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Center for Development & Entrepreneurship


Press Release: USADF and Legatum Center at MIT Sloan Launch Groundbreaking Accelerator Program to Support African Entrepreneurs

Washington, D.C. – May 2024 – The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Sloan) announced the successful completion of the USADF Accelerator pilot program powered by the Legatum Center at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The program aimed to accelerate the growth and impact of African ventures by equipping 25 early- to mid-stage entrepreneurs, all prior recipients of USADF grants. Participants underwent a comprehensive learning and mentorship experience, attending virtual sessions led by MIT faculty and experienced Africa-based operators, and receiving one-on-one coaching from successfulentrepreneurs and investors. The goal was to support these entrepreneurs in contributing to job creation and economic growth in their respective countries, and to strengthen their capacity for sustained success following USADF’s initial investment.

In addition to providing access to educational resources, the program fostered a supportive learning community. The Legatum Center leveraged its extensive network of experts, fellows, and mentors to create a space where participants could connect, share experiences, and support each other's endeavors. This collaborative environment, coupled with access to the exceptional faculty at MIT Sloan, proved to be a key factor in the program's success. Participants gained invaluable insights from seasoned African entrepreneurs who understand the unique challenges of doing business on the continent. This peer-to-peer support, combined with MIT’s expertise, equipped the entrepreneurs with knowledge, tools, and relationships to propel their ventures forward.

Travis Adkins | USADF President and CEO
"The USADF Accelerator is a testament to our ongoing commitment to fostering entrepreneurship across Africa. By providing these entrepreneurs with this incredible opportunity, we are investing in the future of the continent and its economic development while ensuring the continued success of our grantees beyond the initial USADF funding."

A post-program survey revealed that 91% of entrepreneurs reported experiencing positive changes in their businesses as a result ofthe program. "The program addressed the specific challenges I faced as an African entrepreneur," reported one entrepreneur. The program exceeded expectations for 96% of participants, with 91% recommending it to others. This positive response highlights the program's effectiveness in helping to address many of the challenges faced by African entrepreneurs.

Dina H. Sherif | Legatum Center Executive Director
"The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT has a long history of working with entrepreneurs in Africa. This pilot program builds on that legacy and demonstrates the power and potential of collaboration between USADF and the Center, reinforcing our mutual belief that entrepreneurship and innovation are essential to Africa’s sustainable prosperity".

The program's success paves the way for a potential expansion, as the Legatum Center at MIT, with its expertise in growth-market entrepreneurship and innovation, is uniquely positioned to continue this impactful collaboration with USADF.



USADF is an independent U.S. government agency established by Congress to invest directly in African grassroots enterprises and social entrepreneurs. USADF's investments increase incomes, revenues, and jobs through grant investments and market-based solutions to poverty. USADF creates pathways to prosperity for marginalized populations and underserved communities continent-wide. To learn more, visit

About the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT

The Legatum Center at MIT was founded in 2007 on the strong belief that entrepreneurs and their innovation-driven solutions are critical to advancing economic prosperity that is both sustainable and inclusive across global growth markets. We mentor and build the capacity of emerging and established entrepreneurs by equipping them with the practical skills, systems thinking and leadership values they need to build scalable businesses, transform systems and drive lasting change in their communities.  In addition to supporting entrepreneurs, the Center gathers lessons and produces actionable insights to inform and advance innovation-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems globally.

For more info Donovan A Beck Communications and Engagement Coordinator, Center for Development and Entrepreneurship (719) 351-5435