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This year’s BMO Fellows include 18 of the most promising sustainability-focused entrepreneurs in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin who are driving solutions to their communities’ most significant environmental and sustainability challenges.

Watson Institute and BMO Launch 2024 “BMO Fellowship” to Support Progress of Sustainability-Focused Entrepreneurs in Underserved Communities


CHICAGO, May 10, 2024 – Watson Institute and BMO today are thrilled to announce the launch of the inaugural BMO Fellowship for innovative, sustainability-focused entrepreneurs and community leaders from underserved communities throughout Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. This year, 18 fellows have been selected to participate in the program, which is designed to support the progress of highly promising, diverse sustainability leaders achieve their goals centered around solving today’s environmental challenges.

“Our 2024 BMO Fellows are at the forefront of driving positive change by creating innovative solutions for environmental and sustainability challenges in their communities – from pioneering water management strategies and reducing energy emissions to developing environmentally conscious wellness products and ending food deserts,” said Eric Glustrom, CEO and Founder of Watson Institute. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with BMO to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all, and we look forward to supporting this year’s innovative cohort.”

Specifically, The BMO Fellowship enables entrepreneurs and leaders by:

  • Providing expert-guided training and ‘Impact Series’ workshops focused on building a comprehensive roadmap to guide the growth and scalability of work and skills-building to construct and refine their missions.
  • Creating access to a robust mentorship network to enhance leadership abilities and the impact of ventures, as well as the potential to form new partnerships.
  • Awarding a $15,000 venture development stipend for select BMO fellows based on progress and impact throughout the fellowship.
  • Equipping each BMO fellow with the tools and resources to power ‘Basecamps’ in their communities – impact workshops and training sessions to help expand their mission in their home state.
  • Affording the opportunity to pitch ideas to local leaders, potential investors, and other entrepreneurs – as well as to receive feedback from BMO and community stakeholders.

“At BMO, building a sustainable future and our commitment to zero barriers to inclusion are core to our Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life to foster and strengthen communities where everyone can make progress,” said Helen Seibel, Head of Employee and Community Giving at BMO. “Through the BMO Fellowship with Watson Institute, we are proud to support the next generation of sustainability-focused entrepreneurs by providing them with the resources, mentorship, and platform to meaningfully address society’s most pressing challenges.”

The BMO Fellowship is aligned with BMO’s commitment to Environmental Sustainability and the bank’s Zero Barriers to Inclusion 2025, a multi-year strategy focused on providing access to opportunities and enabling growth both inside and outside our doors.

To learn more about the BMO Fellowship, visit

BMO Gives. Good grows here.

Helping communities thrive by supporting the organizations that sustain them and encouraging employee giving and volunteerism is at the heart of BMO’s Purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In 2023, our social impact included more than $84 million donated to hundreds of charities and non-profit organizations across North America to help drive progress by enabling individuals to thrive and communities to prosper. Our colleagues spent 62,000 hours volunteering in the community and contributed more than $31.2 million of donations through our annual employee giving program. For more information, please visit

About BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group is the eighth largest bank in North America by assets, with total assets of $1.3 trillion as of Jan. 31, 2024. Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a diverse team of highly engaged employees providing a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management, global markets and investment banking products and services to 13 million customers across Canada, the United States, and in select markets globally. Driven by a single purpose, to Boldly Grow the Good, in business and life, BMO is committed to driving positive change in the world, and making progress for a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society.

 About Watson Institute

Founded in 2013, Watson Institute partners with leading corporations and foundations to power transformative Fellowships that support highly promising, historically disenfranchised rising entrepreneurs and leaders. The Fellowships provide award-winning entrepreneurship and leadership skills training, committed mentorship, financial stipends, long-term Alumni support, and access to a global community of peers, mentors, and opportunities. Alumni of Watson Institute’s Fellowships have raised over $185 million, created over 1,900 paid jobs, and impacted 10 million people across the US and globally through their ventures.