New SGA and TIA grants expand student entrepreneurship opportunities – Colgate Maroon-News

Being a leader at Colgate is encouraged more than ever with the development of Extension Grants from Thought into Action (TIA) and the new SGA Gate Grants initiative.

Seniors Shane Knopp and Parna Shakuri, SGA president and vice president, respectively, are looking for students with ideas to improve the Colgate community as part of their new Gate Grants initiative.

“Gate Grants are a new initiative by the Student Government Association to fund student projects designed to enrich and meaningfully benefit the student body and the greater Colgate community,” Shakuri said.

If a student has a project idea, they can apply for a Gate grant. The application is currently open and will close Nov. 28, according to the Gate Grants governing document sent in an Oct. 17 email from SGA.

“The application process includes some brief answers about the purpose of your idea and how it impacts the student body, faculty/staff advisor information and a budget plan,” Shakuri said. “All current students are welcome and encouraged to apply regardless of class or student organization affiliation.”

Shakuri went on to explain some of the initiatives that SGA has undertaken this year with their budget aside from the Gate grants.

“Some of our initiatives so far have included the renovation of the Harlem Renaissance Center, the renovation of the Rainbow Room, the purchase of a van for COVE and most recently the purchase of two new pianos for the Music Department and now Gate Grants,” Shakuri said.

Leaders want to hear from their colleagues about how to enrich and improve Colgate.

“What’s unique about Gate Grants is that they are open and available to any member of the student body and have been intentionally structured as an initiative where we not only hear from our peers, but also empower them to directly impact the campus community and the future. Colgate,” Shakuri said.

A student-led project can have a budget of up to $3,500; however, this budget cannot be used to fund an event or commercial business in accordance with the Gate Grants Guidance Document. Students should apply using the Google form in the Gate Grants governing document.

Knopp wants to make sure students understand the difference between Gate Grants and Thought into Action (TIA).

“Thought Into Action (TIA) is an entrepreneurship and innovation incubator for developing businesses, nonprofits, products and services with leadership and funding from experienced entrepreneurs,” said Knopp. “However, Gate grants are completely student-driven and allow students to self-select their faculty/staff sponsor. There is no built-in mentoring element to Gate Grants, and while the Student Government Association will oversee the successful implementation of each project, students will be independent in the full realization of their idea.”

Colgate’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, Thought Into Action (TIA), is a year-long program to assist students with a business or non-profit idea. The program also recently announced new grant opportunities. Carolyn Strobel-Larsen, Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programs, explained how TIA is expanding for budding entrepreneurs.

“Earlier, students could receive 500-1000 dollars for their ideas and building a business. Now there is an expansion grant of up to $2,500,” Strobel-Larsen said.

Strobel-Larsen explained that there are currently two specific grants for business ventures: an exploration grant and an expansion grant.

“Startups can apply and usually receive an exploration grant of $500. This grant is for the initial development of an idea. They can direct funding to testing and finding test users—prototyping. New grant [which businesses] $2,000 can be applied for. This can be used to create a product or service,” explained Strobel-Larsen.

Along with the new expansion grant, TIA is working to make the grant application process easier.

“Previously, getting grants was a more complicated process and there was less money. With the announcement of the new grants, the process should be much faster and the money should be more readily available so that there are no obstacles for the teams that need this money,” said Strobel-Larsen.

Strobel-Larsen hopes the new grants and application process will encourage students to apply to the incubator (TIA).

“We don’t want funding to be a barrier for students to start a business. Our goal is to make it fairer for entrepreneurs, regardless of personal wealth,” said Strobel-Larsen.

Students have many opportunities to turn their ideas into reality with Gate Grants and new TIA Extension Grants. Additionally, students can participate in both TIA and Gate grants.

“Since there is no connection between TIA and Gate Grants, students can use both. However, we want to note that Gate grants cannot be used to provide additional resources to already funded projects, including TIA initiatives,” Knopp said.

With new business ideas, junior Shafi Islam is thinking about applying for these grants.

“I am very excited to take advantage of these opportunities. I am very grateful that Colgate provides opportunities to study as a student. I have many different ideas for my personal business and Colgate stuff. So maybe I will apply for one or both grants,” Islam said.

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