Blue Sky Fund

The MCC Blue Sky Fund – Mini Grant Program Overview

Where Big Ideas Soar!

It is the mission of Metropolitan Community College to promote and support entrepreneurial aspirations by its students across the entire curriculum of study and move students from “thinking” or “learning” stages to actual implementation.  The Blue Sky Fund contest is a mini-grant program to enable MCC students (partner high school OR college students) to present their real entrepreneurial or innovative endeavors being worked on during their course of study for mini-grant funding consideration of $1,000 to enable them to pre-test, research, start, sustain or grow their ideas.  The Fund will consider all entrepreneurial or innovative ideas; however will focus on those with a for-profit, non-profit or social agenda.


The Blue Sky Fund will be open for any MCC student from any program of study actively enrolled in at least 1 for-credit course during the past Academic school year (16/17) OR for prior MCC Entrepreneur Program students having previously completed at least one of the ENTR prefix courses (ENTR 1050, 2040, 2050, 2060, 2070, 2700, 2090, 2900 or 2981).  Students can be from a high school partner school having completed a dual credit course OR a college student directly enrolled at MCC.  There will be only 1 division in which the Top 6 applicants will be invited to pitch on stage to a panel of judges from the local entrepreneur community on Monday, April 24.


Interested and eligible serious entrepreneurial candidates with real business concepts will submit a completed Blue Sky Fund Application by Tuesday, April 18 at midnight.  Submit the completed application by email attachment as a .doc or .docx. file to Heather Nelson at

Funding Requests

Up to 3 applicants will be awarded $1,000.  Applicants will identify their specific requests for funding support needed by identifying the following on The Blue Sky Fund Application:

  • Specific item(s) to be purchased, obtained and/or invested in.
  • The vendor or retailer of preferred purchase.
  • The actual, final cost including shipping and tax of each item requested.
  • The necessity or reason for purchase.
  • Measurable outcome results to be achieved by the usage of each item requested.

Examples of Eligible Requests

The Blue Sky Fund will support the acquisition of items, tools, resources, etc. to enable those awarded to test, research, start, sustain or grow their entrepreneurial or innovative endeavors.  Items most likely to be funded will be used within the grant period to enable outcomes to be measured and reported.  It is not the goal of The Fund to simply purchase resources that will be stockpiled or saved for later usage nor is this a typical scholarship program to fund tuition, text books, classroom resources needed, etc.  The following is a list of examples of eligible requests to truly support the implementation of entrepreneurial or innovative ideas; although certainly not an inclusive list of all considered expenditures.  Applicants are encouraged to pre-screen ideas with the Grant Manager ahead of time to insure requests can be met.

  • State business registration fees
  • Legal:  Fees/costs for formal drafting of legal documents needed.  (organizational documents, contracts, etc)
  • Sales:  Fees/costs for designing, printing of marketing collateral (logo creation, business cards, brochures, vehicle wrap, clothing to be worn as a uniform, etc), sales supports
  • Marketing:  advertisement/signage creation, trade show fees and booth set up
  • Technology:  Web Site development/management, tools/gadgets/software to expedite, enable, track, record business operations or enable sales.
  • Accounting:  Fees/costs incurred with bookkeeping, tracking, recording, etc.
  • Research:  purchase of survey materials, industry reports, books, databases, software (that will specifically be used within the grant period.
  • Equipment:  purchase of assets and inventory immediately needed to start, grow or sustain


Completed applications received by the submission due date will go through a two-round process:

  • Round 1: An internal screening committee will review all applications received by the submission due date to invite up to 6 student candidates that are deemed to have submitted completed applications that bring interest and readiness for funding support to participate in Round 2.  The screening committee will announce those applicants invited to participate in Round 2 by end of day, Friday, April 21.
  • Round 2: Up to 6 applicants will be invited to participate in Round 2 and will make an in-person presentation to a team of judges for award consideration at the 2017 Night of Entrepreneur Competitions taking place on Monday, April 24.  Selected applications will present in no greater than 3 minutes with up to an additional 2 minutes to address questions from a panel of judges to identify serious candidates ready for funding support.  Use of props, prototypes, handouts, samples, or visual technology display are highly encouraged to convey one's funding request.  Participants will have access to technology such as a computer and slide projector/screen and the ability to use the Internet and PowerPoint. Special technology requests will be fulfilled as possible by MCC or the student applicant personally.  Technology requests, including files to be shown must be emailed to by midnight, Sunday, April 23.


A maximum of $3,000 will be publicly awarded during the 2017 Night of Entrepreneur Competitions on Monday, April 24 to eligible applicants (no more than $1,000 per student) that demonstrate their readiness after successfully completing two rounds of judging described in the "Judging" section.  Awardees will work directly with the Grant Manager, Heather Nelson, to acquire their requested items as approved.   In some cases, payment will be made directly to the vendors or retailers identified.  Funds must be dispensed by May 31 to enable student awardees to implement their objectives as agreed by the grantor (MCC) and achieve measurable results by the end of the grant period, or June 30.   Funds not used by this date, unless approved ahead of time by the Grant Manager, will be forfeited.


Each awardee will individually complete a Grant Summary Report by June 30 to the Grant Manager, Heather Nelson by email attachment sent to as a .doc or .docx file outlining their results achieved and lessons learned.  A template will be provided to each awardee to timely complete.


Selected awardees of The Blue Sky Fund will formally agree to the following before funding will be made:

  • Enable MCC to use their name, image, plan summary and outcomes in press releases, marketing, public speaking and other outreach activities with the student body at large and the community in general.
  • Utilize the Blue Sky funding as agreed.  If it is deemed that a student has misrepresented themselves or otherwise used the funding in a non-sanctioned way; the student may be subject to repaying all of the funds received (even if already expensed) to the College.
  • Attend a minimum of 1 Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization meeting (CEO — MCC's student entrepreneur club) OR Entrepreneur class to present to their peers of the successes and challenges experienced with the actual implementation of their ideas by the end of the grant period.
  • Track and report measurable outcomes achieved (or not) through the fund.
  • File a final Grant Summary Report by end of the grant period or June 30.  (template to be provided)


Address questions regarding The Blue Sky Fund to either:

Important Dates

The following dates are applicable to the Spring 2017 Quarter funding of The Blue Sky Fund Mini-Grant Program:

Spring 2017 Quarter Funding of The Blue Sky Fund Mini-Grant Program
Application due: Tuesday, April 18
Round 1 announcements: Friday, April 21
Round 2 presentations: Monday, April 24
Awardees announced: Monday, April 24
Funds to be dispensed by: Wednesday, May 31
Grant summary report due: Friday, June 30
Grant period: April 24 - June 30

Grant Manager

Heather Nelson, or 531-622-1376


Although MCC college students should make application to both the Blue Sky Fund Contest and the Elevator Pitch contest; the same student cannot win both competitions.  The Blue Sky Fund Contest will take place first on April 24 to enable students independently selected to participate in both contests the opportunity to win the greater award first.


Lincoln Financial Foundation logo

MCC's 2017 Night of Entrepreneur Competition is made possible with the support of the Lincoln Financial Foundation.