Sponsored by: Legatum Center at MIT

Seed Grants are available through the generosity of the Legatum Center’s supporters so that MIT students may explore innovation-driven entrepreneurship opportunities in the developing world. By supporting early-stage entrepreneurial leaders at MIT, the Seed Grant Program enables students to experience opportunities on the ground so they are prepared to address real challenges and create solutions that have the potential to drive economic and social progress in frontier markets.

The Legatum Center offers Seed Grant application and funding cycles for the Independent Activities Period and summer vacation.

In order to be eligible for a Seed Grant, applicants must be current MIT students:

  • Enrolled as a student in an MIT degree program at the time of application and enrolled as an MIT student at the time of Seed Grant funded travel and/or prototype construction.
  • Committed to exploring opportunities for innovation-driven entrepreneurship and pursuing a venture during their time as an MIT student and after graduation
  • Seed Grant awards must be used and travel vouchers must be completed before the student graduates from his or her MIT degree program.

The Legatum Center does not award Seed Grants for travel to High or Extreme risk countries, cities, or regions as described in the MIT Travel Risk Policy

The Legatum Center seeks self-motivated visionaries who are exploring opportunities for high-impact entrepreneurship in the developing world. Applicants may be in either ideation or exploration or execution mode — actively building prototypes and piloting their models.

With a Legatum Center Seed Grant you may:

  • Travel to a prospective market to learn more about your customers’ challenge(s) and the local business context;
  • Conduct primary market research or pilot a beta version of your product or service with your customer market in order to learn how well the product or service addresses a challenge;
  • Explore opportunities to adapt an innovation to increase access to services, generate employment, and spread prosperity across developing markets


The Summer 2018 Seed Grant application is now open.

Application Deadline: March 15, 2018

For more information and to apply, visit the Legatum Center website.