The 2022-2023 Cohort!

The Initiators Fellowship supports emerging social entrepreneurs in Greater Minnesota by awarding two-year fellowships to entrepreneurs seeking to address needs in their home region. Eligible ventures may be for-profit or non-profit.

The program, launched in 2016 in central Minnesota, has expanded to include the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and its service area covering 12 counties and two native nations, Red Lake and White Earth.

The 2022-2023 cohort has now been announced. Two of the 8 Fellows are from our Northwest Minnesota region. The eight Fellows selected for the 2022-2023 cohort represent 53 counties and six sovereign tribal nations in Central, Northwest, Southwest and West Central Minnesota. They will receive an annual $30,000 stipend during the two-year program, which also includes comprehensive programming, executive-level mentoring and leadership training, ongoing education, and support from dedicated staff members to advance their mission-driven business or nonprofit endeavors.

Meet all 8 Fellows Here!


What is Social Entrepreneurism?

Our social entrepreneurs have identified a particular social problem that they feel passionate about addressing and have developed a working theory or model for potential solution.

There are currently 7 fellows focused on a range of projects to build greater good in greater Minnesota, such as improving access to year-round fresh produce, providing safe and secure residential options for homeless populations, and offering affordable and high-quality legal representation to immigrants and refugees.

Learn more about our current fellows by visiting THIS LINK.

Who can I contact to learn more about this program?

The best source for all information can be found through THIS LINK.

But should you want to speak with someone at the Northwest Minnesota Foundation about the program or NMF’s role in bringing this opportunity to our region, please contact Michael Neusser, Vice President for Operations, via email at or Bethany Wesley, Communications Director, at

We’d welcome the chance to share more information about this great program!