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MIT Entrepreneurship Fellows To Found Ventures In Developing Countries

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 10/2/2009

The incoming class of MIT Legatum Fellows has been announced, who aim to bring entrepreneurship to low-income countries.

As is readily evidenced by reading the latest news, for entrepreneurs in America times have been tough. Yet 16 entrepreneurs, armed with grants from the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are looking beyond Main Street and focusing their entrepreneurial dreams on helping others in developing countries.

Entrepreneur Startup Team

The 2009-2010 class of Legatum Fellows - announced this week by MIT and welcomed on Friday at the Legatum Center's annual conference in Cambridge, MA - hail from countries as diverse and far-reaching as Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Venezuela, Pakistan, Germany, France, India, Mexico and the U.S.

Proposed projects include a company that delivers affordable IT resources to entrepreneurs in Nigeria, a business providing value-added services to rural cell phone subscribers in India, and a company that will introduce cost-effective medical trials and low-cost healthcare clinics to underserved communities in Mexico.

These entrepreneurs - which must be current or incoming graduate students at MIT - will receive funding as well as a "unique entrepreneurial ecology where they can engage with entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and international development experts," said Michael F. Maltese, managing director of the Legatum Center.

The Legatum Center was founded by a structured gift from the global investment firm Legatum, and is led by Professor Iqbal Z. Quadir, founder of GrameenPhone and Emergence BioEnergy.

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