Nov. 3, 2014
On Jan. 16, 2012, former collegiate athlete and junior leadership communication major Antonio Adams received notice that his athletic scholarship was being revoked. In March of 2014, Adams was notified that his second athletic scholarship was being stripped from him as well.
Due first to a concussion and then a fractured mouth, Adams was no longer eligible for his athletic scholarships.
This devastation sparked the idea for a business that he hopes will make an impact on student’s lives locally and nationally. He wrote down the idea for Village Scholarships on a napkin two years and two days after losing his first athletic scholarship.
“Rather than feeling victimized, I felt disempowered and I didn’t like that,” Adams said. “[Students in similar situations] can take charge, just like we did.”
Adams and his twin sister Talya became co-founders and he became CEO of Village Scholarships, a company that Adams sees as a way to democratize, commercialize and popularize scholarships for students of all backgrounds.
With the help of five UCCS faculty, Adams was nominated with his business proposal to compete as one of five entrepreneurs on Oct. 24 for Lion’s Den Pitch Night.
“I had my family support and the Vice President of the El Pomar Foundation liked my idea so I was directed to the director of the Center for Nonprofit’s office which connected me to banks, who then brought me to Pikes Peak Community Foundation, our fiscal sponsor,” Adams said.
Five people or groups of people each had five minutes to present their proposal and five minutes to answer questions from a panel of five guest judges in order to win first place of $1000 or second place of $500.
Adams was third to present his business idea to the judges and the audience.
Although a business idea for online school for foster parenting received fi rst place, Adams’ Village Scholarship proposal won second place and he was presented with a life-sized check for $500.
Adams hopes to use this money to start Village Scholarship’s first connection to UCCS in March of 2015 and if all goes well to launch the website nationally in 2016.
Pikes Peak Community Foundation is Village Scholarship’s fiscal sponsor and any funds that Village Scholarships has or receives goes straight to them.
“I’m still learning to budget, an organization with that much experience can help me make decisions,” Adams said.
Although Adams won second place and is continuing to build his company, Village Scholarships has faced a few obstacles, including four or five changes to the idea.
“Village Scholarships is not designed to replace traditional scholarship opportunities,” Adams said. “[It] will tap into other revenue streams and increase speed and effi ciency.”
“We see that higher education is changing, more universities are going online,” he added.
Adams said he wants to bring a fun element to applying for scholarships.
“Scholarships are boring. We are making scholarships fun,” Adams said. “One way to get a scholarship can be by getting the most likes on a Facebook post, we will create contests and reward students.”
Adams wants Village Scholarships to one day be considered a top fi ve scholarship company. He wants to be among the top 40 most influential people under the age of 30 and said his overall goal is to impact one billion people.
“Life’s short, but it’s the longest thing you will ever do, so do something.”