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GrantMe founder makes Forbes 30 Under 30 list

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Posted 2021-01-25
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As a former captain of the UBC Thunderbirds women’s soccer team, Madison Guy has a profound belief in the power of teamwork, which is why she prefers to call her success as a 2020 Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 honoree a team effort.

Guy was asleep early one morning when her partner woke her up to tell her the news – she had been listed in Forbes Magazine’s international roster of top young entrepreneurs for 2020

“He said wake up, you’re in Forbes!” laughs Guy. “It was a really good day for our whole team. I went into the office and the team was there and we had a little celebration.”

The honour capped off an extraordinary year for the UBC Sauder Bachelor of Commerce (2017) alumna, who also won BC Business’ 2020 30 Under 30 award. At the age of 26, Guy has already made a name for herself as a talented entrepreneur and innovator in the technology education space. Now, word is spreading in the United States as well. 

“Working in a startup environment, you don’t often take the time to enjoy the recognition that comes your way. But with the Forbes award, we took a step back and recognized and celebrated all the great work we’ve done together that brought us to this point.” 

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Members of the GrantMe team, which include several UBC Sauder business students and alumni.

A virtuous circle of education, business and mentorship 

Guy has much to celebrate – in just three years, GrantMe has assisted over 2,700 Canadian students win more than $4.2 million in scholarships and secure spots in top universities and degree programs across the country. 

A portion of GrantMe’s revenues fund scholarships as well, and Guy is especially proud of her company’s new BIPOC scholarship – open to eligible high school and post-secondary students who have strengthened their communities through leadership work, or have overcome personal challenges. 

As she continues to refine her busines strategy and explore new markets, Guy receives mentorship advice from another successful entrepreneur and UBC Sauder alum – Praveen Varshney. 

“Madison is an amazing, hard-working, hungry entrepreneur, which makes her very coachable. Most importantly, she applies what she learns,” notes Varshney. “GrantMe is a compelling business venture as it’s tackling a large niche sector of grants and using technology to scale.”

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The backbone of GrantMe is its user-friendly technology platform that gives students access to a vast database of academic scholarships and awards. 

Expanding services and building community

While there are no immediate plans to open a U.S. office, the business is scaling up – moving from university applications and scholarships to a full suite of academic and career consulting services, including resume and cover letter writing, career coaching and job interview preparation.

“We really see ourselves as an education partner through our students’ entire education journey – from the point where they are applying to universities and scholarships, all the way through to landing internships and their first full-time job,” shares Guy.

These days, Guy is hyper focused on building community. To that end, she’s planning on opening her first retail location in Vancouver in 2021 or early 2022 in order to hold in-person events with GrantMe members and their families, as well as new partners and stakeholders.

“We want to open a bricks-and-mortar space in Vancouver so our clients have access to the platform, but also have an opportunity to have a really personalized experience,” says Guy. 

“There will be events for our clients, but we also want to host free events and workshops to any student or family that is looking for support.”

Matching students to jobs

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Paige Ingram won $82,000 in academic scholarships and awards through GrantMe. The first-year UBC Sauder Business and Computer Science (BUCS) student also worked for GrantMe last summer. 

Another area for growth for the company is job placement. As an employer, Guy has hired more than 10 students or alumni that she first got to know as clients. Since GrantMe attracts talented, hard-working and high-achieving students, Guy’s experience is that they also make excellent employees. She would like to play the role of connector and facilitator between her clients and high-calibre employers. 

“Ultimately, that’s our goal at GrantMe. How can we help students take care of themselves, first financially to set themselves up for their future, and then in a meaningful career that will allow them to make a difference in other people’s lives?”

With a unique business model and a steady pipeline of talented students, Guy is gaining international recognition as an entrepreneur and education champion, capable of generating both profits and social impact.