Request For Expression Of Interest From Tech Hubs And Accelerators To Implement The Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship

Posted 11 months ago


The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian Foundation and one of the world’s largest foundations, with a mission to advance education and financial inclusion. It works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is an independent organization and separate from the company. Its policies, operations and programs are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership.


The Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning drives the innovative use of technology to improve access to quality education, particularly for the most underserved communities. The Centre works with a range of actors—including innovation hubs, EdTech entrepreneurs, policymakers, researchers, educators, and learners—to support the effective and impactful integration of technology in education, including the development, deployment and scale-up of promising EdTech innovations that boost learning and strengthen the education system.

You can download and read the Centre’s three-year strategic roadmap here.


The Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship is an entrepreneurship acceleration program designed to support promising, African EdTech ventures. Implemented in partnership with innovation hubs and EdTech accelerators across Africa, the Fellowship provides select EdTech companies with critical business and financial support, as well as insight into the science of learning, preparing them for scale, sustainability, and impact. The Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship was launched in 2019 by the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning and supported 12 African EdTech companies from seven countries in its first year, reaching over 800,000 learners. The goal of the Centre is to partner with 12 Tech Hubs to support over 400 EdTech companies and reach at least 1.8 million young people by 2025.



The Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning is seeking to partner with African Tech Hubs that have demonstrated the ability to incubate and accelerate startup companies, preferably EdTech companies. The Tech Hubs will work with the Foundation to identify and scale high-potential African EdTech companies focused on improving education at all levels, particularly for the most underserved communities, including out-of-school learners. In addition, the Tech Hubs will serve as centres of excellence bringing together EdTech stakeholders to advance EdTech products and solutions. It’s therefore important that the Hubs have an already established and healthy relationship with the Ministry of Education and other education stakeholders in their respective countries of operation.


The key objectives of the Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship are to:

  • Recruit High-Potential EdTech Companies: Each hub/accelerator will identify and support 36 growth-stage EdTech companies over three years (i.e., 12 EdTech companies per year) to participate in the Fellowship.
  • Deliver Quality Acceleration Support: Each hub/accelerator will provide selected EdTech companies with holistic support to scale their businesses, enhance the educational impact and inclusivity of their products, and improve their investment readiness and long-term financial sustainability.
  • Enhance Learning outcomes: Each hub/accelerator, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), will train EdTech companies in the science of learning, helping them incorporate these evidence-based principles into their products and solutions to impact learning outcomes.
  • Facilitate Market Access and User Reach: Each hub/accelerator will guide the selected EdTech companies in developing market-ready business cases and facilitate market access with the goal of expanding their impact by attracting at least 8,000 new end-users (learners) every year for three years.
  • Foster Ecosystem Building and Collaboration: Each hub/accelerator will help to nurture the growth of the African EdTech ecosystem by cultivating engagements between EdTech entrepreneurs and key stakeholders including governments through line Ministries of Education and ICT and their implementing agencies. They will also capitalize on community engagements, fostering collaboration among key players, and building a vibrant network of EdTech enthusiasts.
  • Provide Additional Support Services: Each hub/accelerator will support the selected EdTech companies with a range of support services such as co-working spaces, design labs, mentorship opportunities, funding avenues, and a vast network of relevant stakeholders.


Any hub/accelerator interested in partnering with the Mastercard Foundation to implement the Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Duly incorporated, validly existing, and in good standing, under the laws of an African jurisdiction.
  • Have its principal place of business in Africa.
  • Demonstrate a proven record of effectively supporting technology companies in Africa.
  • Demonstrate a proven record of working with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders in promoting EdTech.
  • A minimum operational experience of at least five years.
  • Must be African-owned and/or African-led.
  • Possess a solid understanding of monitoring and evaluation methodologies, with the ability to collect and analyze data.


