Get answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the Edmund Hillary Fellowship?
Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) is a global community of high-impact entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers, collaboratively building new paradigm solutions to global challenges from Aotearoa New Zealand.
Fellows are accepted into the programme through a competitive application process, gaining access to a global network of diverse expert perspectives, exceptional talent and investors, mentorship opportunities, cross-sector collaboration opportunities, co-created events and retreats, and a peer-support network of action-oriented people influencing the course of humanity. The programme is open to international candidates as well as New Zealanders, with international Fellows receiving exclusive access to New Zealand’s new Global Impact Visa (GIVs), a three-year open work visa with a path to permanent residency. Apply for EHF here.
Participation in EHF involves leading and/or contributing towards the development of solutions to global problems from Aotearoa New Zealand, while actively engaging with members of the EHF community and the New Zealand innovation ecosystem.
For entrepreneurs, this means working towards models of business that disrupt the status quo, pursuing new paradigm solutions, catalysing cross-sector collaboration, and striving towards transformative, scalable global impact. Entrepreneurs are building new ventures in New Zealand, scaling existing ventures, or bringing high impact ventures to New Zealand. We see entrepreneurs to be individuals who take what is possible and turn it into reality.
For investors, being a Fellow entails supporting high-impact entrepreneurs and ventures based in New Zealand - whether those inside EHF or in the wider community - through direct investment, mentorship, and access to global networks.
Although we are not prescriptive about exactly how Fellows should engage with the New Zealand innovation ecosystem, we expect that Fellows will actively offer their advice, expertise, investment, and global networks, sharing learnings and connecting with leaders, to help raise the tide for impact entrepreneurship in New Zealand. Depending on their unique situation, Fellows can choose to engage in different ways. Outside of the work Fellows do, we expect Fellows to be participating in the EHF community, supporting one another through their time, talents, and resources. The value of the EHF community is based on what each Fellow puts into it.
EHF hosts bi-annual gatherings for all Fellows to reconnect with one another in New Zealand. We also have online platforms for meaningful and ongoing connections. Fellows have started regional hubs around New Zealand and across the world to deepen the connections amongst one another.
Fellows also participate in working groups based on their areas of impact, industries they work in, or general areas of interest.
Participation in EHF offers many benefits to international Fellows:
- Exclusive access to New Zealand’s Global Impact Visa, a 3-year, flexible, open work visa with a path to permanent residency, which is the world’s first visa to focus on impact
- A soft landing pad connecting you to New Zealand’s startup and business leaders, government leaders, mentors, investors, research and development institutes and Māori communities
- Become an integral member of a global network of talented entrepreneurial and investment leaders who are personally invested in helping each other succeed, offering diverse expertise, mentorship opportunities, cross-sector collaboration opportunities, and a peer-support network of action-oriented people influencing the course of humanity
- Be welcomed to Aotearoa New Zealand respecting Māori traditions and customs, and participate in immersive experiences to learn Tikanga Māori, the Māori ways of doing things
- Access to the broader EHF support network in New Zealand and around the world, including EHF Catalysts, supporters, regional contacts, and the Hillary Institute of International Leadership’s prestigious Laureate network
- Participation in workshops, peer-to-peer learning sessions, and retreats with other Fellows to support your work and your personal journey as a changemaker
- Access to Fellow-led high-impact projects and ventures to support A platform to tell your story through our international channels, our YouTube channel, our social media, our blog, and our media partners
- A lifelong Fellows community of passionate changemakers, and an opportunity to be at the front line of leading systemic global change from New Zealand
There are many benefits for Kiwi Fellows who join EHF:
- Deep connection with a tight-knit community of passionate entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers who are personally invested in helping each other succeed
- An opportunity to be at the forefront of an impact movement in New Zealand that leverages global skills and networks
- Become an integral member of a global network of talented entrepreneurial and investment leaders, offering diverse expertise, mentorship opportunities, cross-sector collaboration opportunities, and a peer-support network of action-oriented people influencing the course of humanity
- Participation in workshops, skill-sharing sessions, learning opportunities, and retreats with other Fellows to support your work A platform to tell your story through our international channels, our YouTube channel, our social media, our blog, and our media partners Access to the broader EHF support network in New Zealand and around the world, including EHF Catalysts and, the Hillary Institute of International Leadership’s prestigious Laureate network
- Access to global perspectives and a diversity of approaches to creating global impact that international Fellows bring to the ecosystem
- A lifelong community rooted in Aotearoa New Zealand, and an opportunity to be at the front line of leading systemic global change from our shores
Fellows are expected to:
- Passionately dedicate themselves to building and supporting innovative ventures and solutions that can create economic, social and environmental value for New Zealand and the world
- Embrace and embody EHF values in all their endeavors in New Zealand and beyond
- Serve as enthusiastic, engaged members of their cohort, attending cohort gatherings in New Zealand, and supporting other Fellows and the wider EHF community - the Fellowship is for the EHF Fellows and the bulk of the energy that contributes to the community comes from the EHF Fellows
- Support the New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystem, by participating in workshops and learning opportunities, sharing expertise, engaging in local events, employing Kiwis, and mentoring emerging entrepreneurs
- Remain active in the initiatives you start to build in New Zealand, with the ability to change plans or start again
- Occasionally travel within New Zealand to help cross-pollinate learnings between different regional ecosystems
- Open up their networks to other cohort members and individuals within New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystems, as appropriate and relevant
- New Zealand entrepreneurial ecosystems, as appropriate and relevant Be an enthusiastic and skillful ambassador of New Zealand on the global stage, attracting additional EHF candidates, and solidifying New Zealand’s reputation as an Incubation Nation
- Continue to support Fellows and their work
- Show high standards of integrity and ethics, and adhering to New Zealand laws
The EHF community supports Fellows on their personal journey as changemakers, increase their impact potential in the areas they work in, and provide new platforms to create collective impact in areas that are bigger than any individual Fellow or organisations.
