The first winner of the BlueVine Scholarship for Young Entrepreneurs developed a passion for entrepreneurship at a young age when she began “one business venture after another.”
“It is funny to recall that I was actually an entrepreneur before I could even spell ‘entrepreneur,’” said Maryam Adesewa Adeniyi, who received the $5,000 scholarship from BlueVine, the fintech pioneer which offers working capital financing to small and medium-sized businesses.
Adeniyi, 18, of Arlington, Tex., plans to study business management and consulting at the Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. BlueVine launched the scholarship to support aspiring business owners in undergraduate or graduate programs related to entrepreneurship.
“This scholarship will help me pursue my passion for business and entrepreneurship in college,” Adeniyi said. “I hope to continue my small cross-cultural clothing business that I started a few years ago and see where that takes me.”
An Early Passion for Business
She started dabbling in business as a child, Adeniyi recalled: “My childhood consisted of one business venture after another. It was things like neighborhood bake sales, Kool-Aid stands, and selling bracelets at recess initially to make extra money that my parents could not give me.”
She was in sixth grade when she taught herself how to use a sewing machine. “With the help of books and the internet, I slowly developed my skills and abilities in both sewing and entrepreneurship.”
Eventually, we created a business selling outfits for children, teens and adults made from traditional African fabric. She also makes headbands, special shirts and custom Halloween costumes.
Initially, Adeniyi dreamed of becoming a designer. But she said she grew “more fascinated with the expanse of entrepreneurship, leadership, and what they can do to improve people, places, and even society as a whole.”
Culture and Diversity in Entrepreneurship
Her interest in entrepreneurship is, in many ways, also rooted in her views on culture and diversity. Her African clothing business, Adeniyi says, is about fostering pride and self confidence based on her belief that “people feel happy and beautiful while embracing a unique culture.”
“I hope for the non-Africans that purchase my clothes to appreciate culture and diversity of everyone in the world and also feel confident and bold as they wear something unique,” Adeniyi says. “The possibility of multiplying the little impact I have on people through my simple business motivates me to continue on to a professional career as entrepreneur and business leader.”
Adeniyi has big ambitions for her business and she hopes to acquire in college the needed skills to pursue them.
“My ultimate goal is to use my business management skills gained in college to possibly allow a business like mine to expand and employ needy individuals like immigrants and gift them with a valuable skill for their lives to progress,” she says.
“Education could give me the power to establish a universal brand that would be sold in various retail stores across the world or my own store chain. I could use my clothing as a medium to inspire people to embrace themselves and be unique.”
Guidelines for the next BlueVine Scholarship for Young Entrepreneurs will be announced later this year.