Break the Glass Ceiling

Entrepreneurship scholarships for women break the glass ceiling by helping to pay for the expense of going, or returning, to college to pursue this rapidly growing field for women. Whether you want to follow in the footsteps of the many women before you or you want to blaze your own trail, entrepreneurship can help you realize these dreams. Many aspects of entrepreneurship will make you successful in any business, regardless of whether or not it is your own.

The Rise of Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is rapidly growing, especially among women. For the first time in 13 years, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) study of 59 economies shows that women are creating businesses at a greater rate than men in three economies and in four others, the rates are nearly equal. For example, Lynn Tilton, through her private equity firm Patriarch Partners, owns more companies than any other woman in the United States, with a combined value of more than $8 billion. Caterina Fake is another amazing example of modern women entrepreneurs. In 2004 she co-founded Ludicorp, a company that produced Flickr. Yahoo acquired the popular photo-sharing site Flickr in 2005 for an estimated $35 million. Fake launched another startup in 2008 called Hunch, which E-Bay acquired for approximately $80 million in 2011.

The Appeal of Entrepreneurship for Women

The recent economic recession has pushed more women to consider entrepreneurship as a feasible career path since many jobs now seem less secure than they once did. Additionally, women these days are less likely to dream about securing a corporate role where they will spend their entire career climbing the ladder only to encounter the glass ceiling. The same is also true for women that become mothers at some point during their careers. Fewer women see themselves in the same job for 10 or 20 years and many yearn for the flexibility that entrepreneurship can offer. The popularity and rise of social media is also helping to encourage entrepreneurship. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were all started by people who were entrepreneurial and fairly young.

Entrepreneurship Scholarships for Women

There are many resources available to women who are interested in entrepreneurship, including scholarship programs.

  • Every year, The American Business Women’s Association offers scholarships through the Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund. These include two $10,000 scholarships and two $3,000 scholarships. Maggie Zehren, University of Kansas, School of Business Scholarship; $10,000, has this advice for future students, “Become your own advocate. Really go out there and get what you want. Become involved. Meet with your professors and get known in your career field.”
  • Crown and Caliber is an advocate of the entrepreneurial spirit and offers an $1,000 scholarship based on entrepreneurial abilities. Submission of a business proposal plan for an online business start-up is required as a part of the application process.
  • Since 2003, The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation has awarded over 2,300 scholarships to graduating high school seniors totaling more than $2.5 million. The scholarships aim to encourage and reward the entrepreneurial spirit.
  • The Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program is open to any citizen and/or resident of the United States (and its territories and possessions) who will be enrolled at an institution of higher learning full-time. Each applicant is required to submit an essay about how small business ownership has shaped them into the people they have become. 2013 scholarship winner Christian Oliveira says, “Looking back, I realize that small business ownership had a greater impact on my development as an individual than any other factor in my life.”

Another often overlooked resource are specific school-based scholarships for entrepreneurship, both large name schools and community colleges offer these types of scholarships.

Follow Your Dream

Whether you seek to open your own business or you want an edge in the business world, entrepreneurship may be a good fit. As a first time student or a returning one, there are many funding options available to you. The scholarships listed above are simply just a sample of what is out there if you are willing to spend the time and do some research.