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Ford Fund Fellowship

Empowering next-gen entrepreneurs to amplify impactful ventures.


Applications for the 2024 cohort will open in October.

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A Lifetime of Impact Begins

The Ford Fund Fellowship is a program designed to equip next-gen entrepreneurs with the skills, resources, and experience to grow the impactful ventures they are building. Ford Fund Fellows will learn advanced skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, have the opportunity to earn seed funding, garner experience, and build a global network, as they lay the foundation to empower many more individuals and transform their communities.

This program is offered with virtual and in-person components that allows fellows to take advantage of the global cohort while also focusing on creating local impact within their communities. Virtual programming includes Impact Series, workshops, and weekly check-ins. In-person programming includes Fellow-led Basecamps and a Fellow-led meetup.

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Applications for the 2024 Ford Fund Fellowship will launch in early Fall.

Is the Fellowship for you?

This program is ideal for entrepreneurs leading Problem-Solution Fit or Product-Market Fit stage ventures that are building impactful and scalable innovations. Ideal applicants will demonstrate a proven track record of innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership in their community.

Ford Fund Fellowship applicants must be able to commit to be part of the 16-week program. There is a 2-week intensive followed by 14-weeks of weekly programming. Ford Fund Fellows will be given a stipend and spend an additional 80–100 hours implementing a 2-day intensive program called Basecamp.

This is a fully-funded fellowship thanks to the generous support of Ford Motor Company Fund.

Program Elements

The Ford Fund Fellowship offers award-winning training, dedicated mentorship, and a dynamic peer community. We are here to to equip you with the skills and insights necessary to supercharge your venture and make a lasting impact.

Community & Network Building

Community is one of the pillars of the Ford Fund Fellowship experience. A diverse cohort of young leaders and entrepreneurs form partnerships, collaborations, and further their growth and impact as leaders in their community.

Venture Acceleration and Leadership Training

Including fundraising, team building, transformative communication, growth mindset, courage, resilience, creativity, and leadership. Ford Fund Fellows will be guided through the process of overcoming key challenges faced during the process of becoming transformative leaders and entrepreneurs.

Mentorship & Collaboration

Fellows are provided with multiple mentorship opportunities from business leaders, venture capitalists, and enterprise executives. Mentorship engagements include: Preceptor Advisory Board, Impact Speaker Series, Mentor Bonanza

On average each Ford Fund Fellow leading a venture impacts 2,234 individuals in their communities.

Ford Fund Fellowship Alumni Impact

Ford Fund Fellowship alumni have scaled impact organizations tackling various social and environmental issues, have been named as a Forbes 30 under 30 Social Impact entrepreneurs, and have hosted Basecamps impacting other promising entrepreneurs across the United States, China, Kenya, South Africa, and Mexico. 41 Fellows have created impact for over 950 entrepreneurs, through the Basecamps they run around the world and initiatives they help lead.


Holistic Wellness

Yasmar Cruz ’22, United States

Yasmar Cruz is a Puerto Rican born artist and educator based in New York City. She is the recipient of the Community Impact Award, for her holistic wellness initiative dedicated to BIPOC women at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yasmar is also the Founder of Danzartes, and her mission is to equip women with the skills and techniques they need to better their emotional and physical health through a combinination of yoga, dance, meditation, and coaching.


Matias Acosta ’22, Argentina

Matias Acosta is a Latin American social entrepreneur and thought leader from Mar del Plata, Argentina. He is the Founder of Shaping Horizons, a social edtech venture that upskills young people and corporate talent using research-based e-learning materials and team projects with impact. Matias has published 50+ articles and been cited 3,000+ times during his appointments at the University of Cambridge and UNDP.


Maya Zaken ’22, South Africa

Maya Zaken is an innovative entrepreneur from Knysna, South Africa. She holds an Honors degree in Economic Science with a background in philosophy and politics, that led her to engage in the human and sustainable development space. Maya is currently setting up a Black Soldier Fly farm called Philafeed, which aims to use profit for the purpose of driving circular economic activities, promote organic waste recycling processes, and create a sustainable agri-feed market.

At the end of the Ford Fund Fellowship,Fellows participate in a high-profile Summit event to share their progress and impact with a global audience.

Mike Schmidt, Director of Economic Mobility and Global Community Development of Ford Motor Company Fund, was the Keynote Speaker for the Ford Fund Fellowship 2022 Summit.

Interested in this program?

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Ford Motor Company Fund is the corporate foundation and philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Watson Institute is the leading accelerator for next-generation impact entrepreneurs. Watson Institute shares Ford Fund’s belief that the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs can transform their communities by joining a committed group of peers and mentors, receiving training and seed funding, and building a global network. Through the Ford Fund Fellowship, we are excited to scale the impact of Ford Fund and Watson Institute’s partnership to date by empowering 25 Fellows and over 750 young leaders and entrepreneurs globally.