“Resources flow disproportionately to people who provide indirect connections between otherwise disconnected groups.”
- Get Backed by Evan Baehr & Evan Loomis (serial entrepreneurs & Academy Faculty)
Great entrepreneurs are often the best storytellers who can connect the right people to big ideas. They find a way around (or through!) obstacles. They won't let a lack of resources get in their way. Instead of 'networking' they build strong friendships and get people to believe in them. When they ask for an investment, be it of time or money, the answer is often a resounding yes.
Our hope is that if money seems like an obstacle between you and attending the Academy, that you'll adopt the mindset of a great entrepreneur and find a way -- and that you'll let us know how we can help. We've heard some great stories of previous students who did just that, and found creative ways of getting their way to the Academy. Below are some suggestions.
WHAT YOUR PROGRAM FEE COVERS
Your program fee covers everything except for airfare. Once we pick you up at the airport on Monday through the time we take you back to the airport on Friday, everything is covered -- materials, meals, snacks, entertainment, and lodging. For those arriving locally, you're welcome to drive (parking on campus will be included for the week), be dropped off, or meet us at LAX to take our shuttles to/from the airport.
Pitch the benefit for you personally, but also of having you represent the school amidst a group of some of the best aspiring entrepreneurs in the country. We've seen this work for both faith-based schools (a no-brainer), and non-faith based schools.
We recommend starting with your most supportive professor to get them excited about it. Then, ask them for ideas and introductions to key people or departments who might have funding available. We've seen this come from the Dean of a major, Career Center, Student Activities Office, or a random fund that the student didn't even know existed until they asked.
If your school is willing to pay for part of your scholarship, they may require a receipt or direct payment. Just connect with us on that through email and we can provide. If you already paid a deposit, but later secure a scholarship from your school, we can refund you and directly bill the school.
MENTORS & PERSONAL NETWORK
Are there mentors in your life who might help? Spiritual and business mentors alike love to see students be accepted into programs like Praxis Academy. They often feel a personal ownership in your development, so they're proud of your achievement and are willing to help -- you just need to be willing to ask. Don't be shy. There's a kind, low-pressure way of making an ask that maintains the relationship, even if the answer is no.
CHURCH & CAMPUS MINISTRY
These people are easy to get excited about this opportunity, but students often don't ask because they perceive the church or ministries to be lacking resources. Well, they often do have funds set aside to help with programs like this!
If the answer is no, ask if they'd be willing to introduce you to church members who might get excited about this. Often people who work in business get especially excited about this and have resources to help.
MANAGER / EMPLOYER
We had a student who was so excited about Academy that when she went to ask her new employer if she could get the week off, she not only got a "yes" but the boss was so bought in that he also offered to pay her full program fee! You can share this with any type of employer or internship program and frame it up as something you're doing for your personal development. You don't have to "lead" with the spiritual part (depending on your context, you may leave it out all together and just share about your passion for entrepreneurship and solving big problems in the world).
Don't sell yourself short by trying to beg to get the week off. Frame this up as an awesome opportunity that will further your personal development and make you a more valuable asset to the company. Even if it's for an internship, this often works, because they are considering hiring you and love to see people who are committed to personal growth.
You're probably familiar with this by now and perhaps you're sick of it, but hey, it often works! Students have successfully used platforms like GoFundMe to raise support, asking for donations between $10-$200, and creating compelling content (one even made a world-class video that connected his personal calling to this opportunity!).
Our friend, and Academy 2016 Alum, Binny Seo built an excellent GoFundMe site and exceeded his goal. He connected Academy to his personal "why" and made an emotional appeal for people to invest in his development. He also executed the campaign with excellence. He wrote compelling, authentic blog posts and was consistent in his updates. He was also wise to ask for more than just financial resources. Take a look at his archived campaign here.
We understand sometimes your paycheck won't hit until a certain date, or you need more time to fundraise before paying the full program fee. While we do need a deposit from you to secure your seat since we accept a limited number into each summer's Academy class, we'd be happy to discuss flexible payment plans for the remainder of your program fees. Just email us.
Have another idea, or something that worked well for you? Share your story with us through email and we'll post it here so that your peers can benefit!