Every year, Lendza’s “Better Than a Loan” scholarship challenges participants to don the entrepreneurial hat and articulate viable solutions to ever-present business challenges. The 2022 edition was no exception, where participants were asked to offer insights into the often-tumultuous journey of startups.
Out of the many brilliant minds that applied, one student from BYU-Idaho, Finely Joseph, stood out with his insightful and strategic approach.
While some believe that financing is the only challenge startups face, Joseph highlighted a plethora of hurdles: limited funding, lack of experience, and the necessity for cost-effective marketing, to name a few. We got a chance to speak with our winner to get more insight into the mind of a budding entrepreneur who showcased a proactive approach to navigating the common obstacles startups face.
Can you explain how you developed your perspective on addressing startup challenges? Was it through courses, personal research, or some other avenue?
I developed my perspective through personal research and courses. I learned to keep going and have problem-solving skills when challenges arise. I also listen to many business podcasts that offer good insight.
What inspired you to think proactively and strategically about potential startup challenges despite not owning a business?
I have always been proactive and look for the most effective ways to accomplish a task, no matter how big or small. I also have some experience with running small summer businesses that allowed me to practice for when I decide to have my own startup.
Your essay mentioned grants and crowdfunding as viable financing opportunities for startup businesses. Why do you believe grants and crowdfunding might be more advantageous than traditional loans for startups?
I believe this because many loan officers set terms that are difficult to abide by when a company is first starting up. The expectations can create excess pressure. It is also advantageous for people who may not have the best credit history, but they still deserve a chance to pursue a dream or business idea.
In your essay, you emphasized the importance of cutting unnecessary expenses. How do you think startups can distinguish between essential and non-essential costs when they are just starting out?
Defining essential and non-essential can sometimes be difficult for people who are ambitious and want to start big. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to start small and to narrow down exactly what one would need to accomplish the bare minimum of the business and work up from there.
You mentioned mentorship as necessary for startups. Are there professors, advisors, or industry professionals you have received guidance or mentorship from throughout your academic journey?
I am blessed to have many people around me who have experience in business and have encouraged me through my academic journey. My in-laws are very wise and have given me great advice when I come to a crossroads with a decision.
Do you have aspirations to become an entrepreneur post-graduation? If so, what areas or industries interest you?
I am very excited to become an entrepreneur and find my niche. I feel confident in my abilities to create a business and work hard to make it successful. I have not yet narrowed down the industry I’d like to work in, and I think with more experience, I will be able to figure out what direction to go.
What is your major? What do you plan to do post-graduation?
My major is Applied Business Management. I plan on seeking an entry-level position in a business-related field to gain experience before deciding what I would do in my own business.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy playing soccer, learning about personal development, and studying business strategies. In my free time, I enjoy going on walks with my wife and daughter. I think it’s very important to make time for hobbies and building passions.
Do you have any tips for next year’s scholarship applicants?
I would suggest looking for any opportunities that present themself. Be yourself and have integrity. At times, it’s hard to have confidence and hope, but there are people and resources to aid your journey.