10 scholarships for young entrepreneurs and business owners

Editorial Team

11 min read
Young man in library working on laptop

For entrepreneurs who want to start a small business, part of the process involves  obtaining funding. Thankfully, entrepreneurs as young as grade school age have access to various sources of funding support, including young business owner grants and scholarships.

These free forms of gift aid, which generally don’t have to be paid back, can help young entrepreneurs do so without breaking the bank.

Join us as we explore scholarships for young business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs that can help with their business goals or education.

Tips for applying for scholarships

For those applying for scholarships, the following advice for aspiring entrepreneurs can help you improve your chances of being considered for scholarship awards:

  1. Read the directions. Meeting deadlines and following the directions for each scholarship are basic requirements that can make or break your eligibility. Scholarship award organizations want to make sure the person receiving the scholarship pays attention to detail, so read and follow the directions thoroughly before submitting an application.
  2. Proofread your work. This tip also relates to the details. Run your writing through a spelling and grammar checker. Also, consider having someone read over your materials before you submit them, in case they have suggestions on how to enhance your application.
  3. Be honest. Don’t embellish your experience or accomplishments. This could disqualify you early on, or lead to elimination if you can’t back up your claims. Honesty is always the best policy.
  4. Show your passion. In your application, think about what makes you unique as a young entrepreneur and how your business idea(s) could positively impact your community and target market Use personal stories and specific experiences to illustrate your passion throughout your materials.

And remember, re-read the application details before you send in a scholarship application. Make sure you’ve met all the requirements, and proofread your work so you’re confident with your submission.

Now, take a look at 10 of the top scholarships young entrepreneurs should consider.

Jungle Scholar Scholarship

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Winners receive a $2,500 scholarship that can be used at any time.
  • Why it stands out: This Jungle Scout scholarship is ecommerce-focused and is available to students who are pursuing education in an entrepreneurship or related field, such as business or computer science.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be enrolled in or must be preparing to study at an accredited university in the U.S. or Canada. Applicants must submit a 3-minute video of themselves describing a business idea or plan that brings innovation to ecommerce.
  • How to apply: Visit Junglescout.com/jungle-scholar to apply.
  • When to apply: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. One scholarship recipient is selected each spring and fall semester.

The Foundation for Financial Service Professionals (FSP) Paul S Mills Scholarship

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Award winners receive a scholarship of $1,000, which can be used in whatever time frame the applicant chooses.
  • Why it stands out: For students who want to learn financial services skills that can complement their entrepreneurial journey, this scholarship rewards those pursuing that path. Financial services topics can be very beneficial to business owners, so this scholarship can help finance those studies.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be full or part-time college students pursuing a degree in a financial service-related field, which may include accounting, finance, actuarial sciences, personal financial planning, insurance, or risk management. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Applicants must have completed the equivalent of one year of credits toward an undergraduate degree or must be pursuing a master’s or PhD degree. Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Student Aid Report (SAR) is also a requirement. Immediate family or members of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and its local chapters aren’t eligible to apply.
  • How to apply: To apply, visit Financialprofoundation.org/eligibility-criteria and click on the application link. You’ll need to submit your FAFSA SAR, as well as complete an application and write a 500-word essay. Applicants may need to complete a brief phone interview as well.
  • When to apply: You can apply for this scholarship between February 1 and March 31 each year.

The Global Good Fund Fellowship Program

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Fellows in the program receive $10,000 to spend on leadership development, as well as receive professional executive coaching and mentorship.
  • Why it stands out: The Global Good Fund Fellowship Program is a 12-month program for social entrepreneurs. Each Fellow receives one-on-one mentorship from both a dedicated C-suite executive and a dedicated professional executive coach.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must have been a leader of an enterprise that’s been in operation for a minimum of two years and must employ at least two full-time, paid employees. Applicants must have a primary decision-maker role, such as C-Suite, co-founder/founder, or executive director. The applicant must be committed full-time to running the business, which must be a mission-driven business that aims to make a positive impact on society.
  • How to apply: Applicants must complete a preliminary questionnaire, then complete a comprehensive application including a video submission, two recommendation letters, and a financial viability template. From there, applicants may be moved on to the video interview phase. Visit Globalgoodfund.org/fellowship-program/ to apply.
  • When to apply: Recruitment for each annual cohort begins in May and lasts approximately six weeks. Those who are interested can sign up for the mailing list to get updates on when to apply.

The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) Grants and Scholarships

  • Scholarship amount and duration: NASE Growth Grants are awarded up to $4,000. Recipients can use the grant money immediately. NASE Dependent Scholarships are awarded up to $3,000. Recipients can also use their college scholarships immediately.
  • Why it stands out: NASE grants and scholarships are designed to help NASE members. Benefits of NASE memberships include access to business legal and strategy advice, business leads, assistance with database management, and insights into business operations knowledge, including finance, accounting, healthcare, information technology, marketing, real estate, scaling a business, taxes, and social media.
  • Eligibility requirements: The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers both NASE Growth Grants and NASE Dependent Scholarships. To apply for an NASE Growth Grant, entrants must be a NASE member in good standing for at least three months before applying. Annual members may apply for a NASE Growth Grant immediately. To apply for a NASE Dependent Scholarship, applicants must be a legal dependent of a NASE member. Applicants of NASE Dependent Scholarships must also be between the ages of 16 and 24 and must be high school students or college undergraduates who plan to enroll in college in the upcoming fall semester.
  • How to apply: To apply, visit Nase.org/become-a-member/grants-and-scholarships.
  • When to apply: Applications are accepted year-round.

