Anderson University looks to hook young entrepreneurs by offering to pay student debt

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ANDERSON, Ind. — A new program out of Anderson University is offering to pay the student loans of young entrepreneurs who set their sights on the local community.

The program called “Anderson Now” offers up to $25,000 in loan payments to 10 Indiana college graduates who are willing to relocate or start a business in Anderson.

“We are ripe for entrepreneurial activity and so we’re trying to get the attention of Indiana graduates who might not think to come to Anderson, Indiana to establish a new business but really can experience a lot of benefits from coming here,” Program Director Deborah Miller Fox said.

The program is a partnership between Anderson University, the City of Anderson and the Flagship Enterprise Center’s Micro loan Program, which has the stated goal of fostering entrepreneurship and economic development in Anderson.

Participation in the program also includes access to experts who will provide business and technical support, access to affordable housing and “direct interaction” with other Madison County business owners.

“Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business, a lonely life. And so one of the things we want to be very intentional about is providing a sense of community,” Fox said.

Participants in the program must be graduates of a four-year Indiana college or university, have a viable business plan and have student loan debt.  Applicants must also complete a bankable loan application as well as conduct interviews with an Anderson Now advisory team. If accepted, candidates will then have to agree to the terms and conditions of the program.

“Our dream is that these entrepreneurs will come and that they will stay. Not just for a year and then give up but become planted in this community and their business will thrive,” Fox said.

The money for the program is being funded through a donor that wishes to remain anonymous.

Anderson Now is currently accepting applications. Only 10 candidates will be selected for the programs initial run. It’s possible that a new crop of entrepreneurs will be accepted sometime in the future.

Fox says the Anderson Now staff will use this year’s pilot run to test the program’s viability. She says it’s her hope that the program creates a replicable model to be used throughout the state and country.

“We care about the community in which we’re based,” she said.

For more information on the Anderson Now program, click here.

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