What is Project “We Mean Business”?
Coming May 2015, TCL students with a desire to start their own business are invited to present their business plans to apply for possible “seed” money to assist you with startup costs. At TCL, we strive to encourage entrepreneurship and guide our students along the path of small business ownership. This program is designed to allow TCL students to get innovative ideas, products and/or services to the market and making money. Many people often want to start businesses but they can often lack the business knowledge or working capital to get started. At TCL, we want to help you make your dream of owning your own business a reality!
What you will need:
- A well written business plan
- A formal presentation and visual aids
- A well thought out idea
- A clear understanding of the funds you plan to invest and how you will use it
- A detailed description of the business concept along with the management plan, product/service plan, and marketing plan
- Estimated 3-year financials to include a balance sheet and cash flow statements (proformas)
- A clear description of how much grant money is requested and how it will be used
- A demonstrated desire and passion for your idea!
When are the presentations? How do I submit my idea?
- A Word/Excel Version of the Business Plan must be submitted by April 1, 2015 to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Presentations will be held on May 1, 2015, at 9:00 am
- Location –Beaufort Campus at TCL (Room-TBD)
Do I have to pay the money back?
This program is not a loan, it is seed money that does not have to be paid back. However — recipients are highly encouraged, although not required, to give back to the TCL program in the future so additional students can continue to participate.
Do I need to be a TCL Business student?
Absolutely not. We encourage all current TCL students to become involved in this program. If you have not taken business courses, you will need to contact the coordinator of this program for specialized assistance in writing your business plan. Graduates of TCL, may apply up to 5 years after their graduation date to compete for funding. It is highly encouraged for students to join the TCL Entrepreneurship Club and attend a series of presentations and events throughout the Fall and Spring Semesters. Click here for details.
How much funding is available?
Individual awards can range up to $5,000. Depending on the number of participants this year, as well as how many viable plans are presented, the committee will determine whether to fund one or more students based on the amount requested and availability of funds. This number fluctuates.
How can the money be used?
We encourage the funding to be used for items that are critical to the success of your business and that could turn your idea into a success. Here are some ideas:
- Hardware/software purchases
- Website development
- Marketing collateral
- Prototype development
- *Personal salaries and personal expenses (car, rent..etc.) are excluded from this grant funding and will not be funded.
What type of reporting is required?
This program requires that all recipients report twice a year for the first on the progress of the business. It also requires proof of items purchased with the funding. For instance, if you were awarded $750.00 to purchase inventory for your business, you should keep the receipt. During your reporting, you would provide a copy of the invoice and a copy of the check or debit card purchase showing where that item was purchased. After the first year, you should report progress to the program administrator so that the school is aware of how your business is doing. No formal reporting is required after year one.
Where does the money come from?
We are very fortunate at TCL to have individual donors that contribute through the TCL foundation, specifically for this program. Some donors’ are current or former business executives, successful business men and woman that live in the area. Some donors are former recipients of the grant. These donors specifically want to support entrepreneurship in the area and we are very grateful for their continued support!
What if my proposal is not selected?
You will be given feedback on suggested areas of improvement in your business plan, and have the opportunity to reapply the following year if funds are available.
- You cannot be on academic probation to participate in this program.
- You must be a current or former TCL student (within 5 years).
- Funds may not be used for personal income or to pay personal expenses.
- Please click here for a full list of criteria.