LITTLE FALLS-The Initiators Fellowship, launched by the Initiative Foundation of Little Falls in 2016, is expanding to include the regions of Southwest Initiative Foundation and West Central Initiative, covering a total of 41 counties in Greater Minnesota.

Applications for the 2020-21 cohort opened May 15 and close July 15. The two-year Fellowship will award a $30,000 annual stipend to up to seven early stage entrepreneurs who want to tackle a social challenge and pursue leadership growth. In addition to the annual stipend, Fellows benefit from an executive-level mentor, deep programming, educational opportunities and support from dedicated staff members. A complete definition of social entrepreneurship and other details can be found at in the resources section.

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Eligible applicants must be 18 or older, can be a recent college graduate, a young professional, mid-career or in their encore career years. Additional requirements include living within one of the three participating Minnesota Initiative Foundation regions, or an adjacent tribal nation, for the two-year duration of the Fellowship term. Diversity is a core program value. Applicants with diverse backgrounds, experiences, ability, economic status and perspectives are encouraged to apply. Full eligibility details are outlined here.

"The Initiators Fellowship is a big, bold strategy that provides the next generation of regional leaders the opportunity to use their entrepreneurial spirit to address society's needs while building the business and leadership capacity of Greater Minnesota," said Chris Fastner, Initiators Fellowship program manager, in a news release.

A webinar from noon to 1 p.m. June 6 through the Zoom webinar platform will provide more information about the application process. More details on upcoming webinars are on the Initiators Fellowship website.

The expansion of the Initiators Fellowship is made possible by generous funders, including Granite Equity Partners, an original funding partner, along with the Bush Foundation, Sourcewell and CliftonLarsonAllen.

For more information or to apply, visit

The Initiative Foundation reports it exists to improve the quality of life and to build stronger communities within its 14-county region of central Minnesota by offering leadership training, business loans, nonprofit grants and donor services. Since 1986, the Initiative Foundation has invested multiple millions in the region through targeted grants and business financing investments.