When you join EHF, you are part of a week-long retreat with other Fellows in your cohort, to build the foundations of the community, and get immersive education in Tikanga Māori (the Māori way of doing things). The latter half of this week includes connecting with EHF Fellows across all cohorts, learning what Fellows are working on and starting to build connections for impact.
Twice a year we host a gathering of all Fellows, where you get to connect with the wider community. Our Fellows Community Hui is often scheduled right after the Welcome Week of a new cohort.
Once a year we host a summit called New Frontiers, where you get an opportunity to share your vision in front of New Zealand and global ecosystem leaders, and get to connect with a support network. We have an online portal for Fellows to have ongoing and meaningful connections with one another.
The EHF Fellowship is a self-driven experience, and the community is built and supported by Fellows. The EHF team provides the platforms and creates the environment for Fellows to connect with one another and support one another meaningfully.
This is not a funded fellowship. However, part of our support to Fellows is to provide access to local and international investment opportunities and relevant government grants. International candidates are also permitted to take paid employment in New Zealand under the Global Impact Visa to supplement their income, although your primary focus should be on building your venture.
Immigration New Zealand requires that Fellows have access to, or earning potential of, NZD $36,000 in maintenance funds to support themselves and their families in their first year in New Zealand. Details of maintenance funds must be supplied during the Global Impact Visa application process should you be offered a place in the fellowship.
Is EHF right for me?
There are up to 60 places available in each cohort of EHF, with 2 cohorts accepted per year. In each cohort, there are a mix of Fellows from around the world and New Zealand citizens. Due to varying number and quality of applications, consideration of cohort composition, and other constraining factors, we may sometimes accept less than 60 Fellows into a cohort.
Our goal is to help Fellows succeed and create long-term positive impact for New Zealand and the world. We find the UNSDGs a useful framework to track the type of impact our Fellows are creating, and the problem areas they are working in.
International Fellows who receive the Global Impact Visa are expected to contribute meaningfully to the New Zealand innovation ecosystem. The ways we look at meaningful contributions are in terms of new innovative ventures Fellows create, valuable global connections Fellows make for the growing ecosystem, investments into high-impact projects and initiatives, ways Fellows support local entrepreneurs using their skills and experiences, and how they attract more talent and resources to support our growing ecosystem.
Beyond these, we care most about how Fellows are paving new ground for paradigm shifts in how the tools of entrepreneurship and innovation can build economies that are aligned with the wellbeing of people and planet. Aotearoa New Zealand is leading the world in modelling what is possible and building solutions that are changing the rules of the game. Our Fellows are joining that movement, and turning bold ideas into reality.
Co-created by Kiwi Connect in partnership with the Hillary Institute of International Leadership, EHF is an independent not for profit wholly owned by the Hillary Institute, a registered charitable trust. After the creation of the programme, the Kiwi Connect team moved over to focus on EHF full-time. Read more about that transition here.
The concept arose out of discussions on how international entrepreneurs, investors and startup teams might be best supported to create positive impact in New Zealand, and out of that the Global Impact Visa (GIVs) was born. Immigration New Zealand is responsible for assessing and issuing GIVs.
