Scholarships for Entrepreneurs

Be Your Own Boss

College education leads to employment opportunities with companies and organizations of all sizes, and it also lays the foundation for entrepreneurial endeavors.  Business, economics, organizational management, and other academic majors cater to students stepping in to the private sector with innovative ideas for products and services.  Entrepreneurs live with the risk and uncertainty of self-employment, but successful individuals reap unique benefits as well.

Start-ups drive the economy, providing jobs and consuming goods and services offered by other companies – so entrepreneurs are vital components of healthy economies.  As a result, some financial aid is aimed directly at students choosing independent career paths. Individual colleges offer their own campus-specific brands of financial aid, and associations serving self-employed people also offer educational assistance.

The following entries illustrate some of the financial aid that is earmarked for entrepreneurs.  Scholarship-seekers use good grades, tenacity, and entrepreneurial aptitude to qualify for tuition assistance.

entrepreneur scholarships

National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE)

The NASE Future Entrepreneur Scholarship provides up to $24,000.00 in funding  for qualified students who demonstrate skills and abilities conducive to independent employment. $12,000.00 is awarded the first year; followed by $4,000.00 during each of the next three years of study.

High school seniors and undergraduate students who are dependents of NASE members, are eligible to compete for NASE Scholarships, which are each worth $4,000.00. Recipients are selected based on financial need, academic achievement, leadership ability, recommendations from instructors, and participation in school and community activities.

The newest entry in the NASE stable of financial assistance for entrepreneurs is a program serving continuing education.  NASE members are eligible for Succeed Scholarships, which provide up to $4000 for each qualified participant.  The scholarships assist members who seek continuing education at colleges and universities, and also provides funding for costs associated with licensing and certification.  Approved seminars and conferences are also underwritten by Succeed Scholarship awards.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation assists students with several awards for qualified candidates attending  vocational and trade schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities. One annual winner receives $10,000.00, through the Young Entrepreneur Awards program, while four regional winners each receive $5,000.00. Additional awards valued at $1,000.00 each are also available.

Applicants are evaluated based on entrepreneurial experience, GPA, and SAT scores.

McKelvey Foundation

The McKelvey Foundation provides valuable educational assistance – totalling more than $40,000 for each winner.  Scholarships valued up to $10,000 each are awarded annually, for up to four years of college, for entrepreneurial students who have started their own businesses.  Program participants also earn access to a widespread network of self-employed individuals, providing guidance and modelling assistance for young entrepreneurs.

Xavier University, Williams College of Business

Xavier University offers an academic major in entrepreneurialism.  The curriculum prepares graduates to recognize, and capitalize, on new opportunities within the marketplace.  One-$18,000.00 scholarship is awarded annually, issued by the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund. Juniors attending XU for their senior years are eligible to apply for the scholarship assistance. In addition to academic ability, each applicant’s entrepreneurial experience, leadership ability, and involvement in extracurricular community activities is taken into account, when reviewing candidates.

California State University (San Bernardino), Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship Fund

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship Fund grants annual awards averaging $2,500.00 each, to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in entrepreneurship. The Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino screens scholarship applicants using application form (available online) data,  and personal essays submitted by candidates, outlining why they are interested in entrepreneurial studies.

University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Business owners studying for Executive MBA (EMBA) credentials are invited to apply for the Smith Entrepreneurship EMBA Scholarship. This program is available for individuals running professional practices and businesses.  Approximately one-third of MBA enrollees, at the school, receive some level of financial assistance.  Merit-based awards issued by the Smith School of Business consider scholastic performance, as well as leadership ability and work history.  Priority consideration is given to applications received by June 3rd.

University of North Dakota, Center for Innovation

The University of North Dakota Center for Innovation awards the Michael Marcil Entrepreneur Scholarship for qualified student entrepreneurs studying at the school. Awards are valued at $500.00 per semester.

The Jack Wright Entrepreneur Award provides $1,000.00 per semester for qualified undergraduate students who are working to pay for their education. The content of each applicant’s submitted business plan is considered when choosing recipients.


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