Have you written a business plan for a competition, class, or to further your own entrepreneurial ventures? If so, we invite you to apply for the Business Plan Scholarship From Fit Small Business. We are interested in finding out what you learned from writing a business plan. Instead of providing us with a business plan, to apply for the scholarship submit a 500 to 1,000 word essay on “What I learned from writing a business plan”.
Potential essay topics include:
What I learned about researching ______ for the business plan.
What I learned about the _____ industry during researching the business plan.
What I learned about the key assumptions that my plan depended upon.
Why I no longer thought the business was viable after writing the plan.
How and why the business plan changed during the process of getting feedback!
Essays will be judged by David Waring and Marc Prosser, the co-founders of Fit Small Business, based on the originality, writing style, and quality of ideas. The best overall submission will be awarded a $1,000 cash scholarship. For terms and conditions of the scholarship see below.
Who is eligible:
Any student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at any accredited American College, University or Trade School with a documented disability may apply for the scholarship. The scholarship is open to students with any type of disability, including but not limited to physical disabilities, medical conditions, mental and psychiatric conditions, speech and language, learning disabilities, behavioral conditions, and all other disabling conditions.
What You Are Eligible For:
$1,000 scholarship will be awarded for the best original essay on the below topic.
General Essay Topic:
“What I learned from writing a business plan.”
The Business Plan is awarded twice annually, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. It will be awarded in 2017 and for the foreseeable future.
Spring Semester: Accepting submissions from January 1st through April 1st. Winner will be announced by April 15.
Fall Semester: Accepting submissions from August 1st through November 1st. Winner will be announced by November 15.
How do I apply?
Submit your original 500 to 1,000 word essay to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following subject line “Business Plan Scholarship Application”. In the email, please also include the name of your school, your anticipated major, expected date of graduation, and the nature of your disability.
Previous Scholarship Winners
Spring 2017 – Daybelis Gonzalez of Loyola University (Chicago)
Fall 2016 – Karys Rowe of Belmont University
Spring 2016 – Tina Nguyen of Johns Hopkins University
Fall 2015 – Evan Morgan of Dartmouth College
Spring 2015 – Jake Berry of Western Washington University
Fall 2014 – Taylor Standford of University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Spring 2017 Winner
Daybelis Gonzalez is a senior at Loyola University (Chicago).
Anticipated Major: Business Management
Bio: Daybelis was originally born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the west side of Chicago. She graduated from Northside College Preparatory High School with Honors. When she got to college, she wanted to go into Psychology but switched to Business.
One of her many dreams is to start a business for people with disabilities. She’s always been around her parent who are entrepreneurs and have created new businesses all the time. She has a lot of experience know what people with disabilities go through, so she thought, why not combine both ideas.
If her business succeeds, she wants to provide more jobs for people with disabilities. She also wants to start a research company to help people with all kinds of disabilities, not just physical, but anything from being visually impaired to psychological disabilities.
Excerpt from Essay:
The most challenging part about creating a business plan was researching the terminology and the different aspects of forming a business. I never heard of terms such as SWOT analysis, pricing strategy, or that I needed to include as many figures or elaborate on long-term and short-term goals. Because I was unfamiliar with these concepts, I had to use online resources to become knowledgeable on the subject. The SWOT analysis provided perspective on the opportunities for growth as well as the threats that competitors can pose. Using these concepts resulted in adjustments to the original plan. When it was finished, I was able to fill in any gaps or loopholes that could be detrimental to the business.
Fall 2016 Winner
Karys Rowe is a senior at Belmont University graduating in May 2017.
Anticipated Major: Marketing and Music Business
Bio: Karys Rowe was originally born in Lexington, Kentucky but moved to Jacksonville, Florida where she lived most of her life. She graduated high school in 2013 and went on to spend a year in community college. After completing a year, she transferred with her credits to Belmont, University in Nashville, TN.
Karys says that her first year at Belmont was when she hit the peak of understanding just how much her disability would have an effect on her: “Being in a new place on my own, with a new schedule and harder classes made it extremely difficult.” Most of her issue was being embarrassed by not processing information as quickly as others in her class. She realized that, “although it takes me longer to process the information, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid. I’m more than capable, it just means I need more time.” She became much more organized and has used this to overcome any challenges she is faced with.
