Apply for the 2021 Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award

Hunter Brooks Watson in a winter scene

Applications are now being accepted through March 15 for the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award.  The competition features $10,000 in funding and is open to all full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students at Syracuse University.  The event will be held virtually Friday afternoon, March 26 in conjunction with the RvD iPrize.  Apply here through the common app.

The Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards were created to recognize students who have demonstrated a real passion and enthusiasm for entrepreneurship and are actively pursuing a venture idea.  Judging criteria for the awards include:

  • Passion and spirit
  • Intrinsic drive that pushed the entrepreneurs to pursue this venture, and the likeliness that the team will pursue the venture
  • Level of cooperation and camaraderie between the team members
  • Innovative idea and a clear plan of the continuation of the venture
  • Engagement during Q&A, showing rapport as well as technical competence

The awards, funded through a generous gift to the iSchool from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund, help to celebrate the life of Hunter Brooks Watson.  Hunter was a Syracuse student studying Information Management at the iSchool who tragically lost his life as a passenger in a distracted driver automobile accident in 2016. Hunter demonstrated a strong gift and enthusiasm in music – having a music video reach millions of hits, computer technology, performance art and entrepreneurship.

“Hunter’s interest and ability to foresee the developing trends of his age can be found in the many kids like Hunter,” said his father Jerry Watson. “This fund seeks to support with their ideas, enthusiasm and dreams.”

The Fund was established to help students who display immense passion and drive for their venture and ideas, demonstrating the entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson. The awards recognize students who have passionate interests in areas comparable to those that motivated Hunter, but who may not have the financial means to bring their ideas to life.

See the previous Syracuse University winners here:

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Learn more about the program here:

To apply, teams must upload a one-page executive summary and answer a brief questionnaire on the common app.  They will then receive important updates and information, invitations to pitch practice workshops and other tools to help prepare for the competition. Workshops will be coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars in Bird Library. 

Managing this year’s program and mentoring applicants is Emma Rothman who was named 2020 – 2021 Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar at the LaunchPad.  Contact her at:

Additional information is also available at