Sunday, April 06, 2008

Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships

Below are several fellowships offered in the field of social entrepreneurship. Please share any that I've missed.

Ashoka fellows are provided with a living stipend for an average of three years, allowing them to focus full-time on building their institutions and spreading their ideas. Fellows must be nominated by a third-party, based on the following criteria: (1) a new idea, (2) creativity, (3) entrepreneurial quality, (4) social impact of the idea, (5) ethical fiber.

Echoing Green
Echoing Green is one of the only organizations solely dedicated to investing in early-stage social entrepreneurs. The organization maximizes the likelihood of success for nonprofit innovators by providing up to $90,000 over two years, plus comprehensive technical assistance and consulting support. 20 applicants are selected each year, based on the criteria that (1) the applicant is an emerging social entrepreneur, (2) the applicant's plan will result in a sustainable organization, and (3) the applicant can clearly articulate their vision for social change.

Draper Richards Foundation
Draper Richards Fellows are people who possess the unique combination of dedication to social change and the management skills of a seasoned executive. They have intense energy and passion for their social cause. Fellowships are unrestricted funds to U.S.-based organizations at the beginning of their development (i.e., earned 501(c)(3) status less than three years ago). The foundation receives and reviews applications throughout the year and award grants throughout the year based on (1) creativity, (2) entrepreneurship, (3) collaboration, and (4) principles.

Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, economic and social equity, or peace and security. The Skoll Awards provide later-stage, or mezzanine, funding, which is generally structured as a $1 million award paid out over three years. Programs submitted for consideration should have a track record of no less than three years.

Acumen Fund
Acumen Fund’s one-year fellowships begin with eight weeks of intensive leadership training in their New York City office. Fellows then spend 9 months working with one of Acumen Fund's portfolio organizations in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India or Pakistan. For the last month, fellow return to New York City to share experiences and lessons learned and to focus on job opportunities.


Abigail said...

Agora Fellows Program

Agora Partnerships is also offering a new program this year that will link skilled professionals who have an interest in sustainable business with emerging enterprises chosen from Agora's portfolio of promising entrepreneurs. Agora Fellows will assist nascent sustainable businesses with their strategy, operations and financial management processes during initial expansion.

The first portfolio enterprise to receive a Fellow will be Bambucasa ("Bamboo-house"), a start-up in Nicaragua that aims to build an environmentally sustainable and profitable bamboo construction business while also helping to alleviate a serious shortage of affordable housing. To read more about the program, read our recent posting about it on!

Ryan Gunderson said...

Thanks, Abigail!

David Stoker said...

You might also consider a spin off from Ashoka that focuses on supporting young people as social entrepreneurs called Youth Venture.

Anonymous said...

Also check out NYU Reynolds

Jessica S. said...

Another great program to consider is called the Compass Fellowship. This takes 15 freshmen fellows each year through an intensive social entrepreneurial program that offers business skill training, provides an internship opportunity and each fellow even receives seed capital to launch a social venture.

The fellowship is offered by Compass Partners, an entirely student-run organization based out of DC that also offers a social venture incubator. These guys are expanding too!

Check it out:

Zenia Tata said...

Hi Ryan,
This post needs to be updated with several dynamic fellowship programs that have emerged within the last 3 years. Here's what i would add to your list: Mulago, Kauffman, Unreasonable Institute and NextBillion.

Kalsoom said...

Hi Ryan-

Great list so far - I'd also add Pop Tech's Social Innovation Fellowship:

Also the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship for Muslim and Jewish social entrepreneurs:

Starting Bloc + TED fellowships should also be on the list. Hope that helps!

Matías said...

Great post. Thanks, Ryan & commenters.

Raela Drigger said...

The list given by Ryan and the ones given by those who left comments here are great organizations for people who are looking to venture into social entrepreneurship. This is also a good opportunity to learn something about innovation. Who knows? Maybe you'll be able to learn something and create great ideas in your training experience.

Anonymous said...

Also the IDEX Fellowship in Social Enterprise is another great program. This fellowship is a 10 month field placement in India and Ghana for recent college grads. It's funded and managed by Gray Ghost Ventures and Gray Matters Capital Foundation.

Aaryaman said...

Here's one for startups (profit or nonprofit) based in Austin.