Career Advice/ Entrepreneurship/ Higher Education

10 Fellowship Programs for Entrepreneurs

A fellowship program is a great way for entrepreneurs to get hands on experience, grow their networks, and develop their professional initiatives.

​Whether you’re interested in connecting with investors, or need assistance taking your startup to the next level, an entrepreneurial fellowship may be just the vehicle you need to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.

There are tons of fellowship opportunities offered through colleges and universities.  If you are currently enrolled as an undergrad or graduate student, reach out to your academic advisor or business department faculty and request information on available entrepreneurship fellowship opportunities through the institution.

For those not enrolled in an academic institution offering an entrepreneurial fellowship, here’s a listing of fellowship opportunities that you may be eligible for:

Ashoka Fellowship Program

If social entrepreneurship with a global impact is your passion, the Ashoka Fellowship may be the program for you. Ashoka Fellows work in over 70 countries around the globe in every area of human need. From nomination to election as a Fellow, candidates go through an extensive series of in-depth interviews, a judging panel, and a final executive board vote. The three year fellowship includes a living stipend to cover all expenses.

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Bluhm/Helfand Social Innovation Fellowship

Created in 2011 by Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand as a way of advancing the next generation of social entrepreneurs, the BHSI Fellows are hosted in Chicago for Chicago Ideas Week (October), all expenses paid. Fellows gain exposure for their organization, establish a community of support, and receive a $10,000 financial contribution for their venture. All applicants must be 35 years of age or younger, may be from anywhere in the world, and ventures may be for-profit or not-for-profit entities.

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Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program

Dog Tag Inc. provides a transformative opportunity for veterans with disabilities, spouses, and caregivers through education from Georgetown University and experiential learning in their small business venture, Dog Tag Bakery. According to their website, Dog Tag Inc.’s unique fellowship opportunity, “…goes beyond education and job training to ensure our fellows are fully supported to achieve their goals.” If you a member of the veteran community, interested in starting your own business, this is a fellowship worth checking out!

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Founder Institute’s Girls in Tech Fellowship

All females across the globe can apply to the Founder Institute for free, and the top technical female applicant in each of their 150+ cities will receive free access to our idea-stage accelerator program, office hours with a top female entrepreneur, and other free resources to help them launch a company. Any motivated female tech entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, can apply for the Fellowship in any Founder Institute program before that program’s Early Application Deadline. Click herefor a listing of programs currently accepting applications.

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Kauffman Fellowship

Founded by pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Kauffman Foundation offers a variety of entrepreneurship focused programs that are worth checking out. The Kauffman Fellowship program involves working full time at a venture capital firm, allowing the fellow to experience case-based, structured educational curriculum with an individual development plan, executive coaching, mentoring by a senior partner, and peer learning and networking — all with a focus on giving back and one’s responsibility as a leader in venture capital. If “big” entrepreneurship is your calling, it’s worth checking into.

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Inspiring Capital MBA Fellowship

If you’re a MBA student interested in moving into the social entrepreneurship sector, Inspiring Capital’s Fellowship may be for you.  It’s a 10-week, paid fellowship based in New York City that trains MBA students to use their business expertise for social good and staffs them on a project for a high-performing not-for-profit or social venture to help the organizations develop sustainable business strategies. Fellows receive expert training, hands-on experience, individual career guidance, access to the Inspiring Capital network, and a stipend of $3,000 for the summer.

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Presidential Innovation Fellows

Founded by President Barack Obama, the Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program recruits a diverse group of some of the nation’s most talented and creative civic-minded innovators, developers, designers and entrepreneurs who join the Federal Government for a one-year entrepreneurial tour-of-duty. For 12 months, selected innovators collaborate and work with change agents inside government on high-impact initiatives aimed at saving lives, saving taxpayer money, fueling our economy, and making the government more user-friendly.

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Open Hands Fellowship for Young Women Entrepreneurs

 Open Hands’ two week entrepreneurship boot camp and pitch day provided an opportunity to amplify the impact of 20 young female entrepreneurs from the United States and Jordan. The program offers entrepreneurial training, mentoring, team projects, and a pitch competition with more than $150,000 in grant prizes. In addition to the program, fellows are provided a year of complimentary membership to a professional women’s network.

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Thiel Fellowship 

If you’re under the age of 22, and college just isn’t your thing, consider applying the Thiel Fellowship Program. Founded in 2011 by technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the fellowship is a two-year program for “young people who want to build new things”. Thiel Fellows bypass or defer college to receive a $100,000 grant and support from the Thiel Foundation’s network of founders, investors, and scientists and explore their entrepreneurial talents.

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Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship Program

The Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship Program is available to early-stage entrepreneurs of any age. Selected fellows receives a three day workshop at Tory Burch headquarters, one-year long support from the Tory Burch Foundation, a $10,000 grant to advance their business education, and a chance to win a $100,000 grant investment from Tory and a panel of industry leaders.

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