Watson Institute’s Watson Incubator (Spring 2020)

Deadline
October 01, 2020

Opportunity begins:

Jan 18, 2020

Opportunity ends:

May 06, 2020


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Location (s):

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

Overview

A lifetime of impact begins. The Watson Incubator is a program for college students, recent graduates, and gap-year students with an early-stage social venture/project and a passion for social impact. During the 4-month program, the cohort of 30 young social innovators convene in Boulder, Colorado to tackle the greatest challenges facing the world. From climate change to income inequality and from political oppression to access to water, students enrolled in the Watson Incubator leverage trainingmentorship, and community to unleash a lifetime of impact.

Details

A lifetime of impact begins.

The Watson Incubator is a program for college students, recent graduates, and gap-year students with an early-stage social venture/project and a passion for social impact.

During the 4-month program, the cohort of 30 young social innovators convene in Boulder, Colorado to tackle the greatest challenges facing the world. From climate change to income inequality and from political oppression to access to water, students enrolled in the Watson Incubator leverage trainingmentorship, and community to unleash a lifetime of impact.

  • Training: Courses and workshops focused on entrepreneurship, leadership, and hard skills that put theory to practice.
  • Mentorship: Every student is paired with mentors in their field to challenge their assumptions, enhance their perspective, and expand their impact.
  • 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.

Amplify your impact.

Watson Institute is a revolutionary new model of education for next-generation innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. You can find us in two locations: Boulder, Colorado and Boca Raton, Florida.

The Watson Incubator in Boulder, Colorado was launched in 2013 with the mission to revolutionize higher education by providing young innovators and leaders the entrepreneurial platform to unleash their potential and impact the world.

The next evolution of education.

  • Tools: Courses and workshops that empower students to build impactful and successful careers while developing solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.
  • Network: Personalized mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs, leaders, and executives, to strengthen students’ global network.
  • Mindset: Students develop, practice, and apply the entrepreneurial mindset necessary to thrive as successful, impactful innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs.

 

 

Hands-on and interactive courses

Students complete three courses during the Watson Incubator.

  • Transformative Entrepreneurship: This course is designed to lead students through the process of building out their social ventures and is divided into three sections: Business Model Validation, Funder Readiness, and Team Building.
  • Transformative Action: 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.
  • Watson Lab: Students learn and apply skills to their ventures through guided experiments and hands-on assignments. Each Lab is designed for students to apply new skills and refine existing skills to develop and strengthen their social ventures. Lab is divided into three modules, or ‘checkpoints’: Clarity: Developing a clear strategy, vision, and roadmap; Money: Rallying the resources necessary to grow impact, practicing the fundraising process, and building relationships with funders; and People: Developing the skills, network, and frameworks to build and strengthen a team.

In addition to the courses outlined above, students experience an interactive Master Course led by a seasoned entrepreneur or leader who is invited to campus each week.

The Cohort

As part of a Watson Incubator 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. Some highlights of student life include:

  • An experiential scholar trip where the cohort travels to learn more about themselves and their classmates
  • Funders Week, an entire week with workshops and special speakers dedicated to fundraising
  • The Watson Summit, a culminating demo day where students pitch their ventures and projects to the Colorado community
  • Shared, fully furnished and equipped apartment-style rooms with kitchens
  • Access to co-working spaces around town and a bus pass
  • Gym membership
  • Living within walking distance of lively downtown Boulder and within feet of dozens of hiking trails

Application deadline to the Spring 2020 cohort is October 1st, 2019.

The Location: Boulder, Colorado

At the Watson Incubator, students live in Chautauqua Park, a beautiful National Historic Landmark nestled against the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder’s entrepreneurship ecosystem is booming and students are matched with local mentors and social ventures to integrate into the local innovative entrepreneurial community.

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.

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Scholar Selection Criteria

We are looking for early stage social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers with a bias towards action. We do not select based on GPA, SAT scores, nationality, or ability to pay. We look at the whole person, and evaluate each application using three main criteria:

Scholar Selection Criteria

We are looking for early stage social entrepreneurs, innovators, and changemakers with a bias towards action. We do not select based on GPA, SAT scores, nationality, or ability to pay. We look at the whole person, and evaluate each application using three main criteria:

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?

The Stage

Watson Incubator

  • Life Stage: Students can apply to Watson’s semester program before (gap year), during, in lieu of, or shortly after their undergraduate studies. Applicants are typically 18-23 years old. 
  • Venture Stage, Early Prototyping: The students we select are early stage in the development of their ideas, but in most cases a strong applicant already has at least a prototype of their concept. This means that they are typically past idea stage.

Dates:

Deadline: October 01, 2020

Program Starts: January 18, 2020

Program Ends: May 06, 2020


Cost/funding for participants:

Watson’s Pave the Way Fund pays for students’ tuition and housing in Boulder and tuition, housing, and 24/7 dining in South Florida. Once students graduate and begin earning a living wage, alumni share an affordable percentage of future earnings for a set number of months through what’s commonly known as an Income Share Agreement. Alumni contributions refuel the Pave the Way Fund which in turn provides the same opportunity to future scholars to attend Watson.

Watson believes entrepreneurial talent is universal, while opportunity is not. Therefore, The Pave the Way Fund is a new way of financing higher education which ensures Watson is radically accessible and alumni graduate without debt.

Tuition Breakdown

The Watson education is an extremely personalized experience – from weekly mentor meetings to tailored workshops, out of state travel, and one-on-ones with renowned entrepreneurs. We offer generous scholarships, fellowships and financing options to make Watson accessible to students from all economic backgrounds.

Watson Incubator in Boulder, CO

Tuition: $17,980
Housing: $3,000
Total: $21,980

  • 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. 

Scholarships

Watson offers generous scholarships for both merit and financial need. Over 90% of Watson Scholars are on a merit or need-based partial scholarship.

  • Merit Scholarships: Watson selectively offers merit scholarships for scholars with exceptional track-records in the social impact space and demonstrated potential.
  • Need-Based Financial Aid: On top of awarded merit scholarships, Watson offers need-based financial aid for accepted applicants upon completion of our internal Financial Aid Application and accompanying documentation.

Fellowships

Watson offers several full-ride fellowships each semester that include full tuition and housing. All finalists will be invited to apply for these fellowships:

  • American Impact Fellowship: This Fellowship is for US-based applicants that are committed to lead lives of impact through entrepreneurial leadership.
  • European Impact Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants from the 28 member countries of the European Union that are committed to impact the EU and beyond through social entrepreneurship. This Fellowship extends to the United Kingdom.
  • Luff Peace Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants working to increase access and quality of education and promoting peace globally.
  • Enlight China Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants from greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, that are committed to lead lives of impact.
  • Enlight Women’s Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants working to increase access and quality of education for women and girls.
  • Sistla Tech Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants creating tech solutions to solve the greatest social and environmental challenges.
  • Sustainability Fellowship: This Fellowship is for applicants developing solutions focused on environmental sustainability and climate change.
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