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Small Business Scholarships and Financing an Entrepreneurial Education

small-business-scholarshipsAmerica runs on small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit, in fact according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for 64 percent of the private sector jobs.  Small businesses also represent one of the fastest growing employment opportunities for future graduates.  However, large portions of future and present college students have visions of massive corporations, suits and skyscrapers as being their post graduation home.  Let’s forego the old way of thinking and help those students looking to finance an entrepreneurial education keeping the small business dream alive.

Paying For an Entrepreneurial Education

Yes, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg may not have followed the traditional college education track and still wound up being highly successful.  It’s possible, though slim, that you would be able to have similar success, though for the sake of this article, let’s assume your small business hopes require the foundation of a strong college education.  That foundation requires a good college savings plan that may include grants, scholarships, 529s, financial aid among other numerous options.

“College was critical to my success as a small business owner,” explains Terpos Ageladelis, the owner of Air Fun Games, a company providing water slide rentals in Tampa, FL.  “Keeping my business operating efficiently requires top notch customer service skills coupled with the ability to manage anything that may come up.”  “I was lucky enough to have strong support to help me pay for school, but I worry about my family being able to afford school with today’s rising costs.”

Being resourceful and doing your homework in advance can save thousands on tuition costs.  Programs such as the scholarship offer $1,500 to those with ties to small business.  Three lucky winners receive this scholarship each year.

Jesse Buchman of Prestige Entertainment was one of the lucky winners of the scholarship. “I began to understand that an entrepreneurial spirit is not binary and does not involve a simple on/off switch.  Instead, entrepreneurship is a defining characteristic that guides and defines you,” Jesse explained, proving the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.  He went on and stated, “I now have very specific career goals that I hope will lead to a fulfilling life through which I can make a positive impact on the lives of others. My business allowed me to find my passion.”

Check For Scholarships & Grants in Specific Sectors

Numerous small businesses cater to a niche or focused customer base. The medical sector for example, which is made up of doctor’s offices, dentists, pharmacies and nursing homes are often run by small business owners, each with their own story of success.

“Set your sights high and don’t settle for second place,” Dr. Greenberg, a Saginaw family dentist, advises.  “Look for grants and similar programs that can help you reach your dream of owning you own business.  I am personally thankful that I have been able to go to work happy each day and do something I truly enjoy.”

Dr. Greenberg’s advice is sound, as many grants and scholarships go unfilled because potential students weren’t savvy enough to find them.  For example, the American Dental Association (ADA) foundation offers grants and scholarships for higher education to those in the dental industry.  They offer around 54 scholarships with up to $135,000 total funding; something future dentists should really look into.

For a more generalized approach there is the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE).  They have awarded more than $55,000 in Succeed Scholarships since 2011. The NASE Foundation Future Entrepreneur Scholarship is designed to help promote youth entrepreneurship.  They award up to a $10,000 scholarship for future entrepreneurs.

Keep your spirit alive and chase your dreams by creating your own small business, just do so with the right tools.  A robust higher education will pay you back in dividends, helping you succeed where others may have once failed.  However, you can go to school in the most economical way possible by focusing on grants, scholarships and similar for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Matthew Speer.  He is the owner of iFame Media, a marketing firm offering expert SEO services to those looking for sustainable marketing practices.

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One Response to “Small Business Scholarships and Financing an Entrepreneurial Education”

  1. andrew says:

    The 529 plan sounds like a wise choice for anyone who is trying to make it as an entrepreneur but still want the benefits of a college degree.