Gustine High School students have an opportunity to have the fundamentals of starting a business waived by a new grant offered by the Traveling Library and the grant's sponsors.


The Brighter Paths Student Business Grant was created by Zachery Ramos and Traveling Library board members to help support the younger generation of current high school students in developing their own business. 


“We want these kids to create their own business and in doing something, we’re working in helping get that dream into fruition by helping sponsor their business,” Ramos said.


This grant will help students cover the cost of their business license within the City of Gustine. Ramos was inspired to start this project due to his own experience of starting his own business within Gustine and noticing how there were not many resources available to him as a young entrepreneur. 


“Seeing the current times we’re going through, I want to help get people my own age and younger off the ground and help them get the support that I didn't have when I was starting my business,” said Ramos. 


Students can currently apply for the grant and have until the end of January to submit their applications. All applications will be submitted to educator Jennifer Okamoto at Gustine High. 


The application must include three to five pages of a typed proposal that describes their business plans, costs, impact on Gustine/Santa Nella community, and their future goals for the business. After proposals are submitted, applicants can expect a similar experience to a famous TV show built upon helping entrepreneurs reach their dreams by presenting their business idea to a group of investors.


“The students have to submit a proposal, once 5-10 of those are chosen by staff then we move on and then they go before myself and three other business owners, then the students have to do a “Shark Tank” presentation to us four and us four rate them,” explained Ramos.


Up to three winners will be chosen for this year's grant and once applicants are awarded, not only will they receive the amount of the cost of their business license but also future assistance in terms of having Gustine business association board members teach the individuals about marketing and planning. 


Once the applications have been submitted, all of February will be used by the overseers to review the applications and choose interview finalists by which winners will be chosen in March. 

“We currently have a lot of youth that see how the world is changing today and are losing hope in creating something of their own. A lot of kids would rather be workers instead of the owner and we’re hoping to inspire a change in that way of thinking,” said Ramos.