You are not a follower. When you think about your future, you don’t think about just being part of something; you think about leading something. Like some of the most influential people of our time — Jobs, Zuckerberg, Musk — you want to nurture your kernel of an idea into an innovative, sustainable business
You want to be an entrepreneur.
Whether you aim to be the next tech titan or open the hottest new neighborhood bistro, you need some training to achieve your goals. To get your idea from the drawing board to reality, you need to understand business and finance. You need to learn to assemble and lead an effective team. You need to know how to find a market for your product and communicate your message to buyers.
The right college business program can get you up to speed. And to maximize the return on your educational investment, scholarships for entrepreneurs can help you keep the cost of college down.
Here are five scholarships for entrepreneurs every aspiring Indiana business owner should look into:
The Grasshopper Entrepreneur Scholarship
What is it? Grasshopper is a popular app that allows entrepreneurs to use their smartphones as business phones. The company says its annual scholarship is “designed to help young entrepreneurs afford the rising cost of education and help them along the road to entrepreneurship.”
How much is it? $5,000, awarded once.
Who can apply? Any current student or incoming student at an American college or university.
How do you apply? To apply, you must submit your answer to an essay prompt to Grasshopper online. For example, the 2017 prompt was, “How would you leverage the internet to develop a business? How would you manage the increased competition that an online marketplace produces?”
Deadline: The deadline for 2017’s scholarship has passed. Check the Grasshopper website later on this school year for the next deadline.
The GreenPal Business Scholarship
What is it? Lawn care company GreenPal, “ In the spirit of our founder,” offers a scholarship to students who operate their own businesses or have put together a business plan to do so in college.
How much is it? $2,000, paid in four installments of $500 over four semesters.
Who can apply? Any graduating high school senior or college freshman or sophomore majoring in business, economics, or finance. You must have a GPA of 3.5 or greater.
How do you apply? Answer an essay question and email it, along with a photo of yourself, to GreenPal. Find complete application instructions here.
Deadline: The deadline for 2017’s scholarship has passed. Check back with GreenPal for the 2018 deadline.
The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards
What is it? The National Federation of Independent Businesses gives out 100 awards each year to recognize “young people who have demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and initiative.” The top award is called the NFIB Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
How much is it? The NFIB gives out 95 $2,000 scholarships nationally, plus three $5,000 awards and two $15,000 awards.
Who can apply? Any graduating high school senior who owns and operates their own business. You must be headed to an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational training institute.
How do you apply? The first step is to apply online. Then, a selection committee will choose a group of semifinalists. If you make it into this group, you will be asked to submit additional material, interviewed, and nominated to receive awards.
Deadline: The deadline for the 2017 awards has passed. The 2018 award cycle should open up in October.
The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
What is it? Sponsored by the Entrepreneurs' Organization, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is an international competition for students who own and run businesses while attending college. Nominees work their way up from local competitions to the finals, pitting their business plan and acumen against students from around the world.
How much is it? The top award is $20,000. Second place is $10,000 and third is $5,000.
Who can apply? You must be a current undergraduate or graduate student, full- or part-time. You must be “the owner, founder or controlling shareholder” of a business that has been operating for at least six months. Find the full eligibility criteria here.
How do you apply? Complete an online form to enter a local competition.
Deadline: Local competitions are going on now. The closest to Indiana are in Chicago on Nov. 16 and Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 11. The finals will be in Toronto April 14-17, 2018.
The Citrix ShareFile Innovation Scholarship
What is it? ShareFile founder Jesse Lipson started his business shortly after graduating from college, selling it to Citrix in 2011. Now with his scholarship, he hopes to help others follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps.
How much is it? $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, and $2,000 for third.
Who can apply? Applicants must be currently enrolled in an accredited U.S. university, trade school, or college.
How do you apply? Fill out the online form and attach your essay answering the prompt, “Tell us about an inspiring innovator who made an impact on your life.” Essays should be 600 to 1,000 words long and spelling and grammar count.
Deadline: Dec. 15.
Find More Scholarships
Scholarships can be for entrepreneurship or just for being a good student. Their applications can be detailed or quick, five-minute affairs. What they all have in common is that they’re free money for college.
To learn how to find scholarships you qualify for, read our free Financial Aid Quick Guide to Scholarships. Click on the banner below for your copy.