Santander Consumer USA Foundation invests in supporting minority and underrepresented student entrepreneurs

Studies show nine out of 10 business startups fail in their first three years due to lack of capital, mentoring and structural resources. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to present challenges for our business communities, it can be difficult for small businesses to stay afloat.

That’s why Santander Consumer USA is working to support startups and new business ventures by providing college students with the opportunity to learn what it takes to develop and build a new business.

The Santander Consumer USA Inc. Foundation (SC Foundation) awarded a $50,000 grant to the Maricopa Community College Foundation in Arizona. The grant supported low-income and underrepresented student entrepreneurs enrolled in the Mesa Community College Green Flag Program during the 2020-2021 academic year.

female college student at library

According to the Maricopa Community College website, Green Flag is a three-phase development program:

1. Pre-Launch – assistance writing a business plan, learning to research, determining a target market and enrolling in appropriate classes
2. Launch – filing paperwork to get the business officially started and establishing residency at Green Flag
3. Build Your Business – building the business to profitability and independence

“We want to help prepare tomorrow’s innovators to be career-ready in whatever paths that they choose and we want to do that in our home community of Mesa,” said Santander Consumer USA Head of Operations and Green Flag volunteer, Sandra Broderick.

Broderick also took an active role in the program as a judge of the mini-pitch contest and as a presenter for the “Evening of Experts” panel event.

The SC Foundation’s support helps eliminate financial barriers to business startups by providing educational stipends for up to 15 low-income and underrepresented Maricopa Community College student entrepreneurs.

The grant also increased equity and access to the tools, training and seed money required to launch new small businesses and grow career opportunities in the region.

“Being able to start a business and hopefully have it grow into something bigger secures a future for my daughter and I, and I hope one day this will be something that she would like to take over as well,” said grant recipient and owner of MAZZ Metal & Artworks Laura Sipp. “Thank you very much for making my dream a reality.”

Marcus Grant, founder and owner of Desert Nights Media, acknowledged how the grant helped him overcome the difficulties of COVID-19. “The Santander grant has allowed me to move forward with my business and my education despite the trials of the pandemic. Thank you for allowing me to grow my business within the Green Flag Program. The growth may have been impossible otherwise.”

And finally, Ghada Elamin of VIP Services, Buy for You, was having difficulties finding the money to simply get underway. “The Santander grant has helped a lot in starting my venture as startup capital was the biggest problem to launching my business. Now I have a place, containers to store my inventory and a sorting system to prepare orders for shipping. Grant funds have also allowed me to start building my website and begin marketing. Thank you very much for all the assistance you have provided.”

For more information about the program, please visit https://www.mesacc.edu/departments/business/green-flag-mesa-business-center

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