Entrepreneurial Grants

The Finstad Entrepreneurial Grant program awards grants to full-time St. Olaf students or teams that develop the best business plan for a for-profit venture. Students work with the Associate Director for Entrepreneurship to develop a business plan and then pitch their project to a committee for consideration.  Grant recipients must continue to work closely with the Finstad entrepreneurial staff to implement and grow their business. The Grant program awards grants up to $3,000 to individuals or teams to launch sustainable enterprises that create commercial, artistic, social and/or scientific value.

Students are selected to pitch their idea to a committee made up of a mix of faculty, administrators, community members, and peers.  See Finstad Entrepreneurial Pitch Guidelines for more information.  After reviewing the application, business plan, financials, and the pitch, this committee will select those students that will receive a grant and decide the grant amount. If you are interested in what types of projects St. Olaf sponsors, take a look at our past recipients.

Email Roberto Zayas (zayas@stolaf.edu) to be added to the entrepreneurship alias.

Application Process


Complete a company description that includes
  • Name
  • Location
  • Ownership and legal status
  • History
  • Identify products or services
  • Explain funding
Meet with a Coach

Meet with Roberto Zayas, Associate Director of Entrepreneurship to discuss business planning and feasibility. To request a meeting with Roberto, please login to Handshake. On the right hand side under shortcuts, click on “Request a Coaching Appointment”. For the topic, select “Business Plan Review”.


For help creating your budget, cash flow, and income statement, Lynda.com offers several video tutorials on using Excel to organize your business.

When preparing your pitch, use this tutorial on presentation fundamentals.

Business Plans due by Friday November 16th, 2018. Pitches will be the week of November 26th-30th


Format for Finstad Business Plans:

Executive Summary: Short description of the business (100 word max).

Business Plan:

  • Description of Product/Service:  the problem or customer pain it solves, its competitive advantage and what is unique about the product/service. (400 word max)
  • Market Size/Potential/Opportunity: estimate of the size of the market and its growth rate, the product/service’s target customer, competitor analysis and the strategy to successfully compete. (400 word max)
  • Sales & Marketing: explanation of the sales strategy, the channels that will be used to deliver the product/service, marketing tactics that will be used to create awareness and a discussion about how the product/service will be priced and positioned. (400 word max)
  • Operating Plan: how the product/service will be brought to market (design, manufacture/develop, distribute), the current stage of development and a discussion of the expertise/experience that the management team brings and any missing pieces. (400 word max)
  • Financials: any high level historical financials that are available, a minimum of five years of revenue and profit projections, assumptions supporting the projections and the amount of outside capital that will be required, when it will be needed and what it will be used for. (400 word max)

Entrepreneurial Grant Past Recipients — A list of past recipients, their projects, and majors of study beginning with the 2013 – ’14 academic year.

If you have any questions, please contact Roberto Zayas at zayas@stolaf.edu or stop by the Piper Center in Tomson 270.