The Santander Consumer USA Inc. Foundation has awarded a $70,000 grant to the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, supporting low-income and underrepresented student entrepreneurs enrolled in the Mesa Community College Green Flag program during the 2021-22 academic year.
“The pandemic-driven maker boom is growing stronger and more and more students are opting to start their own business instead of pursuing a traditional 9-to-5 job. As entrepreneurship grows, so does the need for guidance for budding independent business owners,” Sandra Broderick, head of operations for Santander US, said in a release. “Santander Consumer USA’s continued investment doesn’t make a business idea better or change the economic climate - it gives Mesa Community College students an extra boost to launch their careers.”
The SC Foundation’s continued support for students participating in the MCC Green Flag program helps remove financial barriers to business startup costs and provides educational stipends for an additional 10 low-income and underrepresented MCC student entrepreneurs, the release states.
“The majority of brilliant business ideas introduced by students rarely materialize due to inexperience, limited capital and lack of resources. However, Green Flag students are thriving. The initial $50,000 grant from the SC Foundation in 2020 supported the launch of 12 new student-run, Mesa-based businesses,” Dan Piercy, director of the MCC Green Flag program and business faculty member, said in the release. “Green Flag program participants, with the generous support from the SC Foundation, are able to access business services such as filing copyrights, creating logos and legal registrations, as well as purchasing vital equipment and supplies and developing marketing tools such as websites and social media.”
Laura Sipp, artist/owner of MAZZ Metal & Artworks, is one of the first MCC Green Flag students to receive a stipend from the SC Foundation. She creates a variety of custom metal works for clients including sculptures, doors, gates, tables and art frames for mounting paintings. The grant provided equipment and supplies, such as a welding machine, welding wire, a grinder, metal for creative experimentation, paints, canvases and a desk for her office.
“If I had not gotten this funding, I would not have been able to afford the startup costs. I cannot express enough how very thankful I am. Being able to start a business and hopefully have it grow into something bigger secures a future for my daughter and me. I hope one day this will be something that she would like to continue. I am so grateful for the support to make my dream a reality,” Sipp said in the release.
MCC student businesses are as diverse as their founders and include the provision of a wide range of goods and services benefiting local consumers and the overall economy, the release states.
Learn more about the MCC Green Flag program at mesacc.edu.
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