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Initiators Fellowship Program


Empowering Entrepreneurs to Make a Difference

The Initiators Fellowship, a partnership among four of the Minnesota Initiative Foundations, is a two-year suite of supports—including training, mentoring and funding—for beginning or early stage social entrepreneurs in Central, Southwest, Northwest and West Central Minnesota. These Greater Minnesota leaders are helping to build the economy and quality of life in their hometowns by developing purpose-driven, for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations that have a positive social or environmental impact. The Fellowship is a one-of-a-kind opportunity worth considering if you’re a hometown leader (or hope to be) and have an early-stage social enterprise idea.

Recruitment for the 2024-2025 cohort will begin in spring 2023. Sign up for the newsletter to receive Initiators Fellowship program status updates.

Learn more about the program and social entrepreneurship by visiting greaterminnesota.net/fellows or by contacting Chris Fastner, Initiators Fellowship program manager, at initiators(at)ifound.org or (320) 631-2019.

The current cohort of Initiators Fellows graduates in December 2021. These seven individuals were selected from a pool of 80 applicants across the 41 counties of the Initiative Foundation, Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative regions. Learn more about the current Fellows

The 2022-2023 cohort was selected from a pool of 85 applicants across the 53 counties and six sovereign tribal nations of the Initiative Foundation, Northwest Minnesota FoundationSouthwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative regions. Learn more about the 2022-2023 Fellows

Learn more about the program by visiting Greaterminnesota.net/fellows or contact Chris Fastner, Initiators Fellowship program manager, at (320) 631-2019.


The Initiative Foundation would like to thank the many generous partners who aided in the development and funding of the Initiators Fellowship program. Special thanks to Granite Partners, a mission-driven private investment and holding company combining long-term business growth with a dedication to community well-being, for working in concert with the Initiative Foundation to develop the Initiators Fellowship program and for providing initial and ongoing funding that supports the program.
Support also comes from the Bush Foundation and Sourcewell.


Learn more about the Initiators Fellowship on GreaterMinnesota.net/fellows

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Chris Fastner
Initiators Fellowship Program Manager
(320) 631-2019


Brian Voerding
Vice President for Inclusive Entrepreneurship
(320) 631-2006


Laura Larson
Entrepreneurship Specialist
(320) 631-2064

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