Westerwelle Young Founders Programme

The Westerwelle Young Founders Programme is a fully funded 6-month-long programme for outstanding young entrepreneurs from emerging and developing countries. The programme aims to connect young founders from all over the world with each other and with the Berlin startup scene, and support them in further developing their entrepreneurial skills and their international network.

The Westerwelle Young Founders Programme Spring 2020 started with the Young Founders Conference in March 2020 in Berlin. During this time, the 25 participants had the unique opportunity to meet and interact with successful entrepreneurs, investors and political decision makers. Throughout the programme, the Young Founders have the chance to develop their businesses and discuss challenges with a personal mentor as well as with fellow Young Founders in a peer mentoring group. Moreover, Young Founders receive further support through regular expert webinars that cater to their needs.

Unfortunately applications for the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme Spring 2021 are not yet possible. Please subscribe here if you want to be the first to know about the next round of applications for Spring 2021 and receive our newsletter regularly.


What we offer:

  • The Westerwelle Young Founders Conference – a week-long conference in Berlin to get to know fellow Young Founders, the German startup scene, and strengthen their entrepreneurial skills by attending workshops and meetings (travel and accommodation will be covered by the Westerwelle Foundation);
  • A personal mentor who is an experienced entrepreneur and will function as a sparring partner with whom you can discuss upcoming challenges and new opportunities;
  • Monthly peer mentoring calls with the other successful Young Founders of the cohort to share knowledge with and support each other;
  • Expert sessions on relevant topics (e.g. OKRs, investor KPIs, marketing & sales);
  • The Young Founders Network — a strong alumni network that functions as a platform for all Young Founders to connect with each other, exchange ideas and find support for existing challenges;
  • Exposure to the Berlin startup scene and the public for you and your startup via our social media channels and our networks,
  • Assistance beyond the programme as we remain a contact person for the Young Founders and will help you to find suitable experts for challenges, offer possibilities to share learnings with current cohorts or celebrate successes.
  • The buddy programme that connects alumni of the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme with new Young Founders that operate in the same business to potentially open doors and enhance mutual exchange.


Our requirements

  • You have recently (in the last 5 years) started a for-profit company with a scalable business model that has achieved Product-Market Fit and has ideally secured first external funding (if you run a business model that requires external investment);
  • your company is based in a developing or emerging country or has a strong business focus on developing and emerging economies;
  • you possess a good working knowledge of English;
  • you are available to attend the Young Founders Conference in Berlin and can make time to participate in monthly mentoring and peer mentoring calls for the 6-month programme.

Please note that foreign applicants must possess valid travel documents (including a visa, if necessary) to enter Germany, and valid travel medical insurance.


Application process YFP Spring 2020

  1. Application deadline (3rd of December 2019, 11pm CEST)
  2. Skype interviews with shortlisted candidates (25th of November to 17th of December 2019)
  3. Jury decision and selection of participants (5th of January 2020)
  4. Notification of all applicants (7th of January 2020)


The Network

One of the highlights of participating in the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme is that every participant will also join the Young Founders Network — a strong network of outstanding entrepreneurs from emerging and developing countries who had participated in the programme themselves. The Young Founders Network is a place to look for expertise, develop synergies with other Young Founders and support each other.

Meet our Young Founders here:

Westerwelle Young Founders Spring 2020

Westerwelle Young Founders Autumn 2019

Westerwelle Young Founders Spring 2019

Westerwelle Young Founders Autumn 2018

Westerwelle Young Founders Spring 2018

Westerwelle Young Founders 2017




Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For further information, please see the FAQs.