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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 idea for or an early-stage social enterprise.

We are currently recruiting for the 2022 to 2023 cohort. Take the eligiblity quiz to learn if you qualify. Learn more at greaterminnesota.net/fellows

Applications for the next cohort of the Fellowship will be accepted from May 24 to July 19, 2021. 

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 their social enterprise efforts at Greaterminnesota.net/fellows.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation has been added to the Fellowship for the 2022-2023 cohort. The application period will be May 24 to July 19, 2021. 

Learn more 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


Jeff Wig
Vice President for Entrepreneurship

(320) 631-2006


Laura Larson
Entrepreneurship Specialist
(320) 631-2064

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