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The Truist Foundation Fellowship

Equipping Atlanta and greater Georgia based entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofit founders with the skills and network to scale their impact.

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Meet the 2023 Truist Foundation Fellows

The Truist Foundation Fellowship, powered by Watson Institute, is a 16-week program that equips entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofit founders  with technical training, directly applicable business skills, and financial literacy to increase their positive impact within the communities they support through job creation and economic development. This Fellowship is for individuals impacting or serving emerging markets across rural and urban Georgia.

Dates & Details

  • This is a 16-week program with weekly programming from February 11th – May 30th.
  • The program launches with a in-person 1-day immersive experience in Atlanta, Georgia. The immersive will take place on February 11th, 2023, 9am – 7pm ET.
  • During the 14 weeks, the weekly time commitment is approximately 12-14 hours with a mix of in-person and virtual programming.
  • Hosting a 3-day intensive program called Basecamp is a required outcome of this Fellowship. Fellows receive a $1,000 stipend to support the implementation of the Basecamp events.  
  • Participate in the Fellowships culminating event called Summit where Fellows pitch to local leaders, funders, and entrepreneurs. 
  • Fellows can earn up to $6,000 in seed funding for their venture.


  • Are entrepreneurs, small business owners, or nonprofit leaders with 1 to 5 years of traction leading organizations focused on economic development in underserved and underbanked communities.
  • Are able to fully commit to the 16-week Fellowship and to hosting a 3-day Basecamp within their community. 
  • Have demonstrated impact and traction with their venture or business. 
  • Are supporting their communities through job creation, workforce development, and economic advancement.

Program Elements

The Truist Foundation 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.

What is a Basecamp?

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

Basecamps are 3-day workshops designed to help rising entrepreneurs from each of the Truist Foundation 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 Truist Foundation 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 $1,000 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.

Alumni Impact & Testimonials

Watson Institute’s 349 Fellows and alumni from 68 countries have raised over $175 million, created over 1,500 part or full-time jobs, and impacted 5 million people around the world through initiatives they help lead. Watson Institute Alumni have been selected to Y Combinator, the Echoing Green Fellowship, and Forbes’ 30 under 30 list, and continued their education at Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, and Oxford Saïd Business School,  among others. 

See here to learn more about our alumni community and impact.


of alumni would recommend a Watson Fellowship to a peer


of alumni use skills they learned in our program up to eight years after graduating

A peak for me was getting to learn and practice on how to build lasting relationships, negotiations and branding. The insights I got have enabled my team and I to create a donor stewardship plan for our organization, communicate our brand and negotiate with various stakeholders for effective program management.

Western Union Foundation FellowCohort of Fall 2022

Oftentimes in job interviews the Hiring Manager thinks I have a business degree because of the skills I gained from Watson Institute.

Watson Institute Accelerator Program FellowCohort of Spring 2015

The value of Watson Institute, for me, goes beyond the venture and its impact. The people I have met, the relationships I cultivated, and the conversations I have had have inspired and changed me.

Watson Institute Accelerator Program FellowCohort of Spring 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application process?

  1. Complete the online application: The online application contains 5 short essay questions.
  2. Your application will be reviewed: Applications will be reviewed within 2-weeks of submission. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. The final application deadline is January 15th, 2023.
  3. You will be invited to an interview: Applicants moving forward in the process will be invited to a 20-minute Zoom interview.
  4. Enrollment process: We will send out the final admission decision and enrollment agreement within 2-weeks of the interview.
  5. If you have questions and want to connect with our admissions team, join an optional Info & Application Support Session.

What is the eligibility for this program?

Ideal candidates are entrepreneurs, small business owners, or nonprofit leaders with 1 to 5 years of demonstrated traction supporting underserved, underbanked, or marginalized communities with economic advancement and job creation. 

What are the eligibility requirements for seed funding?

Fellows can earn up to $6,000 in seed funding, which is subject to review based on their attendance, participation, and performance throughout the program. In addition,  all Fellows are eligible to receive a $1,000 stipend to support the implementation of their Basecamp. 

What are the costs associated with this program (travel, fees, deposit, etc.)?

Fellows may be responsible for some travel expenses and meals during in-person programming. No fees are collected or directly associated with this Fellowship. 

What do the in-person components entail?

Fellows will travel to Atlanta, Georgia, for a 1-day in-person immersive to build community and learn about key programmatic information. The program’s culminating event–Summit will be held in-person in Atlanta, Georgia. Fellows will have the opportunity to highlight their work to an external audience comprised of their network as well as Watson Institute and Truist networks.

Sign up for our Info Session Webinars

Get quick training and guidance for the application process.

The Truist Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Truist, which is the seventh largest bank in the United States. Truist’s purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities. Truist partners directly with nonprofit organizations that support wealth building for historically excluded communities.

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