Deadline Approaching For Initiative Foundation’s “Initiators Fellowship”
The deadline is approaching to apply for a unique fellowship through the Initiative Foundation. The foundation’s Initiators Fellowship will award up to seven “social entrepreneurs” with training, mentoring, guidance, and financial support.
The concept of a “social enterprise” is a commercial organization that is trying to do something good with its business.
“It’s basically businesses that have a higher social purpose wired into their purpose,” said Jeff Wig, Vice President for Entrepreneurship at the Initiative Foundation.
That is what the Initiative Foundation is trying to harbor and promote, particularly in rural areas, with the Initiators Fellowship.
“This is a great opportunity for people in this 41-county region, rural Minnesota, to develop their leadership, to pursue their dream of a social business,” explained Chris Fastner, Initiators Fellowship program manager. “Whether that business is a non-profit or a for-profit.”
The idea for the fellowship came in 2015 when a group of individuals from the Initiative Foundation, St. Cloud State University and Granite Equity Partners gathered to talk about entrepreneurship and innovation in Greater Minnesota.
“They gathered to talk about entrepreneurship, to talk about innovation, and to talk about greater Minnesota leadership and how could they marry all that together into some sort of program that fosters these types of leaders,” added Wig.
The fellowship awards $30,000 annually for two years, plus wrap-around training, mentoring, and guidance to the fellows and their social enterprise idea.
“The point of providing all these supports to candidates is to give them, sort of, the freedom and the bandwidth to pursue their dream,” Fastner said.
This is the second time the Initiative Foundation has organized the Initiators Fellowship. During the first fellowship, one of the fellows awarded was Quinn Nystrom from Baxter. Nystrom used the fellowship to develop a national consultancy to promote patient perspectives for people with diabetes.
With the fellowship, the Initiative Foundation hopes is to foster the next generation of leaders that make a difference.
“We know there are hidden gems in every community. There are people in every community who are dedicated to leading within greater Minnesota and have a passion that they want to pursue,” added Wig.
Social innovators have until July 15th to apply to see if they can become one of the up to seven new fellows. For more information or to apply, visit https://greaterminnesota.net/fellows/about-us/.