Immigrants Rising - Entrepreneurship Fund

Please consult the program website to confirm details, including applicable deadlines.

Visit Program Website Here

Program Description and Benefits: 

Immigrants Rising’s Entrepreneurship Fund provides grants to undocumented entrepreneurs working to create positive social change. The Fund showcases the talents of undocumented young people and amplifies the positive impact of their work. In 2018, the program will award $250,000 in funding through $5,000 to $50,000 one-year grants. Grantees will also be offered support and guidance from professional advisors as well as opportunities to network with other undocumented entrepreneurs. The Program partners with established leadership programs to offer support and guidance to awardees. It also recruits volunteer advisors to provide industry or issue-specific support. The Program is open to providing support for a wide variety of personal and programmatic expenses. For example, it will consider requests to support your income while you design or implement your project. It will also support operational costs, such as technology or equipment purchases, communications and dissemination expenses, or stipends for others involved in the project.

Supported Fields: 

The program welcomes proposals for entrepreneurial projects that address a variety of needs, target diverse populations, and employ different strategies. It is open to supporting projects that serve and advocate for undocumented people as well as ones with broader potential impact. Projects can be non-profit or for-profit initiatives—or hybrid projects that include both nonprofit and for-profit components. Most importantly, projects must create positive social change and must be designed and led by undocumented young people.

Applicant Profile: 

Social entrepreneurs undertake enterprises that are centered on solving social problems in their communities and simultaneously generate revenue. The Program is looking for undocumented young people who have the passion, determination, and leadership skills necessary to execute on social change projects that are innovative, important, impactful, and sustainable. Immigrants Rising recognizes that the undocumented community is very diverse. It welcomes and strongly encourages proposals that reflect and respond to that diversity. It is especially interested in leaders who identify as LGBT, queer or transgender. It also strongly encourages proposals for projects that address the needs and concerns of diverse communities. The Program is looking for undocumented young people with great ideas who need funding and advice to develop those ideas and bring them to fruition. It expects that many applicants will propose projects that are still in the idea stage. However, it is willing to consider projects that have been operating for less than two years and have raised less than $50,000 in revenue to date.  If you are working in a team, then your team can jointly apply for a single one-year grant ($5,000 to $50,000) for your project. In your application, you may submit information for up to three project leaders. Do not submit multiple applications for the same project. See "More Information" below for a link to profiles of previous Immigrants Rising Entrepreneurship Awardees.


Immigrants Rising defines the term “undocumented” broadly to include all immigrants who reside in the United States without legal status, including all of the following categories: ● Immigrants who entered the country without inspection, entered presenting false documents or overstayed temporary visas, and may now be considered “unlawfully present” in the United States. ● Immigrants who have been granted temporary reprieve from deportation through the federal government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. ● Immigrants who have been granted prosecutorial discretion through Deferred Action, Stay of Removal or various forms of temporary humanitarian relief but are unable to fully legalize their status.● Immigrants who are in the process of legalization but currently have no legal status.

Selection Criteria: 

The Program will consider proposals for projects that address a variety of needs, target diverse populations, and employ different strategies. It is open to supporting either non-profit or for-profit initiatives -- or hybrid projects that include both nonprofit and for-profit components. It is open to supporting projects that serve and advocate for undocumented people, as well as projects with broader potential impact. These might include projects that could benefit society in countless ways: projects that strengthen families and build community; that advance educational achievement; that broaden economic opportunities; and that improve public health or the environment.

The Program is especially interested in supporting projects that are sustainable. A sustainable project is one that will continue to grow and function beyond the funding provided by the Entrepreneurship Fund. Sustainable projects must demonstrate an understanding of upcoming challenges and uncertainties, and articulate a plan for how to address these challenges and uncertainties. The Program will evaluate both financial sustainability (steady flow of funding or revenue generation) and programmatic sustainability (ongoing relevance of programs and services). Most importantly, the projects must create positive social change, be designed and led by undocumented young people.


Applicants must be born outside of the United States and cannot be U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). Applicants do not need to be eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to qualify.

Program Deadline: 

Usually in early October.

More information: 

If you are unsure about your immigration status or have questions, please use Immigrants Rising's free Immigration Law Intake Service. The service will help you gain clarity about your immigration situation, and is staffed by immigration attorneys and legal fellows.

You can learn more about entrepreneurship through Immigrants Rising’s entrepreneurship resources, which include webinars, guides and handouts about topics such as Business Structures, Worker Coops/LLCs, and Accessing Financial Capital for Yourself and Your Business. It also offers a (growing) curated list of organizations, fellowships, and websites thatoffer funding, legal support, or training, for undocumented entrepreneurs.

See also profiles of Previous Entrepreneurship Fund Grantees

How To Apply: 

Applicants may apply directly to this program. SF State students and alumni are invited, however, to seek feedback from SF State's Fellowships Office well in advance of the program deadline to perfect their application essays and other materials.

Resources for Applicants

Why Should You Apply for a Fulbright?

Quick Links

Fellowships Office

Dr. Joy Viveros

Phone: 415.405.2128
Reception: Grad Stop, ADM 250 
1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132