Business Scholarships and Grants

There are almost as many business scholarships out there as there are athletic scholarships. Not surprisingly, it's the same crowd that can afford to bankroll these projects - big business. So if business is your forté, you are in luck.

Be Organized

Because there are so many opportunities for business scholarships and you will probably be sending out a fair number of applications it pays to be organized. Before doing the scholarship rounds prepare yourself. Write a great cover letter and if an essay is required, write a generic one which can be tailored specifically to the funder later, make it personal and compelling. Get together all the references you can from teachers, employers and anyone else who will attest to your exceptional skills. Put it all together in a folder along with personal and income details and have it handy when opportunities arise.

The Government Finance Officers Association

www.gfoa.org

The purpose of the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) is to enhance and promote the professional management of governments for the public benefit by identifying and developing financial policies and practices and promoting them through education, training and leadership (GFOA website). As part of that undertaking, GFOA offer some very attractive scholarships to business students every year.

GFOA offer the following lucrative awards annually:

Daniel B. Goldberg

The Daniel B. Goldberg Scholarship of $10,000 is available for award to a graduate student who is enrolled in a full-time, master’s study program, preparing for a career in state and local government finance. The winner of the scholarship is invited to attend the Government Finance Officers Association’s annual conference, where the award is presented. This scholarship is funded by the Girard Miller Foundation.

To be eligible for this award, students must be a currently full-time in a graduate program that prepares students for careers in state and local government finance. You must anticipate being enrolled in the spring semester of the year for which the scholarship is awarded (including graduates of that spring semester).

Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting

The Government Finance Officers Association's (GFOA) Frank L. Greathouse Government Accounting Scholarship of $5,000 is available for award to one or more undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in full-time study preparing for a career in state and local government finance. The winner of the scholarship is invited to attend the Government Finance Officers Association's annual conference, where the award is presented.

To be eligible for this award you must be a full time student in an accounting program who is preparing for a career in state and local government finance. Both advanced undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.

Minorities in Government Finance

Funded by Microsoft and administered by GFOA, the Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship of $5,000 is available for award to an upper-division undergraduate or graduate student of public administration. Governmental accounting, finance, political science, economics, or business administration (with a specific focus on government or non-profit management) students are all eligible.

The purpose of the Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship is to recognize outstanding performance by minority students preparing for careers in state and local government finance. The winner of the scholarship is invited to attend the Government Finance Officers Association's annual conference, where the award is presented.

In addition, to receive this award the student must belong to one of the following groups (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau): Black or African American, American Indian or Alaskan native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Hispanic or Latino.

Other Providers

As stated, there is a plethora of opportunity when it comes to business scholarships and the GFOA are just one of a great many providers. A few others are:

  • American Marketing Association (www.marketingpower.com)
  • American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (www.awscpa.org)
  • Association of School Business Officials (asbointl.org)
  • Business and Professional Women’s Foundation (www.bpwfoundation.org)
  • Government Finance Officers Association (www.gfoa.org)
  • National Association for the Self Employed (www.nase.org)
  • National Black MBA Association (www.nbmbaa.org)
  • National Business Association (www.nationalbusiness.org)
  • National Society of Accountants (www.nsacct.org)
  • Rainbow Business and Professional Association (www.rbpa.org)

Some of these offer scholarships specifically to ethnic or gender groups and many of them offer awards based on academia or displayed business aptitude. More information about specific criteria requirements can be found for each on their respective web pages.

Scholarship Competitions

For something a little crazier and a lot more lucrative, there are a number of credible big business competitions where the prize money is so good it can pay for your entire education in one shot. So if you have an outstanding business aptitude why not try for the Harvard School of Business competition, or one like it – there are a few options out there.

Harvard’s Business Plan Contest

http://www.hbs.edu/socialenterprise/businessplan/

(Prize money and expense reimbursement checks can only be written to Harvard Business School students, Reynolds Foundation Fellows, or fulltime Harvard graduate students currently enrolled in eligible courses.)

The HBS Business Plan Contest is jointly sponsored by HBS's Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the HBS Entrepreneurship Club and the Social Enterprise Club. The contest consists of the "traditional" for-profit track and the "social enterprise" track, for those plans with an explicitly social agenda. Teams are required to contain at least one current HBS student in the MBA program. All teams that meet the entry criteria are eligible for reimbursement of up to $1,000 for basic costs associated with preparing their plans.

The winner of the traditional track contest wins the Dubilier Prize, including $25,000 in cash, $25,000 in kind (legal and accounting) services, and free office space in Cambridge for 100 days. The winner of the social enterprise track also receives the Peter M. Sacerdote Prize, including $25,000 in cash and $25,000 in in-kind services. Three runners-up from the traditional track each receive the Satchu-Burgstone Entrepreneurship Award, including $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in kind services. One runner up from the social enterprise track receives $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in kind services (Harvard website).

In certain cases, a "specialty plan" prize may be awarded to a plan in the traditional track that may simply require less capital — and be targeting a smaller market, if such a plan is not already among the winners. These winners also receive $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in kind services. The contest is now in its 12th year and has had a number of prominent companies among its winners.

Not bad money if you can get it!

International Scholarships

An increasing number of businesses are recognizing the growing importance of international business relations and marketing. Many of these companies are keen to sponsor American students in locations around the globe. Overseas colleges are also offering a growing number of scholarships for international students to study within their organizations. For the business major wanting a bit of adventure and travel thrown in, these opportunities will be very appealing. The best way to research these is to choose a location, a credible education facility and then go online or contact the school directly to find out their criteria for international scholarships.

If the scholarship doesn’t come through you may need to look at a loan so now is a good time to compile all the information you may need for both scenarios and keep all your documentation in a purpose created folder. When an opportunity presents itself you will be ready to go.