Fellow Benefits

VFA is so much more than a full-time job; we set our Fellows up for startup success.

Expert Training & Professional Development

Learn the startup skills you'll need

Succeeding at a startup takes a lot more than you can learn in the classroom. That’s why every Fellow is required to attend our monthlong Training Camp before starting at their new companies. You need both hard and soft skills to excel at a startup, so we will train you on design thinking, programming, the basics of marketing and sales, and more. You’ll also brush up on your ability to collaborate, compromise, present, communicate, and tackle complicated projects in a short amount of time. In the past, we’ve held trainings by IDEO, McKinsey, the Flatiron School, and other industry experts.

Learn more about Training Camp

Training Camp is just the beginning

Throughout the two years of the Fellowship, you’ll have ample opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. You’ll of course learn on the job, but you’ll also come back for regular trainings from our Programs and Launch teams. From webinars and events to our private Fellow-only online learning platform, you’ll continue to develop new skills so you can solve each new challenge you encounter at work.

Support from experienced professionals across industries.

With over 400 experienced professionals, our mentor network is growing stronger every day. Our network includes successful business executives, investors and entrepreneurs as well as subject matter experts. Whether you want to grow your idea into a business or need help navigating the next steps in your career, VFA mentors and advisors always willing to sit down with a Fellow for coaching or to help make important introductions.

Intensive Training

Learn the startup skills you'll need

Succeeding at a startup takes a lot more than you can learn in the classroom. That’s why every Fellow is required to attend our monthlong Training Camp before starting at their new companies. You need both hard and soft skills to excel at a startup, so we will train you on design thinking, programming, the basics of marketing and sales, and more. You’ll also brush up on your ability to collaborate, compromise, present, communicate, and tackle complicated projects in a short amount of time. In the past, we’ve held trainings by IDEO, McKinsey, the Flatiron School, and other industry experts.

Learn more about Training Camp

Ongoing Development

Training Camp is just the beginning

Throughout the two years of the Fellowship, you’ll have ample opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. You’ll of course learn on the job, but you’ll also come back for regular trainings from our Programs and Launch teams. From webinars and events to our private Fellow-only online learning platform, you’ll continue to develop new skills so you can solve each new challenge you encounter at work.

Guidance from Expert Mentors

Support from experienced professionals across industries.

With over 400 experienced professionals, our mentor network is growing stronger every day. Our network includes successful business executives, investors and entrepreneurs as well as subject matter experts. Whether you want to grow your idea into a business or need help navigating the next steps in your career, VFA mentors and advisors always willing to sit down with a Fellow for coaching or to help make important introductions.

Accelerated Career Advancement

Simply put, VFA Fellows tend to grow and advance in their careers faster than they would have otherwise.

Compared to peers who follow more traditional paths, our Fellows often find that the fast-paced environment at startups pushes them to gain new skills, take on more responsibility and become better leaders faster. The additional training, support and network that comes along with being a Fellow means they even grow more quickly than peers who’ve worked at startups on their own.

By the end of the two years of the Fellowship, you could be leading entire portions of your company’s business, hiring and managing a team, and working closely with your CEO or company founder.

 

My job has enabled me to grow at a ridiculous rate. I have developed a pretty phenomenal network. I'm actually recognized within the field that I care about. And I love what I do.

– Connie Bowen '16

Resources to Start a Company

Find & Test Your Ideas

with SPaT & the Validation Challenge

Read more

Get Early Traction

with the Innovation Fund & Social Enterprise Award

Read more

Grow & Scale Your Company

with the Accelerator and $1 Million Seed Fund

Read more

A Supportive Community

VFA is about more than startup skills and a full-time job—it’s about a community of people who are driven by common values and want to build things together.

Fellows & Alumni

When we ask our Fellows what they love the most about VFA, there’s one answer that always comes out near the top: the other Fellows. From the moment they meet, Fellows often feel like they’ve found their people—other capable, motivated, self-directed recent grads who genuinely care about the impact they make. They also tend to be a lot of fun. From an annual “phormal” dance in Philly to 5ks and volunteering, Fellows and alumni constantly find ways to keep the VFA bond strong.

Fellows form lifelong friendships—and they also build companies together. Slope was founded by Brian Bosche and Dan Bloom, 2012 Fellows who met as roommates at the first Training Camp. Castle was founded by three 2012 Fellows who bought and rebuilt a house together after moving to Detroit, realizing in the process they made a pretty good team. Jinesh Shah ’15 and Leigh Sevin ’14 met at mixer in Miami and a few months later founded Arthur. It’s a powerful network that’s only growing stronger.

A meeting of the VFAsians group at Training Camp.

Fellow resource groups

With support from the VFA Team, Fellows and Alumni have formed a variety of resource groups to further support one another as they work in demanding—and sometimes imperfect—real world environments.  We call this partnership VFA Rise. Current groups include Build21 (formerly Black Fellows for America), VFAsians, VFA WMN, Latinx, Venture Out (an LGBTQ group), MENA, and VFA Antha Prerna.

VFA Rise groups get support and resources to attend relevant conferences and events, bring in speakers, and plan events that bring their communities together.

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