Terry Brown knows what it takes to start and grow a business.
Now, the longtime Steamboat Springs businessman is hoping to pass along his entrepreneurial spirit with a new $1,000 scholarship.
Brown is the founder and president of Altitude Snacks, and he will award the new scholarship to a student who expresses a passion for business. Brown also founded Wing-Time, a buffalo sauce company in 1994 in Davis, Calif. However, he relocated the business to Steamboat Springs before selling to a larger company in 2013.
Driven by his passion for business, Brown said he wants to pay it forward by trying to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs with the scholarship.
“I want someone who is really passionate about or has a dream to chart their own path,” Brown said. “Whether it’s a product or service, something that maybe doesn’t exist and hasn’t been done yet, or they have a better way of doing it — you know, creating a better mousetrap — (the recipient should) have some passion and drive where you can just see it (or) read it in the application.”
The Altitude Snacks Entrepreneurial Scholarship will be given to a student who aspires to create their own brand or business, who has an entrepreneurial spirit, who often finds their head filled with so many ideas they can’t focus on just one task, or who is interested in creating their own personal and financial freedom and willing to put in the work needed to obtain it.
The student must be a 2022 graduate with a minimum 2.5 GPA and be planning to attend college in the fall to study business or a related field. The student will be asked to write a supplemental essay explaining why he or she wants to be an entrepreneur. The local application period opened Feb. 1 with deadlines in March through April.
For Brown, the new scholarship is a way to give back to the community and to give back to the entrepreneurial spirit that has driven him throughout his life.
“We donate to a lot of nonprofits, and that’s part of giving back, and we keep it all local,” Brown said. “The scholarship came about because I love working with youth.”
Brown was involved with creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities — also known as the CEO program — at the high school for several years. During that time, he found it was incredibly rewarding to interact with young students, hear their ideas and see their visions.
“After last year’s scholarship night, I started thinking, ‘Why don’t I do an Altitude Snack scholarship?” Brown recalled. “It’s a way to not just give back to the community, but to give back to an individual in a category that is not represented in the current scholarships. I don’t think I’ve seen any entrepreneurial or business-focused scholarships, and I want to change that.”
Brown hopes that years down the road, the winner of the Altitude Snacks Entrepreneurial Scholarship will follow their dream and someday, after starting a successful startup, creating a new widget or coming up with a new idea, look back on the scholarship.
“I hope they’ll remember, someday when they have become successful, that decades ago they got a scholarship from somebody that was on a similar path,” Brown said. “I can’t think of a better way to give back.”
This year, students can apply for up to 65 local scholarships. Steamboat Springs High School announced $256,800 awarded to local students at last year’s scholarship awards night, and the high school will host this year’s scholarship award ceremony on 25.
Last year, there were 170 scholarships, with some organizations awarding scholarships to more than one student and the money coming from various businesses, nonprofits and other entities in and around Steamboat. The scholarships come with varying eligibility requirements, and some only apply to certain fields of study or involvement. Regardless, it can help local students pursue their continued education.
“Many students from Steamboat would like to explore opportunities outside of the state of Colorado, and out-of-state tuition is a real issue for many families,” said Sarah Boatright, College and Career First Coordinator for the high school. “Generally, Colorado schools have high in-state tuition rates, so even if students choose to stay in Colorado, they typically rely on these scholarships to lessen the financial burden to themselves and their family.”
She added that these scholarships allow students to explore many different options, so they can choose a post-secondary path that will allow them to succeed in their chosen field regardless of their current economic background.
Boatright encourages students to apply for every scholarship they can and allow themselves enough time to submit a thoughtful and thorough application.
To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.