The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) World Series of Innovation Award

  • Scholarship amount and duration: The three highest-scoring entries in each category receive a cash award that can be used immediately. First place in each category receives $1,500. Second place in each category receives $600. Third place in each category receives $300.
  • Why it stands out: NFTE presents several “epic challenges to humanity,” ranging from environmental sustainability to poverty and hunger. Applicants can choose the challenge they want to submit their ideas to help “solve” and compete to win cash prizes. This challenge can spark imagination in aspiring entrepreneurs as young as the age of 11, whose ideas may end up impacting their communities in a positive way.
  • Eligibility requirements: Anyone between the ages of 11 and 24 can compete. Entrants can compete solo or as a team of up to four members.
  • How to apply: Visit Wsi.awardsplatform.com to apply.
  • When to apply: Entrants may apply each September through December every year.

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA)

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Prizes for the Global Finals include $50,000 for first place, $20,000 for second place, and $10,000 for third place. Winners also receive mentorship and feedback from successful entrepreneurs.
  • Why it stands out: The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) has several rounds of competition, from the local to national to global level. Each step along the way, entrants get to connect with other entrepreneurs and can potentially represent their country on the global stage.
  • Eligibility requirements: Entrants must be a part- or full-time undergraduate or graduate college or university student and must own, have founded, or be a controlling shareholder of a company operating for at least six months with at least a $1,000 investment, or that has generated at least $500 in revenue. The age cap is 30 years old, and entrants cannot have been a previous final round competitor.
  • How to apply: Visit Gsea.org to apply.
  • When to apply: Deadlines vary by location. In the United States, deadlines tend to fall between November and January of each year.

1 Hotels Fellowship at E2

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Fellowships run for a full year from January through December. Fellows receive a $20,000 award and support from E2 and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) staff, including mentorship, media and press opportunities, and leadership programs.
  • Why it stands out: This program is specifically for entrepreneurs who want to focus on enterprises that support smart climate policies to benefit both the environment and the economy. Fellows work in partnership with the NRDC’s Environmental Entrepreneurs program to address current environmental needs and execute projects that focus on policies for those issues.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be early or mid-career professionals.
  • How to apply: Visit e2.org/fellowship/ to apply.
  • When to apply: Check e2.org/fellowship/ for upcoming deadlines.

ICSC Roslyn & Elliot Jaffe Retail Entrepreneur Prize

  • Scholarship amount and duration: This award is for $10,000, which may be used immediately.
  • Why it stands out: The ICSC Roslyn & Elliot Jaffe Retail Entrepreneurship Prize is for students who are passionate about launching a new online or brick-and-mortar retail concept, product, idea, or pre-seed stage company.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Canada, or an international student. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students or part- or full-time graduate students enrolled at an accredited university at the time of application. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA out of a 4.0 scale. Applicants must submit a business plan presentation, including a video and executive summary.
  • How to apply: Visit Icscfoundation.awardspring.com to apply.
  • When to apply: Application deadlines tend to be in February of each year.

GreenPal Scholarship for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Winners receive $2,000 paid equally over four semesters.
  • Why it stands out: This scholarship helps both aspiring and current young business owners work towards their goals. Any business idea is welcome to be eligible.
  • Eligibility requirements: Graduating high school seniors, college freshmen, and upcoming college sophomores who have a 3.5 GPA or higher; who have declared a major or minor in business, economics, or finance; and who own and operate their own small business and/or have put together a business plan to start a business in college, may apply. The student must be entering their freshman or sophomore year at an accredited 2- or 4-year university, college, or vocational/technical institute.
  • How to apply: Visit Yourgreenpal.com/scholarship to apply.
  • When to apply: The application entry period tends to begin in March of every year and end in November.

Licensing International Scholarship Program

  • Scholarship amount and duration: Award winners receive grants between $5,000 and $10,000, which they may use immediately.
  • Why it stands out: This scholarship is specifically for entrepreneurially minded students who want to focus on brand licensing.
  • Eligibility requirements: Applicants must be current or soon-to-be college students who are studying or who plan to study business, entrepreneurial studies, marketing, design, engineering, ecommerce, and/or other programs with a goal of a career in licensing. Applicants must have a GPA of 3.2 or better. Applicants must submit an essay, a resume/CV, two letters of recommendation, and school transcripts.
  • How to apply: Visit Licensinginternational.org/about/scholarship-program to apply.
  • When to apply: The deadline for application is January of each year.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur starts with the right tools

In addition to these scholarships for young entrepreneurs, there’s also a variety of funding and support for minority-owned businesses and business resources for LGBTQIA entrepreneurs. If you need help with funding, taking time to research financial aid can go a long way in helping you fund your great business idea.

In addition to securing funding, the right business tools can help you succeed. Clover’s POS systems can help entrepreneurs with tasks ranging from accepting payments to accessing valuable business insights. Clover can help you manage your staff, offer loyalty programs, improve the customer checkout experience, and much more to help you grow.

Why wait? Get started with a Clover POS system today to elevate your business.

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