We seek bold entrepreneurs, visionary investors, and changemakers to join a community of impact. EHF is for those creating or catalysing high-impact solutions to global challenges from Aotearoa New Zealand. EHF is for those who are creating systemic positive change in their fields, who can enhance their impact by learning, collaborating, and growing within a network of determined changemakers. We are agnostic to industry, sector, or stage in someone’s career.
This programme is for individuals and teams who align with EHF values, and who have the skills, capabilities, relentless drive, and desire to leverage the unique opportunities New Zealand offers, and make game-changing impact on the world. Learn more about our values to find out if this programme is right for you.
Lastly, EHF is for changemakers who can benefit and contribute to a community of peers, and be in a position to support other Fellows create impact, and receive support from others who can positively contribute to your journey.
We believe entrepreneurship is about taking what is possible and turning it into reality.
In the context of EHF, an entrepreneur is an individual whose primary focus in NZ is building a venture from the ground up here, or moving an existing venture to NZ, or if you are a changemaker who is catalysing systemic change in your field. Entrepreneurs eligible for EHF may be operating within a number of different business models, including for-profit, not-for-profit, benefit corporation, sole trader, cooperative, foundation or other structure. Check out the profiles of our current Fellows on our blog.
We define “impact” as solving problems of significance to humanity and the Earth we live on in a way that creates positive lasting economic, social, cultural and/or environmental impact.
Each entrepreneur and changemaker would have a theory of change that fits their model. We have Fellows who are creating impact by innovating within the current systems, and Fellows who are creating impact by working at the edges or outside our predominant system. You can watch a short video from our CEO about creating systemic change.
EHF takes an inclusive approach to this, and we foster an environment where Fellows can learn from one another and further develop their frame for what it means to creating lasting positive impact in the world.
Prior investment in your venture is not a requirement for acceptance into EHF. However, investment in your current venture or in past ventures that you have been involved with can strengthen your application by acting as a vote of confidence.
You will need to show that you have the resources and financial ability to get your venture running during the first part of the programme.
Global Impact Visas
Yes. We welcome applications from ventures with a range of different business models. What is right for one organisation may not be the best approach for another.
Yes! New Zealand Citizens and Permanent Residents can apply to join EHF in each cohort. Kiwis can benefit from being part of the EHF community and gaining access to events, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and the global community EHF is building. Kiwis also support international Fellows in connecting with local networks and gaining unique perspectives on doing business in New Zealand.
EHF welcomes applications from entrepreneurs and innovators at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. While it is not necessary to have launched a new venture to be eligible for EHF, keep in mind that dedicating time and resources towards your venture is a good indication that you are serious about the venture and have spent time testing your assumptions. If you have not yet started a venture, but have a great idea and a track record of executing on other projects with excellence, we would love to hear from you.
Investors who apply for EHF need to show proof of past investments in entrepreneurs and startups, funds available for further investments in New Zealand, an understanding of how you intend to add value, and a demonstrable track record of providing mentorship and advice to entrepreneurs and startup teams.
The Global Impact Visa (GIVs) is a three-year flexible, open work visa for New Zealand, and holders of this visa can quality for permanent residency after 30 months in EHF. It’s the first visa in the world to focus on creating positive impact.
The visa is for entrepreneurs, investors and changemakers who are creating new paradigm solutions to global challenges, and who can create social, environmental, cultural and economic value for both New Zealand and the world.
Working in partnership with Immigration New Zealand, acceptance into EHF is the only way to become eligible for a Global Impact Visa. International candidates who are accepted into EHF may apply for this visa. Fellows become eligible to apply for permanent residency after three years, provided they are still active in the EHF community, have contributed towards innovation in New Zealand, have committed no serious offence. Read more about GIVs on Immigration New Zealand’s website here.
The Global Impact Visa is a unique immigration programme aimed at attracting exceptional entrepreneurial talent to grow innovation in New Zealand and make a positive impact on the global stage. Here are some of the benefits of receiving this visa:
- Your partner qualifies for a work visa, allowing them to work in New Zealand
- Your dependents qualify for student visas, giving them access to the publicly funded world-class education system New Zealand offers You and your family have access to a world-leading public healthcare system
- After 30 months of holding the Global Impact Visa, you and your family can apply for a permanent residence visa, which does not expire and makes you an integral part of New Zealand society for the rest of your life
- You become part of the EHF community, with access to a supportive local and global network. As part of EHF, you are welcomed to Aotearoa New Zealand following Māori customs and traditions, exposed to Māori culture with the generous support of our iwi partners at Te Ati Awa - Taranaki Whānui.
- Flexibility to travel internationally with no requirement for you to be in New Zealand for a minimum number of days, to allow you to build your venture appropriately and navigate the process of building a long-term base in New Zealand based on your personal circumstances.
