Mastercard Foundation launches $2m fund for African social ventures

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The Mastercard Foundation has announced a new fund that will enable young African changemakers to seed and kick-start promising social ventures and community projects, creating economic opportunities for themselves and others.

The Mastercard Foundation is one of the largest such organisations in the world, and was established to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. Its Scholars Programme offers education and leadership development to over 35,000 bright, young leaders.

Over the next two years, the foundation will dedicate US$2 million for a pilot project that will expand Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ capacity to exercise transformative leadership by putting their social and entrepreneurial ideas into action. Since 2016, the Mastercard Foundation has supported over 30 ventures founded by Scholars.

Universities and institutional partners included in the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme will receive funding towards these efforts, leading the design and delivery of the competitive fund in a manner that reflects local context. The foundation will lead monitoring and evaluation activities to learn, evaluate, and determine how to extend and scale the opportunity within and beyond the Scholars Programme.

“We are compelled by the leadership of African youth and the vision they hold for the continent’s future,” said Shona Bezanson, associate director of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme.

“Whether it is providing quality education for refugee youth and children in Uganda, developing organic and cost-efficient fertilizers for low-income farmers in Zimbabwe, or creating a ‘Made in Africa’ brand that employs vulnerable artisans, Scholars are already activating their ideas for change with modest resources. We believe Scholars will seize this new opportunity to lead change in their communities.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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