2020 Watson Summer Accelerator

March 01, 2020

Opportunity begins:

May 26, 2020

Opportunity ends:

Jul 17, 2020

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Trainings & Fellowships

Location (s):

  • United States of America
Boulder 1310 College Ave Boulder, CO 80302


The Watson Summer Accelerator is an 8-week program for college idea-stage entrepreneurs in Boulder, Colorado. Taking place between May 26th and July 17th, the program explores the rigorous journey of launching a social venture, being immersed in the world of social change, and leading a life of impact.

The program is tailored for college-aged students of all majors looking to design, test, and validate an impact-focused project or venture. Students who successfully complete the Watson Summer Accelerator have an articulated pathway to earn credits from Lynn University which are eligible for transfer.


  • Training: Courses and workshops focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, and hard skills that put theory to practice.
  • Mentorship: Every student is paired with mentors that align with their mission, challenge assumptions, contribute valuable perspective, and expand their network.
  • Community: Students join a diverse cohort with members from every corner of the globe, a variety of experiences, and a common goal to impact the world.



Hands-on and interactive courses

Students complete three courses during the Watson Summer Accelerator:

  • Transformative Entrepreneurship: Venture Creation: This course is designed to equip students with the tools and knowledge they need to build a social venture. Watson Institute has licensed the curriculum of Uncharted, which is a leading training program for social entrepreneurs globally, having worked with 545 ventures who are creating impact in 96 countries. TE is divided into three sections: Business Model Validation, Funder Readiness, and Team Building.
  • Transformative Action: Personal Development: This course guides students through the process of overcoming key challenges faced during the social entrepreneurial process and in the social change sector. The course is based on the principles of “Transformative Action”, which is defined as new methods of solving society’s problems, looking beyond traditional methods of social change and covering topics and skills ranging from: positive psychology, fragility to resilience, stagnation to creation and much more.
  • Finances Lab: Business Acumen and Skill Acquisition: Through this course, students work side by side to accomplish structured activities with weekly skills workshops in areas such as goal-setting, sales, budgeting and accounting. Students practice working collaboratively with peers to overcome common challenges faced by their peers during the process of starting a impact-focused enterprise, analyze best practices in sales techniques for reaching customers, create a financial budget and projections for a impact-focused venture, and synthesize and employ best practices for small business accounting.

Locations and Cohort

Boulder, Colorado

At the Watson Summer Accelerator, students live in Boulder, Colorado, an innovative hub nestled against the Rocky Mountains. Boulder’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is booming and students are integrated into the local innovative entrepreneurial community during the program.

Alongside access to world-renowned ski resorts, hiking and mountain biking trails, and climbing, Boulder is also an epicenter of entrepreneurship, business, and innovation with neighbors like Google, Twitter, Amazon, and TechStars.

In addition, Boulder is located just 30 minutes away from Denver, an ever growing tech hub and diverse city located east of the Rocky Mountains. Denver International Airport is one of the busiest in the country and allows for direct flights to all corners of the United States.

The Cohort

As part of a Watson Summer Accelerator cohort of young innovators and social entrepreneurs from around the globe, students build a powerful community of peers and lifelong friendships. The cohort, as diverse as it is, has in common a gritty idealism and drive to make the world a better place.

The cohort lives together in dorms near Boulder’s downtown neighborhood through the duration of the program.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Is this program for you?

This program is for idea-stage entrepreneursinnovatorsand changemakers with a bias towards action.

Students who are in the idea stage and are beginning to enter the prototyping stage are the most well-suited for the Watson Summer Accelerator. Idea stage means that you have done research on the problem you’re looking to solve and have begun to conjure up potential solutions for that problem. In addition, at this stage you have discussed your idea with mentors and friends and may have begun to prototype and test those ideas.

The Person

  • Gritty Idealism: Watson Institute students are idealistic in the sense that they believe they can make the world a better place, but gritty in the sense that they aren’t afraid to start and bootstrap a solution in a resource limited environment.
  • Entrepreneurial Courage: Ideal candidates protect their courage by demonstrating they aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone with a bias towards action and prototyping. They also protect the courage of their fellow students through support and peer-to-peer mentorship.
  • Motivation: We look at applicants’ key influences and motivations behind the creation of their ventures and their interest in attending Watson, as well as their overall character. Competitive applicants are willing and able to dedicate themselves fully to this program as well as to their venture. They are communicative, open-minded and curious.

The Venture/Idea

  • Addressing the Root Cause: We evaluate the extent to which the idea the student is developing addresses the root cause of the problem they are choosing to solve. We make an assessment on how well have they articulated both their solution and the problem, rather than simply putting a band-aid on a problem.
  • Viability of Idea: We look at how likely it is that the applicant’s venture will succeed. Does the student have a solid idea and model to develop, advance, and eventually scale?


Deadline: March 01, 2020

Program Starts: May 26, 2020

Program Ends: July 17, 2020

Cost/funding for participants:

Apply to the Watson Summer Accelerator

You have two tracks to choose from:

Venture Founder Track

The Venture Founder track is for students who are founders or co-founders of a venture or project. The Venture Funder may collaborate with a Free Agent track student attending the same cohort.

Free Agent Track

The Free Agent track is for students looking to join a venture or project and are prepared to contribute in significant ways to the team. Free Agents join a Venture Founder’s team at the beginning of the cohort.

What is the cost of the program?

Cost of the Watson Summer Accelerator in Boulder, Colorado.
Tuition: $10,000
Housing: $2,000
Total: $12,000

  • Health Insurance: All students are required to have health insurance, which is offered at cost if the student does not already have insurance.
  • Other Expenses: Students should also budget for travel to and from Boca Raton or Boulder, transportation while enrolled, as well as entertainment costs.
  • Housing: Living on campus is mandatory.
  • Required Technology: Wireless internet is included in the residential fees, however, having a laptop is essential to your learning at Watson. 

We offer scholarships based on merit and financial need to cover up to half of the cost of this program. Scholarships are awarded after students have been interviewed and admitted into the program.

Priority deadline applications are encouraged for scholarship availability.

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