2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
Equipping courageous leaders and entrepreneurs supporting highly marginalized, refugee, or displaced communities to create systemic change.
Final Deadline: August 18th, 2023
2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
The Western Union Foundation Fellowship is a venture and leadership accelerator program for entrepreneurs and community leaders from and working with highly marginalized, refugee, and forcibly displaced communities around the globe. This virtual and global program is designed to equip these next-generation entrepreneurs and leaders with the skills and experience to increase access to economic opportunity, build valuable networks and resources, and transform their communities.
This is a fully-funded program thanks to the support of the Western Union Foundation.
Dates & Details: 2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
- Dates: October 2nd, 2023 to February 15th, 2024 (16-weeks of programming with a 2-week break in December)
- Format: Weekly virtual workshops with localized gatherings and events when possible (6-8 hours per week per week time commitment)
- Immersive & Orientation: 2-week virtual Immersive starting October 2nd, 2023 (20–25 hours per week time commitment)
- Workshops & Training: Modules include Foundations, Data & Metrics, Go-To-Market, Funding, Team Management, and Pitch
- Impact Series: The world’s foremost leaders, entrepreneurs, and practitioners are invited to our programs to share their entrepreneurial journey and experience as well as mentor the Watson Institute and Fellows.
- Basecamp: 2+ day workshops designed to Fellows’ communities to ideate solutions, design business models, and compellingly communicate their businesses and organizations to an external audience.
- Summit: Culminating community event where Fellows pitch to local leaders, funders, and entrepreneurs (February 13, 2024)
- Seed Funding: $45,000 in seed funding will be distributed among select Western Union Foundation Fellows based on progress and impact throughout the Fellowship
Eligibility: 2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
- Who You Are: You are an entrepreneur or community leader from and working with highly marginalized, refugee, and forcibly displaced communities around the globe.
- What You Do: You are leading an early-stage social impact venture or community initiative with a proven track record of impact, entrepreneurship, and leadership in their community. We define early-stage ventures as those that have a working prototype/ MVP product or service with active customers or beneficiaries and demonstrated impact and revenue. Ideally, you are exploring your product-market fit.
- Where You Create Impact: Applicants from or are working in the following countries will be given priority: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, United Kingdom,United States
- What You Are Looking For: You are looking for expert-led entrepreneurial training, access to funding opportunities, and a vast network of mentorship to accelerate your leadership skills and venture impact.
- What You Will Accomplish: With the support of the Watson Institute team, you will gain a roadmap of how to grow and scale your work and impact. In addition, you will create impact through the facilitation of an impact workshop and training (called a Basecamp)in your community and for your stakeholders. You will receive a stipend, playbook, and team support to make this happen.
Application Process: 2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
1. Applications Submitted: Complete the online application: The online application contains 4 short essay questions and should take about 45 minutes to complete. The final deadline to submit your application is August 18th, 2023.
2. First Round Review: Our admissions team will review applications on a rolling basis starting July 7th, 2023. We review applications in two batches on a rolling basis and encourage you to submit your application early. Applications received prior to July 28th will be reviewed by August 14th. Applications received after July 28th will be reviewed by September 7th.
3. Interview: Qualified applicants will be invited to a 20-minute Zoom interview. Interviews will begin July 10th, 2023.
4. Admissions Committee Review: The strongest applicant profiles will be shared with our external admissions committee for final review.
5. Acceptances Announced: The admissions team will begin sending out final acceptances and fellowship awards in mid August. Applications received prior to July 28th will receive their final admissions decision by August 14th. Applications received after July 28th will receive their final admissions decisions by September 7th.
6. Fellows Confirm & Enroll: The last step to finalize enrollment is to review and sign Watson’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Program Elements: 2023 Western Union Foundation Fellowship
The Western Union Foundation Fellowship provides award-winning training, committed mentorship, and a powerful community of peers to equip Fellows with the tools and knowledge they need to support their venture’s continued development and impact.
Basecamps are 12 + hours of intensive workshops designed to help rising entrepreneurs from each of the Western Union Foundation Fellows’ communities to ideate solutions, design business models, and compellingly communicate their businesses and organizations to an external audience. As a key deliverable of the Western Union Foundation Fellowship, all Fellows will facilitate a Basecamp event during their time in the program.
The Watson Institute team will facilitate training workshops, share the Watson Institute Basecamp curriculum and planning materials, and provide a stipend to help organize and facilitate this event. Fellows are empowered through their training to tailor the Basecamp structure and outcomes to their desired participant community.
The Western Union Foundation is a separate charitable corporation from The Western Union Company that receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, consumers, and business partners. Watson Institute is the leading accelerator for next-generation entrepreneurs. Watson Institute shares Western Union Foundation’s belief that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity. Launched in 2021, the Western Union Fellowship Foundation has impacted worked with 86 Fellows and impacted over 1,750 young leaders and entrepreneurs to date.
Ideal candidates for the Western Union Foundation Fellowship are entrepreneurs or community leaders from and working with highly marginalized, refugee, and forcibly displaced communities around the globe. Applicants from or are working in the following countries will be given priority: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States
Fellows can earn up to $6,000 in seed funding, which is subject to review based on their attendance, participation, and performance throughout the program. In addition, all Fellows are eligible to receive a stipend to support the implementation of their Basecamp.
For the Western Union Foundation Fellowship, we receive a high volume of applications each year and have a 3% selectivity rate for this program.
Fellows facilitate a Basecamp event in their communities during their time in the program. They will also the option to have meet ups with other program Fellows in their locations.
We receive a high volume of applications and work diligently to get you a response as quickly as possible. Any application we receive prior to July 28th will receive a final response by August 14th. All applications received after July 28th will receive a response by September 7th.
Yes. While a preference will be given to those who create impact in the listed countries, we will consider all strong applications from entrepreneurs working to support refugee, migrant, and displaced persons populations.
For all other questions, please reach out to Milena Kirillova at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Union Foundation Fellows are Making an Impact. 86 Fellows and alumni from 24 different countries have created impact for over 1,750 entrepreneurs, through the Basecamps they run around the world and initiatives they help lead.