Weeks of putting a good idea into an organized business plan have paid off for Mountain Pointe senior Sara Abrams, who was just awarded the Ahwatukee Chamber Community Foundation’s Entrepreneurial Scholarship for 2014.
Abrams will be awarded a $1,500 scholarship, which she plans to use to pursue a degree in marketing, management or economics. Abrams said she has applied to several colleges including Brown, Stanford and Arizona State University’s Barrett Honors College. Some day she wants to start a nonprofit to bring business expertise to entrepreneurs in struggling economic areas.
This is the second year the chamber’s foundation has awarded a scholarship to a local high school student. Last year three students received the award, which the foundation plans to give out annually.
The scholarship is achievement-based and this year required applicants to take a specific community-based project and create a business plan for it. Abrams came up with an entrepreneur academy for new business owners.
In her plan Abrams identified specific needs of new business owners and found community leaders willing to volunteer their time to lead seminars on those topics. With her plan, new business owners could go through a 20-week academy that would give them the tools they need to improve their business.
“I definitely have a greater understanding of how much time and research it takes to go into this,” Abrams said. “The scholarship was exciting to work on because it made me go out and talk to people. I had this idea of what it should be but after talking to people I realized I needed to focus on what our consumer wanted if they are going to be taking classes. I found out they need more financial help and understanding legal procedures. I basically took everything I had so far and reworked it so it focused on that.”
Abrams said though the business plan took hours and lots of help from her parents and chamber-assigned mentor, it was worth it.
“I love the opportunity that the chamber of commerce has put out there for students to take advantage of,” she said. “They get to use the skills they might have learned in any of their classes and apply it like an adult. I was taken very seriously. All my ideas were seriously considered. I hope the academy comes through. I felt like this was me having an impact on something.”
Abrams has been active in DECA for years as well as the National Honor Society. She’s also the head tutor coordinator for Mountain Pointe’s tutoring program. In her spare time, Abrams practices karate. She’s currently a brown belt and is training to compete in an international competition in Japan.
The Ahwatukee Chamber Community Foundation was established in 2011 to further the mission of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. The scholarship is one way the foundation hopes to strengthen the future of Ahwatukee’s business community.
For more information on the chamber, visit ahwatukeechamber.com. To contribute to the scholarship fund, call (480) 753-7676.
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