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African-American Entrepreneurs Grant — Male Award

1 winner$1,000
Application Deadline
Feb 11, 2021
Winners Announced
Mar 11, 2021
Education Level
Undergraduate, Graduate
Recent scholarship winners
Eligibility Requirements
African American

Talent is evenly distributed, but opportunity is not.

Although African-Americans comprise 13.4% of the US population, just 1% of start-ups receiving venture funding have Black founders.

From small businesses to venture-scale companies, entrepreneurship is an enduring and impactful way that communities move forward, but the funded entrepreneurs in the US do not reflect the diversity of our country.

Solving this problem will take deep dedication throughout the start-up and venture capital world.

As one small part of this, the African-American Entrepreneurs Grant - Male Award will be awarded to a male African-American entrepreneur at any education level who is currently building or who aspires to build a new business.

Current or aspiring African-American entrepreneurs across any field or business stage will be considered.

Winners will be selected on the merit of their business idea, and on the impact that additional financial support will have for them.

This scholarship is part of the Mechanism Ventures Impact Grants Series.

Selection Criteria:
Impact, Drive, Business Plan
Published June 11, 2020
Essay Topic

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business (or business idea). What inspired you to start it? What do you hope it will achieve?

500–1000 words

Winning Application

iyaji adoga
Century CollegeWoodbury, MN
Remember the days when you were a kid when you wanted to become a big YouTuber or social media sensation, but people always told you it's unrealistic? Me too. Ever since I was ten years old, I loved watching people live their dream life, and I was so sold on making it to the "luxurious lifestyle." But of course, like everyone else, big dreams crumbled into pieces. People said things like "School is the only way to become successful" or "you can't live a life like that, it's not possible…" or the worst one was "you have to be realistic." Surprisingly all these negative phrases uplifted me to keep envisioning the life I want to live, and I knew I could make it. When I was 15, I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This discovery affected how I approached every aspect of my life, from school, work, sports, family, and relationships. When I turned 16, I was introduced to my first love, the gym. The gym became my sacred place; however, I didn't realize my passion for health and wellness until my senior year of high school. Like many other teens, my biggest insecurity was my body, and even though I was working out a lot, I still felt helpless. I wanted someone to show me all the correct ways to transform my body and mindset, but no one was available. One day, I decided to DM one of my favorite fitness influencers on Instagram, and I wrote a whole paragraph on why he should help me reach my goals. But of course, he didn't respond. So I shook it off and messaged 10-20 other influencers. Again, no response. I became extremely frustrated that I was alone, and no one wanted to teach me how to reach my goals. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, after years of running on low energy, feeling purposeless and lost, my friend asked me an eye-opening question: "Hey iyaji, have you ever thought of becoming a fitness influencer yourself?" of course, I made a million excuses of why I shouldn't do it, but then I asked myself one night while I laid in bed in tears.. What do I have to lose? I responded with silence. So later that week, I created a plan that would propel me to take massive action on becoming the next most prominent social media influencer. For the next three months, I created a fitness page where I posted daily workouts and valuable motivation for men and women. I started falling in love with creating content for others. After three months of consistently posting valuable fitness content, I went from 1,500 followers to 20,000. But then I asked myself why to stop here? I decided to start an online coaching business. I also created a website where I have cheap affordable training programs for various goals. Although I'm not making a lot of money, I convinced myself that it's not about the money. It's about the value I bring to people daily through my content. Motivate, inspire, and create a movement that will shift people's lives. That's my goal so far, and I'm proud to say that it's working. Waking up to messages about how I changed someone's life or helping them become the better version of themselves is the biggest blessing I could imagine. I never thought I could achieve what I've done at 18 years old, but this is just the beginning. Hard work and consistency placed me in the position I'm in today, and It wouldn't be possible without my close friends, family, and god. There's more to it than just the business aspect of what I'm doing; it's the mindset. Once I started placing my focus around others and not myself, my life changed for the better. So what's next for me? To help people achieve their dream body and inspire the youth to go after their dreams! Some so many people are going through the same problems I went through, and I'm confident enough to say that I'm that voice for the lost. Seeing that I'm making an impact is my biggest motivation, so I will continue to bring value to the world and soon open up my very own health club, clothing line, and much more! It's not about me anymore, and that's why I love what I do.


When is the scholarship application deadline?

The application deadline is Feb 11, 2021. Winners will be announced on Mar 11, 2021.

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