“An entrepreneur is someone that thinks bigger. They look at the world and don't just simply ask the question "why?" but "why not” ”
We got a chance to “speak” (virtually and mainly in written format!) to Ty New from Project Apoyo, a friend to many at EFTC it was nice to pause and remember all the work he and everyone associated with Project Apoyo puts in behind the scenes to make things like this first Entrepreneur Small-Business Grant happen in what appears to be an effortless manner.
With an MBA and 7+ years of experience working with startups and small businesses we can't imagine anyone better experienced to be collaborating with on a project such as this, than Ty. It has always been Project Apoyos mission to create opportunities and at EFTC every year we have more and more experienced graduates going out into the world looking for an opportunity. You couldn't dream up a better match.
Project Apoyo likes to play, as they say, “a small part in big change” and how they have previously done this with us at EFTC is by connecting sponsors and supporters to students, ranging from kindergarten through college. However, as Ty said “While we love connecting people through sponsorship's, we began to see that a missing link in truly changing lives was the employment piece. There are so many talented students but simply not enough job opportunities after they complete the incredible milestone of graduation. So, out of this need grew talks of shifting our micro-business mission to an entrepreneurial program and small business grant competition.”
This is how our Further Education Departments dream of expanding into entrepreneurship came true. This department supports logistically, educationally and emotionally all of our students in higher education, this is near 200 students! The head of this department, Patty, has been with EFTC since the start. Patty began with many of our older students as their Kindergarten teacher over 15 years ago, she has been with them as they have grown into the amazing young adults we have in this program today. For the employees in this department it's not just numbers on a page, it's not statistics, it's the measurable success and happiness of people they care for. Which is why this collaboration getting off the ground means so much to us.
At the moment we have one of these grants already awarded and in its first quarter of implementation, you can take a look at our blog “Supporting Entrepreneurs: Kimberly's story” below to learn about the student who successfully applied for the first of these grants! (We couldn't have imagined a more perfect fit.) With her abilities and her will to succeed there is, as Ty said, “ zero doubt in my mind that she will be a success story. In a few years, we're going to look back and say, "Kimberly was such an easy choice. Look at this massive business she has now, and look at the lives she has changed through employment." ”
We hope that these grants will grow with our students. Ty put it perfect when he stated that we “envision these grants being a lofty aspiration that students chase each year so that whether they receive one or not, each student is better prepared for the business world after graduation.”
Through planning and some hard work both from an administrative point of view and from our students, these small investments will grow it into a life-changing business for our students and their families.