Global Founders Program FAQs

1) What is the Global Founders Program?


The Global Founders Program (GFP) is an academic program for the study of entrepreneurship and emerging technologies at UC Berkeley offered to entrepreneurs in the US and foreign nationals around the world. The GFP is offered by SkyDeck in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (SCET). SCET will assist accepted Global Founders in applying for the appropriate research scholar visa (with a term of up to two years).


Most uniquely, founders will have the opportunity to test and apply their research findings to their own companies at the UC Berkeley SkyDeck accelerator.


2) What am I doing as a member of the Global Founder Program? What restrictions might apply?


The primary focus of Global Founders is conducting research at UC Berkeley’s SCET on entrepreneurship and emerging technologies, with their startups being a platform for interfacing and understanding the Silicon Valley ecosystem.


  • Global Founders are here as visiting scholars; this means they cannot be employed by any company (including their own).
  • Global Founders should not currently be students in their home countries.


3) What happens at the end of my term as a Global Founder?


The intention of the visiting scholar program is for you to bring the knowledge, experiences, and resources you’ve gathered back to your home country. We expect many of our Global Founders will return to their home country, and continue to work on growing their startups on the world stage.


Some Global Founders might prefer to continue their careers in Silicon Valley; you would need to inquire with an immigration attorney to see how to achieve this goal.


4) I’m a foreign national currently studying / doing research in the US; can I also apply?


Yes! We expect many Global Founders will currently be doing research or studying in the United States. This is a pathway for you to research entrepreneurship at Berkeley immediately.


5) Let me tell you about my personal visa status… is the Global Founder a good choice for me?


We aren’t the right people to answer this question. Every applicant will have a different situation, and every applicant has different long-term goals. You must consult a qualified immigration attorney to fully understand your options.


6) When should I apply to the Global Founders Program?


Founders (up to 2) who need to be present in the US should apply for the GFP at the same time the company applies to the SkyDeck full cohort track.


Have more questions? Contact us directly and we’ll get back to you.