Interested organizations are asked to submit an Expression of Interest that is no more than five pages long and that articulates how your organization will meet the goals of the Fellowship detailed above and contribute to the work of the Mastercard Foundation Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning described in the Strategic Roadmap Briefing Note, which can be found here.

Expressions of interest should meet the mandatory requirements listed below:

  1. Describe the proposed program and its objectives, including how it aligns with the Strategic Roadmap Briefing Note and how it will improve or strengthen child or youth education. (Note: The Mastercard Foundation defines “youth” as aged up to 35 years).
  2. Describe the program approach and the intended impact (noting any underlying assumptions).
  3. Describe the different elements of your program design or model, the levels the proposed program aims to create change (individual, community, institution and/or system level) and how. If relevant, include how the proposed program may have ripples of impact (individual, household, and community at large) beyond the target population, and how it contributes to resilience.
  4. Detail why the proposed program is particularly pertinent now.
  5. Provide an overview of expected program outcomes and impact on young people, especially young women. Include specific individuals/groups (e.g., young married women, refugees and displaced youth, young people with disabilities, low-income students, smallholder farmers, local training organizations, etc.) and who will benefit directly or indirectly from the proposed program.
  6. Describe key stakeholders who are critical to the successful delivery of the proposed program, including other implementing partner organizations, if any, who will be engaged to assist in program delivery.
  7. Describe the organization’s strengths and any previous experience and/or expertise that will help achieve program objectives. Include the proposed team, their size, and geographic location.
  8. Are there any other factors that are critical to success?


Interested organizations are invited to submit the following documents by August 27, 2023, here.

  1. An Expression of Interest response that addresses the above requirements (not exceeding five pages) submitted in Microsoft Word for review, collaborative discussion and must provide a single point of contact in your organization for all correspondence.
  2. A completed High-Level Budget reflecting the activities in the EOI. The template is accessible here.
  3. A completed High-Level Organizational Questionnaire and associated attachments. The template is accessible here.

For inquiries or clarifications, please write to


o   Application website opens: 7 Aug 2023

o   Deadline for application submission: 27 Aug 2023

o   Applications review and shortlisting: 28 Aug – 5 Sep 2023

o   Interview of twenty (20) shortlisted tech hubs: 11-22 Sep 2023

o   Notification to the six (6) finalist tech hubs: 25 Sep 2023


o Provision of program proposal templates to the selected six (6) tech hubs: 25 Sep 2023

o Deadline for submission of full program proposals from selected tech hubs:  25 Oct 2023

o Review & co-design process of full proposals with the selected tech hubs: 26 Oct – 30 Nov 2023

o Final proposal approval by Mastercard Foundation: 4 Dec 2023

o Contract begins first quarter of 2024


Step 1: Expression of Interest

Submission Documents:

    • Expression of Interest Response
    • High-level Budget
    • High-level Organizational Questionnaire

Step 2: Foundation Review & Approval

Evaluation Criteria (see below):

    • Strategic Alignment
    • Experience
    • Program Design
    • Program Implementation
    • Budget

Step 3: Proposal Development

Submission Documents:

    • Proposal
    • Detailed budget
    • Detailed Organizational Questionnaire


Responses will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

Evaluation Criteria 


Strategic Alignment 

Evidence of alignment with the values of the Mastercard Foundation and the Strategic Roadmap Briefing Note with a clear plan for achieving the intended outcomes and impact. 


The organization has the expertise and experience to support program delivery. Relevant partnerships are proposed, and there is a demonstration of value-add for all partners included.

Program Design 

The program design is clear and coherent, responding to all the questions articulated in the Request for Expression of Interest. The design includes a clear understanding of the needs of the target group(s), operating context, and principles of diversity and inclusion. 

Program Implementation 

Partner has the capacity to deliver results to achieve the impact. Foundation due diligence requirements have been satisfied. 


Budget items are clearly aligned with activities and are in line with Foundation’s internal expectations as well as the specific country context. Efforts made to demonstrate value for money.



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