After graduation, Karys says her dream job would be to work for a marketing department within a major music label or working for a marketing firm that specializes in branding/marketing in the music industry. She’s interested in working in the business side of music, whether that’s branding or getting sponsorship deals like Taylor Swift on CoverGirl.
Excerpt from Essay:
This past semester I created a marketing and business plan based upon the idea of introducing a new product to a developing country. Going into this project, I knew that I wanted to create a plan for a product that would not only sell but also assist in the development of the country’s population. I chose the country of Indonesia. This country represents the economic center of Southeast Asia while its capital, Jakarta, acts as the industrial center of Indonesia. Despite these accolades, more than 1/10 of the Indonesian population is still under the poverty line and almost 20% of children under the age of 5 are underweight due to malnutrition. After seeing such tragic statistics, I knew that I wanted to create a company and product that would could potentially alleviate this issue.
Handing in the finalized business plan, I felt more accomplished than I had ever in my undergraduate career. I had worked for several weeks and gave my professor something that I was proud of. It taught me how to apply classroom concepts to a real-life situation and to be innovative in order to help solve a problem. This project forced me to really focus on getting organized and pay attention to detail, analyzing every piece of demographic information and statistic. Finally, this project gave me the confidence I was lacking to pursue my research and take on large projects despite the challenges I face because of my learning disability.
Spring 2016 Winner
Tina Nguyen is an undergraduate student at John Hopkins University.
Anticipated Major: Physics & Pre-Med
Bio: Tina Nguyen came to Johns Hopkins University from San Jose. She previously attended Andrew P. Hill High School, where she founded a START Robotics team, as described in her winning essay for the Business Plan Scholarship. She currently studies physics and pre-med, and she hopes to go into medicine or theoretical physics when she finished college. Tina is involved with several student groups at Johns Hopkins, including Engineering World Health, the Johns Hopkins BBoys, and the John Hopkins Robotics club.
Excerpt from the Essay:
Through writing this business plan, I became better at setting goals, because I knew how to lay out the specifics of how to get to the end. I learned how to think for the future and was able to set down goals that would be impossible at the moment but plausible later on.
It gave me a sense of confidence and a burning desire to work as hard as I could to make sure things went accordingly. During my first year as captain, the team went on to win an award for overcoming obstacles and an even gender ratio at the Silicon Valley Regions, and during my second and last year as captain, we had qualified for the World Championships and was able to raise money for the cost of going within a week after our regional competition.
The full essay can be read here: Business Plan Scholarship Winners & Essays
Fall 2015 Winner
Evan Morgan is an undergraduate student at Dartmouth College.
Anticipated Major: Quantitative Social Science
Bio: Evan Morgan grew up in Southern California and currently attends Dartmouth College. He intends to major in Quantitative Social Science, a program that focuses on how to apply mathematics and statistics to analyze social questions. Outside of class, he plays cello in the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra. Evan says that writing and implementing a business plan in high school gave him a sense of realism: “In order to write it, I had to be grounded in the realities of what I was doing, and had to figure out where our funding would come from. I couldn’t just say it would come from ‘somewhere’, ‘sometime in the future’.” After college, he sees working in technology as a strong possibility, though he wouldn’t mind working as the General Manager of an NFL team.
Excerpt from Essay:
The financial summary section of the business plan steered my initial financial idealism toward reality. When Roughrider Racing was just an idea, I had envisioned plentiful school funding and a well-stocked workshop equipped with all the tools and materials we would need to engineer a high-performance car. . . School administration quickly nixed any possibility of official funding, forcing me to consider options I had deemed less important. Financial support, I realized, would have to come from personal donations and corporate sponsorships, not from the school. The team would need to work hard to minimize expenses and strive to secure community support.
This section transitioned naturally to the marketing part of the business plan, something I had not even considered when I began the writing process. In this section, I outlined an incentive plan for our sponsors, whose donations would earn them prominent spots on our RC car (just like a real stock car) as well as on our web page. And I proposed marketing ideas which we would implement throughout the year in order to spread the word about Roughrider Racing: posters, fliers, business cards, etcetera. As I considered the marketing possibilities for our team, it became obvious that we would have to stress the charitable nature of donors’ contributions. Their generous donations to our team would help promote lifelong STEM learning, leadership, and individual initiative among our team members.