Philadelphia, PA – Rashaun Williams used to be just a case of the classic minority struggle. He was defined as a college drop-out from a family who were not so financially well off, but throughout the years he has redefined himself to be a neighborhood leader, and founder of multiple organizations including the new Watson Institute Philadelphia.
The Watson Institute takes in scholars from the ages of 18-23 to train them in a variety of skills to make them better entrepreneurs and to increase the likelihood of them having successful businesses.
Scholars are chosen based off of applied passion, meaning many already have plans in action for businesses they will either create or assist.
“Anybody that has a passion that they apply. That’s how students are chosen beyond us having a national and international network of folks to pull. The students are either helping out with other organizations or creating their own.”
He said some of the scholars include Alfredo, who is a plant based organic personal trainer, Kaitlyn who has a project in Ghana where handbags are developed and retailed in the U.S. and Kate, who wishes to start a youth program focusing on different ways to help young people improve on their critical thinking skills.
The first program is two weeks to help get the scholars and the institute prepared for the next year when it will be ran as a summer semester program. After the first full summer semester the other semester programs in the fall and spring will be introduced, and within three years the scholars will be able to graduate with a degree in Entrepreneurship.
It will be ran as a super powered family who all sleep, eat and breathe success.
“We all wake up in the same house together,” Williams said. We eat together. We talk and have conversations about where everybody is how everybody feels and then we all go to a different part of the city to meet with mentors for 1-2 hours.”
He said they then come back together as a group again to meet with a professional where they participate in different workshops and activities. When the day is done, just like a family they sit down for dinner and talk about different issues, possible solutions and just anything they want to talk about.
Although the Watson Institute is new in Philadelphia, it originated in Boulder, Colorado. Eric Glustrom, Colorado’s Watson Institute Founder, started a program in 2001 called Educate for communities in Uganda. From that curriculum he developed the Watson Institute in 2013.
During this time Williams was working as a DJ and a making a living from other various endeavors such as journalism and volunteering. Shortly after Williams was recommended by a friend to Glustrom to be a part of the growth of the Watson Institute.
He said he couldn’t have walked away from the opportunity even if he wanted to. It has always been his mission to help peopl
“I don’t like not having access to making a difference,” said Williams. “To me it’s simple. If you want to do something you just do it.”
Rashaun Williams hopes to expand the Watson Institute so that it becomes a University for people all over the world. It will empower entrepreneurs and provide them with the right tools for their success.