The Fellowship Experience

Get selected.

WWL4 shilpi website challenge TC 2013Venture for America looks for talented seniors and recent grads who have track records of being leaders and building things – people like Shilpi Kumar, a Neuroscience major from Duke who led the First Year Advisory Council and Center for Race Relations on campus, and spent summers working at LinkedIn and a startup in Durham.

Learn more about VFA ADMISSIONS.


Get a job at a startup.
Fellows are hired by an exciting growth company in one of VFA’s 10+ cities based on their skills and preferences, along with company needs. They spend two years there, growing and contributing.

Edie Feinstein, a Cornell grad, was recently promoted to lead a team of customer success managers at K-12 education technology startup Kickboard in New Orleans.

Get Job Edie 1“It’s been really exciting to work at Kickboard, which is one of the biggest startup success stories New Orleans has seen so far. In my first year we raised a series A round, which enabled us to grow the team from 8 to 27, and quadruple the number of schools we serve. It’s hard to imagine what we’ll accomplish in year two!”

Learn more about FELLOW-COMPANY MATCHMAKING.



Learn how to build things.
Each class of Fellows spends five weeks in an immersive training program at Brown University, where experts from IDEO, McKinsey, Harvard Business School, the Startup Institute, and many other entrepreneurs and venture capitalists prepare Fellows with the skills and mindset to overcome the challenges they’ll face in helping build a company.

TC Max Nussenbaum Brentt BaltimoreBrentt Baltimore is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College who spent two years working as an investment banker at Credit Suisse before joining VFA. Of Training Camp, Brentt said:

“I was challenged to think in a way I hadn’t before. It was a once in a lifetime chance to connect with and be pushed by really talented and passionate entrepreneurs.”

Learn more about TRAINING CAMP.



Be part of the VFA Family.
Fellows live together in their cities and gather for monthly events, from baseball games with local business leaders to monthly meetups with startup luminaries. VFA’s supportive network supplies Fellows with a mentor, and many Fellows go on to become leaders in the community– some sit in on city board meetings while others even coach a local youth hockey team.

Mike Mayer, a UPenn-Wharton grad, worked with three other Fellows to launch the nonprofit StartUp Effect, which teaches entrepreneurial principles to 8th graders in New Orleans and Detroit charter schools. VFA supporter and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner funded the project and sits on their board.

“I wanted a cool startup job. I never expected I’d also get to launch Startup Effect with such enterprising peers and give back to a community that’s starting to feel like home.”

Learn more about OUR AWESOME FELLOWS.


Launch your career as an entrepreneur.
Whether through capital or connections, VFA’s supporters are dedicated to helping Fellows launch businesses with their newfound operating experience. For example, over the next several years UBS is providing $100k per VFA class in seed capital to help Fellows launch their own startups after the program, and VFA runs a $50k per year Innovation Fund to support Fellows’ social enterprises.

scott_lowe5Scott Lowe of the University of Oklahoma, along with three other Fellows, recently raised $16k with the help of the Innovation Fund for their project “Rebirth Realty,” which buys and rehabilitates houses in Detroit. Scott’s post-VFA plans?

“I’m going to start a company in Detroit because I want to create, and I want to empower others to do the same. With my startup experience and VFA’s growing network and resources, I’m set up to succeed.”

Interested? Apply today.

Our mission:

  • To revitalize American cities and communities through entrepreneurship.
  • To enable our best and brightest to create new opportunities for themselves and others.
  • To restore the culture of achievement to include value-creation, risk and reward, and the common good.

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