Top Three Finalists for Self Lender's $1,000 Scholarship for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

AUSTIN, Texas, July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Self Lender is delighted to announce the top three finalists for our second annual Scholarship for Aspiring Entrepreneurs. Founded on the principle of helping people take control of their financial health, Self Lender knows how difficult it is to start a business; people should have the support of the entire entrepreneurial community. That’s why co-founders James Garvey and Anthony DiChiara want to help the next generation of future pioneers. The winner of this year’s scholarship will be announced August 1 and will receive a $1,000 check.

This year’s participants were asked to discuss their experiences with credit. Here’s what they had to say:

LaTonya Ervin
Franklin University
Undergrad, Business Administration
Columbus, Ohio

“I repaired my credit score twelve years ago. It was not easy but it was necessary for me to accomplish the plan of owning my own home… After, going to a real estate service to see about my qualifications for a mortgage, I was denied for a low credit score (about 500). I contacted Equifax, Experian and TransUnion for my credit report, and I decided to investigate and make plans to build my credit score. After I came to an agreement of my charges, I contacted each company to make payment arrangements, while also disputing any fraudulent charges. After paying off my debt a year later, my credit score increased significantly which brought positive changes towards my ability to buy a home for my family.”

“[As an entrepreneur,] there are numerous things that my credit will decide, such as renting or owning the building, insurance, credit lines for supplies, and so on. [My goal of starting a nonprofit, after-school tutoring center] will benefit the community by helping every student who comes through our doors, in an effort to decrease juvenile detention center enrollment. The organization as a whole will assist students in core courses such as math, English, and science.”

Jacob Tolman
University of Utah, David Eccles School of Business
Professional Masters of Business Administration Program
Salt Lake City, Utah

“Several years ago, I enrolled in a nine-week personal finance course for the purpose of increasing my fiscal knowledge and improving my budgeting practices. While I found the program to be beneficial and enlightening in many ways, I felt at odds with the information that was presented concerning credit. The course strongly pushed the idea that all debt and the borrowing of money for any reason was a bad thing, something that must be avoided at all costs. They claimed that by living frugally and saving up enough money in cash, you would never have the need to borrow money or go into debt. This was one principle that didn’t quite sit well with me. As a result, I began a journey to uncover for myself what I believed was a good, and assuredly more realistic, approach to credit.

“Credit is a tool. Similar to many other tools, credit has the potential to build something strong and durable, but it also has the power to cause destruction and damage. It all depends on who is wielding the tool and what knowledge and expertise they have concerning the use of the tool… I look forward to the edge that understanding credit will give me as I move ahead not just in my personal life, but in my professional life as well.”

Shantrisse Broughton
Georgia State University
Undergrad, Computer Science
Atlanta, Georgia

“When planning for one’s financial future while young and inexperienced, it is important to try to become knowledgeable about money. This applies to credit as much as any other part of one’s finances. My method of building credit depends a lot on the learning process that I have taken on to become financially literate. One part of that process is reading articles and other resources… I often hear about things concerning credit that intrigue yet frighten me, like people who have terrible credit because they made a mistake or have been taken advantage of in some way. I like to use these types of experiences to inspire new topics for me to read about.”

“Being able to afford a comfortable life for myself and my loved ones in the future is important to me, and the fact that I have already borrowed a large amount of money in student loans makes me even more determined.”

About Self Lender

Officially offered to the public in February 2016, Self Lender provides credit-builder loans to Americans with limited or no credit. Co-founded by CEO James Garvey and Anthony DiChiara, Self Lender gives consumers the tools and knowledge to establish a credit history in a safe and responsible way. Self Lender is a venture-funded financial technology startup backed by Silverton Partners, Kickstart Seed Fund, Techstars, and Galvanize Ventures. For more information, please visit


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