The Tamer Center for Social Enterprise supports the Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program, a unique and exciting opportunity for students to apply what they’re learning in the classroom with an organization making social change in the world. This fellowship provides financial support to Columbia and Barnard undergraduate and graduate students engaged in summer internships that create social and environmental value. The fellowship program provides:
• students with opportunities to gain experience in their major or area of interest as it is relevant to these organizations; and
• social enterprises that create social and environmental value with access to talented Columbia students.
How the Fellowship Works
Currently enrolled full-time first-, second-, or third-year undergraduate students and graduate students in good academic standing may apply for funding for a 6- to 10-week, full-time summer internship (at least 35 hours/week) with a social venture or social entrepreneurship-focused organization in the US or abroad that is wholly focused on social ventures or less than seven years of age. The internship must be secured and accepted at the time of application. The Social Enterprise Summer Fellowship Program contributes a $200 to $600 per week stipend to assist with expenses associated with the internship to fellows, depending on the availability of funds.
Student Eligibility Guidelines
• Applicants must be currently enrolled full-time as a first-year, second-year, or third-year Columbia or Barnard
undergraduate or graduate student.
• Applicants must be in good academic standing and not subject to any disciplinary proceedings.
• For multi-year degree programs, applicants must be returning to campus and enrolled as a full-time student
the fall semester following the fellowship either on campus or participating in an approved Columbia University
• Applicants must agree to the terms and requirements of the Social Enterprise Fellowship Program (see website).
• Applicants must have secured and accepted an internship matching the criteria prior to submitting their
The social venture or organization can be a nonprofit 501(c)(3) (or its equivalent outside the US), for-profit social venture, or social venture capital firm with a clearly defined social or environmental mission. For social for-profit ventures (including Benefit Corporations “B-Corps”) to be eligible, they must be aimed at producing products and/or services that:
1. focus on addressing the needs of low-income communities or customers, with an explicit purpose of
increasing the welfare of these groups; or alleviates a market failure, and creates significant public good or
benefits that are not wholly captured in the price charged by the business; and
2. have attracted funding for the business by investors or grant makers who are seeking measurable social or
environmental impact (evidence of these metrics and reporting should be included in the application).
If applying to work with a social for-profit social venture: Students must provide detailed evidence of a clearly
defined social or environmental purpose and how this is incorporated into the core strategies and operations of the
The following are examples are organizations that are not eligible:
• Nonprofit or NGO that has been in operation for seven or more years and is not wholly focused on social
• Government or public sector organizations
• For-profit consulting firms that consult to social ventures
• Large or publicly listed companies that have a small division focusing on social innovation
• Organizations with a narrow political or religious focus or with discriminatory hiring policies
We recognize that social enterprises have diverse needs across a range of projects and issues and need expertise drawn from disciplines such as engineering, public health, public policy, economics, medicine, biotechnology, nursing, journalism, arts, urban planning, social work, law/public interest, international development, sustainability, and education, among other areas. The student’s role can relate directly to their degree and what they’re studying; it can also be an area of interest the student wishes to explore if thinking about starting a social venture or working for one in the future.
Criteria and Selection
Summer fellowships must meet the following criteria:
• The internship is well-scoped, has clearly defined expectations and responsibilities.
• The internship has an established supervisor from a professional in the organization
who is co-located in the place of work.
• Students will have mid- and end-of-summer reviews with the supervisor.
• If the internship takes place abroad, students must comply with Columbia
University’s international travel policy including the Restricted Regions List.
Students should assess the viability of the venture prior to accepting and applying for funding by consulting with professors, career advisors or the center. Before accepting the internship, if you’re unsure of whether your employer is an eligible social venture or social entrepreneurship-focused organization, please email TamerSESF@gmail.com. Applications open March 1 and are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are depleted.
Learn More: https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/socialenterprise/