To be eligible for GIVs, you must meet the following minimum requirements, as set by Immigration New Zealand:
- Acceptance into the Edmund Hillary Fellowship
- A high level of English language proficiency
- Good character*
- Good health
- Sufficient maintenance funds of NZD $36,000, OR the ability to earn income to support yourself and any dependents in New Zealand during the first year.
Read more about Immigration New Zealand’s requirements here. Please note that GIVs application fees are separate from EHF fees, and vary depending on your country of citizenship. Find out about GIVs fees here.
* To apply for GIVs, you need to provide police certificate background checks from your countries of citizenship and every country you have spent more than 12 months cumulative in the past 10 years. Please note that police certificate background checks can take 4-6 months or longer in some countries. Depending on your circumstances, in order to avoid delays in obtaining a Global Impact Visa, it may be a good idea to apply for your police certificate before being offered a place in the Fellowship. Details on each country’s specific requirements are here.
Once you have been granted a Global Impact Visa, you need to activate it within 90 days by entering New Zealand. Because EHF operates within a cohort model, Global Impact Visas are granted at similar times, twice annually. As attendance at your cohort induction week event in New Zealand is compulsory, we request that you get your visa approved in time for you to active it when you arrive before the induction week.
If you do not yet have your Global Impact Visa before your cohort induction week, you can apply for a visitor visa, in order to explore the country and get a better understanding of the ecosystem. This visitor visa will not allow you to work in New Zealand.
The term of the Global Impact Visa is three years. Provided that Fellows remain in the Fellowship programme, are active in the work you set to do in New Zealand, and adhere to the law in New Zealand, Fellows will be eligible to apply for New Zealand permanent resident visas six months before the end of their visa. As a permanent resident, you can live in New Zealand for the rest of your life, and can eventually be eligible for citizenship.
Our aim is for each Fellow to build a strong base in New Zealand in order to meaningfully engage with the local ecosystem, benefit from it and contribute to the innovation that is happening here. We take a long-term approach when considering this. When evaluating candidates for EHF and the time they are able to spend in New Zealand, we consider the work they wish to embark on in New Zealand, how they can create short-term and long-term impact locally, and the time on the ground they may need to do justice to their vision.
We recognise that most EHF Fellows are likely to be global citizens whose work may take them all over the world, and who can add value to New Zealand in multiple ways from other global bases. We also understand that building a long-term base in a new country can take time depending on each individual’s circumstances, especially for entrepreneurs and investors. Unlike other visa categories for New Zealand, the Global Impact Visa does not have a minimum day requirement for days spent in New Zealand each year.
However, Fellows are expected to travel to and participate in EHF events, to allow you to be active in the EHF community and deepen your connections with the New Zealand ecosystem. Fellows are also expected to connect meaningfully with members of the NZ ecosystem and help create impact locally in New Zealand.
No. We recognise that to create meaningful wins, you sometimes need to take big, calculated risks. We also realise that failure is common within the entrepreneur’s journey and believe that failures can present opportunities for learning. What we do expect is that Fellows will be introspective about failed ventures, openly share their learnings with others in the community, and promptly start planning next steps to build upon what you have learned.
Application and Selection
You can apply for EHF here through completing an online application. We will review your application, and for those who are shortlisted to proceed to the next step of the process, we may request interviews and additional information, including references.
We select two cohorts each year. Fees vary depending on whether you are an entrepreneur, investor, applying with team members, or as a New Zealander. We also have a limited number of scholarships available for international entrepreneurs.
Please carefully read our Apply page for more details on the process and fees, and to start the application process. Note that you will need to first create an account with our applicant management system before applying. It is best to use the same email address that you provided when expressing interest on our website (if applicable). You can save your application at any time and come back to it.
Applications to EHF are open on a rolling basis and close roughly every 6 months. Please check our Apply page for the latest deadlines.
We charge applications fees to contribute towards the costs of attracting and selecting Fellows. We are committed to ensuring that finances are not a barrier for top entrepreneurs with limited means, and as such we have limited scholarships available to subsidise EHF application fees.
EHF is a not-for-profit organisation. Please note that the application fees are non-refundable in all circumstances.
The application fees for EHF are shown on our Apply page.
For international entrepreneurs for whom finances are a barrier to applying for EHF, we have a limited number of scholarships available. Scholarships are available on a first come first serve basis, and are assessed purely on financial need. For each cohort there is a deadline for scholarship applications, ahead of the final application deadline. Please check our Apply page for details on scholarship application deadlines.
