Thank you for your interest in applying to the 2018 class of the James Beard Foundation's Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership Program (WEL)!

Apply here.

WEL comprises an annual fellowship for a class of up to twenty women to attend a five-day entrepreneurship and leadership training program that will run from September 23-September 28, 2018. The WEL program is developed with and hosted at Babson College, located just outside of Boston, MA. 

If you are selected as a 2018 WEL Fellow, all program related expenses will be covered by the James Beard Foundation, including round trip flights, ground transportation, housing, and meals. 

The curriculum will address advanced business and finance concepts related to expanding your business, while also providing gender-specific training and leadership development. 

To qualify for the WEL Program you must:

  • Identify as female
  • Own or co-own at least one (1) restaurant or food business operating in the United States
  • Have a strong desire to learn, network, and grow your business
  • Be available to attend the five-day intensive program at Babson College, outside of Boston, MA, September 23-28, 2018
  • Complete this application in full, submit the required letters of recommendation (one (1) personal and two (2) professional), and be available for any follow up interviews as needed

The application for the 2018 WEL Fellowship closes on Saturday, March 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm ET. You may return to edit your application up until the deadline, but please be sure to submit your application by March 31.  If you are selected to participate in the follow up interview portion of the application, a JBF representative will notify you directly. Final selection of 2018 WEL Fellows will take place in May 2018 and all applicants will be notified before the end of that month. 


Please contact Michelle Santoro at with questions regarding the WEL Program and this application.