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Western Union Foundation Fellowship

Equipping courageous innovators supporting highly marginalized, refugee, or displaced communities.

The application for the program is closed.

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Meet the 2023 Western Union Foundation Fellows

A Lifetime of Impact Begins

The Western Union Foundation Fellowship is for next-generation entrepreneurs and community leaders from and working with highly marginalized, refugee, and forcibly displaced communities around the globe.

This 16-week-long program is designed to equip these next-generation entrepreneurs and leaders with the skills and experience to increase access to economic opportunity, have the opportunity to earn seed funding, integrate into their communities, succeed in the evolving nature of work, 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 local Fellow-led Basecamps and a Fellow-led meetup.

$40,000 in seed funding will be distributed among the Western Union Foundation Fellows based on progress and impact throughout the Fellowship


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Applications for the Spring 24 Western Union Foundation Fellowship will launch in the early Fall 2023.

Is the Fellowship for you?

The Western Union Foundation Fellowship is for next-generation high-promising entrepreneurs and community leaders who are from and working with highly marginalized, refugee, and forcibly displaced communities around the globe.

We are looking for applicants from and are working in the following countries: Mexico, Kenya, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States, and Afghanistan.

Ideal applicants will join with relevant social impact and leadership experiences with proven experience of building community development projects within these communities.

Western Union Foundation Fellows must be able to commit to be part of the 16-week program. There is a 2-week intensive (20–25 hours per week) followed by a 14-weeks of weekly programming (5-8 hours per week). 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 program thanks to the support of the Western Union Foundation.

2021 Western Union Foundation Fellow Impact Stats


applications received


Fellows selected


countries represented


entrepreneurs impacted

Program Structure

The Fellowship begins with a 2-week intensive Accelerator that will focus on:

Building Community

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

Skill Development

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

Basecamp Training

Each Fellow is trained and receives a stipend and logistical support to lead a three-day training (called Basecamp) in their home community to empower at least 25 additional entrepreneurial leaders.

After the 2-week Accelerator, the 14-week Fellowship begins, which includes:

  • Leading an in-person/local Basecamp in their respective community. A stipend will be given for logistical and administrative costs.
  • Joining a monthly All Hands on Deck meeting that includes skill development workshops and opportunities to build community amongst the cohort.
  • Receive $500 in Seed Funding to launch/grow their ventures and initiatives.
  • Regularly attending Impact Series with the world’s leading entrepreneurs and practitioners. Past Impact Series Teachers include recognized leaders of Nobel Peace Prize winning movements, the youngest person to run for U.S. Congress, and the inventor of Google’s self-driving car.
  • Joining a pod with other Fellows from their respective regions and checking in regularly with each other via one-on-one meetings.

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

Kimberly Westerfield, Programs Leads at the Western Union Foundation, was the Keynote Speaker for 2022 Western Union Foundation Summit.

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.
    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 final admission decisions and enrollment agreement within 2-weeks of the interview.

The Western Union Foundation is a separate charitable corporation from The Western Union Company that receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, consumers, and business partners. Watson Institute is the leading accelerator for next-generation entrepreneurs. Watson Institute shares Western Union Foundation’s belief that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity. We are excited to scale the impact of Western Union Foundation and Watson Institute’s partnership to date by empowering 40 Fellows and over 1,500 young leaders and entrepreneurs globally.

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