
  • Certificate of completion for participants attending all training sessions

Opportunity to collaborate with other Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni