Call for Applications – Young Founders Programme Autumn 2023: Westerwelle Foundation

Call for Applications – Young Founders Programme Autumn 2023

About Westerwelle Foundation

The Westerwelle Foundation for International Understanding is a nonprofit organization based in Berlin, Germany. Our mission is to create equal opportunities for all by uplifting emerging markets through empowered entrepreneurship.

The Young Founders Programme is an entrepreneurship programme focused on accelerating startups from Latin America, Africa, and Asia. During the 6-month programme the startups get the chance to grow their businesses while interacting with their international mentors, matched buddies, gain practical knowledge from peers, and receive valuable resources from the expert sessions. 50 young founders from emerging markets shall be given the chance to expand their network and practical knowledge while simultaneously applying it in their fast-growing ventures.

We’re committed to measuring and reporting on our impact each year. Here you can find our annual Impact reports, which highlight the progress we’ve made towards our goals and the positive outcomes we’ve achieved for entrepreneurs and communities. We believe in transparency and accountability, and we’re proud to share these reports with you.


Guido Westerwelle and Ralph Dommermuth founded the Westerwelle Foundation together in 2013 in order to create more opportunities for young people around the world. The values of our founders rest in everything that the foundation does with a focus on the promotion of fostering democracy, market-economy, rule-of-law, and tolerance

Dr. Guido Westerwelle

Dr. Westerwelle was born in 1961. He grew up in Bonn. He studied law at university, received a doctorate in law and worked as an attorney. He joined the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in 1980. Guido Westerwelle was Secretary General of the FDP from 1994 to 2001. He was elected Chairman of the FDP from 2001 to 2011. From 1996 to 2013, Guido Westerwelle was a member of the German Bundestag and from 2006 to 2009, President of the FDP parliamentary group and leader of the opposition. From 2009 to 2013 Guido Westerwelle was Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs and from 2009 to 2011, Deputy Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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Ralph Dommermuth

In 1988, Ralph Dommermuth founded 1&1 EDV Marketing GmbH. 1&1 was offering marketing services for software and telecommunications services. In 1996, 1&1 started the development of its own internet services. At the same time, it began to invest in young internet start-ups. In 1998, Dommermuth went public with 1&1 and registered as the first internet enterprise at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In February 2000 Dommermuth renamed his enterprise group to United Internet, which marked the end of the realignment process towards the internet sector. Along with 1&1, it includes GMX, WEB.DE,, Versatel, Fasthosts, Strato, arsys, InternetX, United Domains, affilinet and Sedo.

Call for Applications – Young Founders Programme Autumn 2023

The Westerwelle Young Founders Programme (YFP) is a six-month fellowship for 25 leaders uplifting emerging and developing markets towards a sustainable future. We offer targeted support to scale our founders’ ventures and develop their leadership abilities, with the following programme plan:

  • Kick-Off Conference: A two-day digital kick-off conference will take place on September 4 and 5, 2023.
  • Remote Programme: From September – February, the Young Founders will receive six months of support including a personal mentor, monthly peer learning sessions, monthly expert workshops and networking opportunities with corporates and investors.
  • Berlin Conference: The ten best performing Young Founders will be invited to a five-day conference in Berlin in May 2024. During this conference, the founders will have the opportunity to pitch in front of investors, participate in workshops, join networking events and get insights into the German start-up scene.

Selection Criteria: Call for Applications – Young Founders Programme Autumn 2023

We are looking for entrepreneurs with high potential for impact and growth to become leaders of a sustainable future, with the following criteria:

  • You are a citizen or resident of a developing or emerging country.
  • You have recently (in the last five years) started a for-profit company focused on developing or emerging markets.
  • Your company possesses a scalable business model that has generated revenue or secured a first round of external funding.
  • You or your business possesses disruptive qualities that can increase the quality, impact or inclusiveness of the industry.
  • You possess a good working knowledge of English.
  • You are available to attend the digital kick-off conference and can make time to participate in programme activities for the six months.

Application Process: Call for Applications – Young Founders Programme Autumn 2023

The following application will provide our Programme Team with an understanding of your startup and profile. Please have the following key elements ready:

European Union Traineeships in the EU institutions, bodies and agencies

  • Your startup pitch deck
  • Basic financial information (i.e. revenues, funding)
  • Your LinkedIn profile and/or CV

With these on hand, the application will take approximately 20 minutes. Only complete applications will be reviewed.

Application deadline: Sunday, August 13 at 23:59 CET

Interviews with shortlisted candidates: August 16-29, 2023

Notification of all applicants: August 31

If you want to learn more about the programme, you can join the Info Call which is taking place on July 25, 14:00 CEST. Register here to receive the link to join the call:

For technical issues ONLY (i.e. cannot submit form): please email 

We look forward to learning about you!




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