4-Month Incubator @ Entrepreneurial Institute

A revolutionary new model of education for entrepreneurs, the Watson Institute invites early-stage, social innovators to apply to the Watson Incubator to receive training, mentorship, and community. Find out how to apply here!


About Watson Institute:

Watson Institute is built on the belief that to solve the toughest challenges facing the world, we must equip the next generation with the necessary tools, network, mindset, and courage to unleash a lifetime of impact. We are a reimagined 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 includes:

  • 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.

The Opportunity:

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 training, mentorship, 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.

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.

Ideal Candidate:

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:

1. 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.

2. 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?

3. The 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. 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 the idea stage.

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Deadline to Apply: 10/15/19 (extended deadline)


APPLY HERE and let them know that Next Gen sent you!

Alex Gordon