Founded in 1994, the Kauffman Fellows Program identifies, develops, and networks the next generation of global leaders in the venture capital industry.

While working full time at a venture capital firm, a Kauffman Fellow experiences a two-year apprenticeship program that features a case-based, structured educational curriculum with an individual development plan, executive coaching, mentoring by a senior partner, and peer learning and networking — all with a focus on giving back and one's responsibility as a leader in venture capital.

Created by the Kauffman Foundation in partnership with leaders in the venture capital industry, the Fellows program was a bold experiment designed to educate and train future venture capitalists and future leaders of high-growth companies. 

Ultimately, the Fellowship aimed to increase wealth and job creation in the United States by supporting the development of high-potential start-up and early-stage companies.

In 2003, the program was spun out from the Kauffman Foundation and placed under the aegis of the newly created Center for Venture Education. The Center, a non-profit, post-graduate educational institute, has expanded the program nationally and internationally.