You sure can! EHF and the Global Impact Visa is designed for founders and co-founders. If you’re applying as a team, make sure that the principal applicant fills out the form, and lists the names of other co-founders in your application. If there are other team members in your team who are/will be employed by your company, there is the option of applying for alternative NZ work visas, or continuing to work remotely. Please note that fees are payable per team member.
We are able to receive only one application per team for the Fellowship. However, if there are others on your team who wish to be considered independently as an entrepreneur or investor in their own right, they have the option to apply individually.
Yes. Once Fellows are accepted into EHF, they will be able to apply for a Global Impact Visa. Moving from a current visa category to GIVs is permissible depending upon the nature of your current immigration status in New Zealand. Alternatively, you may be able to remain on whatever current visa you are on in New Zealand - each case will be unique.
Selection of Fellows occurs twice-yearly through a competitive merit-based application process. Read more about this process on our Apply page.
Assessment of applications is conducted by the EHF team, along with the help of subject matter experts and EHF Fellows. After submitting an application, candidates who are shortlisted may be asked to provide additional information, and we may request to interview you, or to contact references.
Once accepted into EHF, international candidates are invited to apply to Immigration New Zealand for a Global Impact Visa. To be granted visas, candidates must show Immigration New Zealand that they meet health, character, and English-language proficiency requirements and have sufficient maintenance funds or earning potential to support themselves for the first year in New Zealand. Once candidates obtain their visa, they will be offered spots in an EHF cohort. Please note that decisions on the Global Impact Visas are made solely and independently by Immigration New Zealand.
If candidates fail to qualify for and/or obtain a Global Impact Visa, they will not be offered a place in EHF.
EHF recognises that your potential for global impact and holistic value creation cannot always be measured by purely standardised metrics. Our selection process measures candidates against a set of qualitative and quantitative criteria that assess entrepreneurial or investment skills, experiences, capabilities, and potential to have a positive impact on New Zealand and the world.
Our selection criteria focus on identifying individuals and teams who:
- Have a bold vision to solve systemic challenges in society and create large-scale positive impact on New Zealand and the world.
- Demonstrate the drive and capability as entrepreneurs or investors to deliver on their vision.
- Can build valuable long-term connections with New Zealand and best leverage New Zealand’s unique advantages to innovate.
- Can actively and positively contribute to the EHF community, and are people who EHF sees sufficient potential to partner with over 10-20 years.
- Will be good ambassadors for NZ and embody and demonstrate EHF values (these include boldness, interconnectedness, excellence, global impact, authenticity, stewardship and humility).
Cohort diversity and benefits to New Zealand’s regions are also taken into consideration during the selection process.
EHF charges an application fee during submission, and an acceptance fee for all those who get accepted into EHF. We charge a fee in order to cover the cost of processing each application, and the acceptance fee goes towards covering the cost of running the programme.
EHF is an independent not for profit organisation, and the fees we receive allow us to run our organisation and support Fellows.
We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community. We have scholarships available to subsidize significant amounts of the fees for applicants who need financial assistance, and scholarship decisions are made on financial need basis.
We recently changed our pricing structure to better support our operations, and based on feedback from Fellows on the value they are getting as part of the fellowship programme as well as the value they receive from access to the Global Impact Visa.
The change of fees primarily impact international applicants who are investors and more established entrepreneurs. We continue our commitment to our scholarship programme and make EHF accessible to candidates with less financial means.
Moving to NZ
We recognise that it can be daunting and complicated to move between countries, particularly when you are bringing your entire family with you. We endeavour to make the immigration process as streamlined as possible for you and your family, and once you’ve landed, we will welcome your family into the wider EHF community along with you.
The EHF community and our partners can provide you with personalised support in deciding where to move in New Zealand, all the information and advice you need to make the move, and help you settle once you reach New Zealand. Whether it’s finding a good school for your children, finding office space to work out of, or who makes the best gluten-free pizza in town, we’ve got you covered.
Yes, a corresponding three-year visa can be granted to the immediate family members (partner/spouse and dependent children) of all accepted Fellows - read more on how family is defined here. Partners are able to apply for a work visa and dependent children may apply for visitor or student visas. If your family are applying for visas, they will need to meet health and character residence requirements as well.
Family member visas are not counted as part of the 100 Global Impact Visas that are available each year.
As an island nation with a strong agricultural and horticultural economy, New Zealand has strict biosecurity regulations. As such, some pets such as ferrets, rats and reptiles will not be permitted to enter New Zealand. There is a process to bring in other other pets like cats and dogs, which involves certain vaccinations and a period in quarantine. We can provide more information on this if you’d like to bring your furry family members with you.
Ready to apply?
If you’re not quite ready to apply, but would like to tell us more about your idea or venture, you can express interest.