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Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellowship

Equipping next-generation Mexican entrepreneurs to scale impactful ventures.

Application Deadline: September 8th, 2023

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The ‘Rising Leaders of Mexico’ Fellowship is a program designed to equip next-gen entrepreneurs from Mexico with the skills, resources, and experience to scale the impactful ventures they are building. Fellows will join the Western Union Foundation Fellowship program alongside 45 other entrepreneurs to learn advanced skills in entrepreneurship and leadership, have the opportunity to earn a venture development stipend, gain experience, and build a global network, as they lay the foundation to empower many more individuals and transform their communities.

This is a fully-funded fellowship thanks to the generous support of Watson Institute partners Robin Luff and Jane McConnell. 

Dates & Details

  • Dates: This is a 16-week program with weekly programming from October 2nd to February 15th, 2024.
  • Format: 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
  • Immersive & Orientation: The program launches with an in-person Immersive in Boulder, Colorado. The Immersive will take place starting October 2nd, 2023.
  • Workshops & Training: Modules include Foundations, Data & Metrics, Go-To-Market, Funding, Team Management, and Pitch
  • Basecamp: 2-day impact workshops, called Basecamps, led by Fellows to increase access and opportunities in their communities
  • Summit: Culminating event where Fellows pitch to local leaders, funders, and entrepreneurs.
  • Venture Development Stipend: $10,000 in venture development stipend will be distributed among the Fellows based on progress and impact throughout the program.


  • Who You Are & What You Do: You are leading an early-stage social impact venture or community initiative with a proven track record of impact, entrepreneurship, and leadership in their community. We define early-stage ventures as those that have a working prototype/ MVP product or service with active customers or beneficiaries and demonstrated impact and revenue. Ideally, you are exploring your product-market fit.
  • Where You Create Impact: Entrepreneur from Mexico with ventures in the Product Fit or Scaling stage.
  • What You Are Looking For: You are looking for expert-led entrepreneurial training, access to funding opportunities, and a vast network of mentorship to accelerate your leadership skills and venture impact.
  • What You Will Accomplish: With the support of the Watson Institute team, you will gain a roadmap of how to grow and scale your work and impact. In addition, you will create impact through the facilitation of an impact workshop and training (called a Basecamp)in your community and for your stakeholders. You will receive a stipend, playbook, and team support to make this happen.

Application Process

1. Applications Submitted: Complete the online application: The online application contains 4 short essay questions and should take about 45 minutes to complete. The final deadline to submit your application is August 18th, 2023.

2. First Round Review: Our admissions team will review applications on a rolling basis starting July 7th, 2023. We review applications in two batches on a rolling basis and encourage you to submit your application early. Applications received prior to July 28th will be reviewed by August 14th. Applications received after July 28th will be reviewed by September 7th.

3. Interview: Qualified applicants will be invited to a 20-minute Zoom interview. Interviews will begin July 10th, 2023.

4. Admissions Committee Review: The strongest applicant profiles will be shared with our external admissions committee for final review.

5. Acceptances Announced: The admissions team will begin sending out final acceptances and fellowship awards in mid August. Applications received prior to July 28th will receive their final admissions decision by August 14th. Applications received after July 28th will receive their final admissions decisions by September 7th.

6. Fellows Confirm & Enroll: The last step to finalize enrollment is to review and sign Watson’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Program Elements

The Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellowship provides award-winning training, committed mentorship, and a powerful community of peers to equip Fellows with the tools and knowledge they need to support their venture’s continued development and impact.


Grow your leadership skills, build local partnerships, and expand your impact by facilitating a Watson Institute Basecamp in your community.

Basecamps are 12 + hours of intensive workshops designed to help rising entrepreneurs from each of the Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellows’ communities to ideate solutions, design business models, and compellingly communicate their businesses and organizations to an external audience. As a key deliverable of the Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellowship, all Fellows will facilitate a Basecamp event during their time in the program.

The Watson Institute team will facilitate training workshops, share the Watson Institute Basecamp curriculum and planning materials, and provide a stipend to help organize and facilitate this event. Fellows are empowered through their training to tailor the Basecamp structure and outcomes to their desired participant community.

Learn More

On average each Fellow leading a venture impacts 32,130 individuals in their communities.

Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellows are Making an Impact

10 Fellows from Mexico created impact for over 200 entrepreneurs through the Basecamps they run around the world and initiatives they help lead.


STEM Education

Martin Morales Trejo ’23, Querétaro, Mexico

Martín Morales is the Founder of a non-profit civil association that provides STEM educational activities and programs. Through workshops and conferences, students are trained to identify and develop solutions to problems within their communities using knowledge of STEM to create sustainable impact. To date, the association has served over 2000 students across middle school, high school, and university levels.

Ethical Fashion

Laura Melendrez ’23, Mexico City

Laura Melendez is the Founder of Amor & Rosas, an ethical fashion brand that bridges modern designs with hand embroidery and eco-friendly materials. The brand provides well-paid employment opportunities for women who come from underprivileged backgrounds. They currently partner with 55 indigenous artisans across Mexico who supply hand embroidery, and they employ 40 women in Mexico City to design and manufacture their products.

Plastic Waste

Walter Mata ’23, Monterrey, Mexico

Walter Mata is the Founder of WAS Company. WAS Company transforms plastic waste to create new polymer composites with high adaptability properties and characteristics to fulfill structural and non-structural building materials. The materials are used to build social housing, schools, medical clinics, and soccer stadiums. The technology has been tested and approved in both laboratories and the field and sales are currently growing at 200%.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eligibility for this program?

Entrepreneurs from Mexico leading an early-stage social impact venture or community initiative with a proven track record of impact, entrepreneurship, and leadership in their community.

What are the eligibility requirements for the Venture Development Stipend?

Fellows have the potential to receive a venture development stipend of up to $4,000, contingent on their active participation in the program, leading a Basecamp, and successfully completing the workshop-related checkpoint assignments.

How selective is this program?

Our program is selective. Each cycle we receive hundreds of applications for approximately 10 spots.

What do the in-person components entail?

Fellows will travel to Boulder, Colorado for a 10-day in-person immersive to build community and learn about key programmatic information. The program’s culminating event–Summit will be held virtually. Fellows will have the opportunity to highlight their work to an external audience comprised of their network as well as Watson Institute networks.

How soon will I hear back after the interview?

You will receive an admission decision within two weeks after your interview.

What is a Fellowship?

A fellowship is a fully-funded scholarship to attend the Rising Leaders of Mexico Fellowship powered by Watson Institute. These fellowships are highly selective and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage applicants to apply early.

Can I apply if my country is not listed under the priority countries?

No, this Fellowship is reserved for applicants from or are working in Mexico