The engine of the American economy has always been entrepreneurship. From the spark of individual creativity have emerged the global businesses, ingenious inventions, and pioneering solutions that characterize the world economy today. Today’s students in American high schools and universities are the leaders to the next chapter of history. In an extremely competitive environment, it is imperative to equip them with the guidance necessary to become the next great creators of jobs, opportunities, and innovations. In the service of this vision, the Time Entrepreneurship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, aims to promote and support entrepreneurship at the secondary and tertiary levels of education. The Foundation achieves this goal by providing institutional Honor Grant® funding to high schools and universities, which in turn administer Honor Loan® funding to individual students.
The Honor Loan® Program, with its roots starting out of Brown University, allows students at educational institutions receiving Honor Grant® awards to obtain the resources necessary to pursue their entrepreneurial passions. These educational loans are disbursed on an interest-free basis, and carry no legal requirement for monetary repayment. Instead, students promise on the honor system to pay back the original funds if their entrepreneurial venture succeeds, or else simply volunteer their time to help fundraise those funds back if they lack the financial means. In addition, students must complete an academic curriculum of entrepreneurship study prior to their eligibility for the loan. This entire process instills in students the educational values of responsibility and accountability. In addition, Honor Grant® institutions will distribute Honor Loan® awards based upon each recipient’s specific needs and stage of development. For instance, the Honor Loan® program can underwrite the cost of creating a legal business entity, securing services such as consultancies and marketing, creating prototypes of physical products, building websites and online networks, purchasing basic office and research supplies, and filing for trademark and patent protection, among other purposes.
The Foundation’s activities fill a major gap in today’s educational system. Most high schools and universities do not offer dedicated programs on entrepreneurship, and those that do typically provide support only through annual competition-based models that disproportionately favor a tiny fraction of the participants. By contrast, the Honor Loan® program offers non-competitive, year-round funding to students committed to entrepreneurship. Its emphasis on the honor system removes the fear of failure, because students need not repay the principal through monetary means. Indeed, by the mere act of pursuing an entrepreneurial idea, students will gain the education, experience, and lessons necessary to succeed later on—assets they would not otherwise obtain through other models of support.