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A Fellowship Supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation

Empowering next-gen entrepreneurs, who are addressing youth homelessness and/or poverty in their communities, to amplify their impactful ventures.

Applications for the program are now closed.

Michele Madison, 2023 Fellow supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation

The Fellowship Supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation is a fully-funded venture and leadership program designed for early-stage entrepreneurs, business owners, and nonprofit founders in Houston, TX or the South Florida region, who are working to address youth homelessness and/or poverty. Fellows receive technical training, enhance their business acumen, and gain financial literacy knowledge, all tailored to amplify their impact within the communities they serve.

This is a fully-funded program thanks to the support of the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation.

Dates & Details

  • Dates: February 17th to June 6th, 2024 (16 weeks of programming)
  • Format: Weekly virtual workshops with localized gatherings and events when possible. Sessions are held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 am to 10:30 am ET and on Thursdays from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm ET.
  • Virtual Immersive: The program will begin with a virtual immersive in the weeks leading up to the start of the program.
  • Training: Fellows will engage in weekly expert-led modules covering subjects including Financial Literacy Skills, Foundations, Data & Metrics, Go-To-Market, Funding, Team Management, and Pitch.
  • Impact Series: Renowned leaders, entrepreneurs, and practitioners join the fellowships we power to share their entrepreneurial journey and experience, as well as mentor the Fellows. See previous Impact Series Speakers here.
  • Basecamp: A 1 to 3-day workshop designed and led by Fellows for their own stakeholders and communities. Fellows will receive a $1,000 stipend to support the implementation of the Basecamp events.
  • Pitch Video: All Fellows will receive an edited, professional version of their 4-minute pitch that they will develop over the course of the program.
  • Venture Development Stipend: Fellows can earn up to $1,000 in a venture development stipend based on the completion of Basecamp and their progress and impact throughout the Fellowship.


  • Who You Are:
    • You are an entrepreneur, small business owner, or nonprofit leader who is deeply committed to solving homelessness and/or poverty in your community, and are located in Houston, TX or South Florida.
    • You are at the helm of a social impact venture or community endeavor with 1-5 years of traction, demonstrating a history of making a difference. Ideally, your venture operates to address youth homelessness and/or poverty.
    • You possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a growth mindset, and a drive to become an effective leader within your community. The ideal venture stage for this fellowship is one that is in the Problem-Solution Fit or Product-Market Fit phases, with engaged customers or beneficiaries, and demonstrated outcomes in both impact and revenue.
  • Where You Create Impact:
    • Applicants located in or creating impact in markets across Houston TX, or South Florida region.
    • If your location is not listed above, we encourage you to explore other fellowships powered by Watson Institute. We are currently recruiting for several impactful fellowship opportunities across a diverse range of locations.
  • What You Are Looking For:
    • You are seeking expert-guided entrepreneurial training, a community of entrepreneurs to provide feedback that enhances your venture, and a broad-reaching mentor network to develop your leadership abilities and amplify the impact of your venture.
    • You are eager for an opportunity to challenge yourself by leading a Basecamp event, stepping out of your comfort zone, and spearheading an initiative that benefits your venture while serving your stakeholders and community.

What You Will Accomplish

With the unwavering support of the Watson Institute, you will receive a comprehensive roadmap to guide the growth and scalability of your work and impact. You will acquire the skills to construct and refine your pitch, and will receive an edited 4-minute professional version of your presentation. Additionally, you will facilitate an impactful workshop and training session (known as a Basecamp) in your community for your stakeholders, supported by a stipend, playbook, and team assistance to bring your vision to life.

Application Process

1. Applications Submitted: Complete the online application. This application should take approximately 45 minutes to fill out. The final deadline for application submissions is January 15th, 2024. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis after the deadline.

2. First Round Review: Our Admissions Committee diligently reviews all applications, seeking entrepreneurs who demonstrate strong leadership qualities and ventures that are both innovative and scalable. Applications received after the deadline will be assessed on a rolling basis as needed.

3. Interview: Qualified applicants will receive invitations for a 20-minute one-on-one Zoom interview. This interview allows us to delve deeper into your motivations for pursuing the fellowship and to gain a better understanding of your venture. Interviews will commence during the week of December 1st, 2023.

4. Admissions Committee Review: The most promising applicant profiles will be shared with our external Admissions Committee for their final review and selection.

5. Acceptances Announced: Notifications of acceptance will be sent out during the week of January 19th, 2024.

6. Fellows Confirm & Enroll: The final step to complete your enrollment is to confirm your commitment to the program. Upon confirmation, you will receive an invitation to participate in a “Meet the Cohort Webinar” event leading up to the program’s commencement. The program begins February 17th, 2024.

Program Elements

The Fellowship Supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation offers award-winning training, dedicated mentorship, and a dynamic peer community. We are here to equip you with the skills and insights necessary to supercharge your venture and make a lasting impact.

Pay the Impact Forward: Empower Your Communities through Basecamps


Grow your leadership skills, build local partnerships, and expand your impact by facilitating a Watson Institute Basecamp in your community.

Every Fellow receives training, a playbook, and a financial stipend to facilitate a Basecamp—a one to three day intensive workshop—in their community, empowering them to drive positive change locally. As a key deliverable of the Fellowship Supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, all Fellows will facilitate a Basecamp event during their time in the program. Fellows are empowered through their training to tailor the Basecamp structure and outcomes to their desired participant community.

Fellowships are designed to educate, empower, and drive impact, with each element of the program contributing towards the long-term impact of the Watson Institute Fellows and their communities. Basecamps stand as a pillar of this journey. Fellows who have led successful Basecamps have unlocked opportunities for new partnerships, additional funding avenues, media exposure, and have created a ripple effect of deeper impact within their communities.

Learn More

99% of Watson Institute Alumni use a skill they learned while in a Watson Institute powered program up to ten years after graduation.

Watson Alumni are Making an Impact

The pioneer Fellow supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation, Michele Madison, led Basecamps for three local schools in Palm Beach County. Michele’s Basecamps focused on building community gardens for all three schools as a way to provide nutritious food and the opportunity to learn how to grow one’s own food for low-income middle schools.
Across all three schools the student body representation was between 91 – 95% minorities and 88 – 94% low-income students. Michele Madison has provided more than 500,000 disadvantaged, homeless, and adolescents in juvenile detention centers with STEM education and aquaponic growing kits.

Learn More about Watson Institute's Alumni Here

Michele Madison | Farming The Future

2023 Fellow supported by the Leslie L. Alexander Foundation

Farming the Future (FTF) is working to provide both education and meals to children who may be homeless, committed to a detention center, or otherwise living in disadvantaged and lower-income households. Farming The Future also provides a science curriculum with hands-on growing kits for the classroom and home, which not only provides healthy and nutritious food to poor children and families but also increases their knowledge of science & STEM concepts.

The Leslie L. Alexander Foundation is a private foundation located in Delray Beach, Florida.