MIT/MasterCard Foundation Zambezi Prize for Sub-Saharan African Entrepreneurs 2017

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The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT in collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation is awarding ventures that contribute to financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Application Deadline: 30th September 2017
Eligible Countries: Sub-Saharan African countries

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About the Award: The Zambezi Prize raises awareness of entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, encourages the flow of capital to financial inclusion ventures, and advances entrepreneurship and financial inclusion to fuel broad-based prosperity.
Type: Entrepreneurship
Eligibility: 
  • The venture must help advance financial inclusion.
  • The venture must have a presence in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The venture must have a founder or co-founder that work or plan to work full-time on the venture.
If selected as finalists, ventures must have a founder or co-founder to attend MIT’s Entrepreneurship Development Program in Boston in January 2017
The prize is open to a wide spectrum of financial inclusion ventures demonstrating innovation and potential for impact, financial sustainability, and scalability.
  • The venture must advance financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The venture must be in its early stages, having progressed beyond concept.
  • Ventures could include – but are not limited to – electronic payment systems, customer-centered payment plans, new financial products, or mobile banking instruments.
Number of Awards: 3
Value of Award:  $200K USD
The first place winner receives $100K USD. An additional $100K USD is divided among second and third place winners and a small group of finalists.

Duration of Program:  January 1 – March 31, 2018
Important Dates:

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ROUND 1: Application Deadline: September 30, 2017
A selection committee reviews online applications and selects semi-finalists.
ROUND 2: Semi Finals
Notified: October 15, 2017
Supporting materials due: Nov 1, 2017
Semi-finalists submit supporting application materials. Selection committee members rank semi-finalists and conduct interviews.
ROUND 3: Finals
Notified: Nov 15, 2017
Finalist announcement: Dec 1, 2017
All finalists will attend MIT’s acclaimed Entrepreneurship Development Program in Boston.
WINNERS ANNOUNCED: Dec 16, 2017
How to Apply: 
Award Providers: The Zambezi Prize is presented by the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT and The MasterCard Foundation.

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