When Justin Avery Anderson began experimenting with granola in his mother’s kitchen when he was 16, he had no idea where it would lead.
Now, the senior English major and founder of Anderson Trail, a moist granola company he started nearly five years ago, is one of the recipients of the Texas Business Hall of Fame’s yearly $10,000 scholarship award.
In the past, the Texas Business Hall of Fame only gave scholarships to MBA students but revised its scholarship program beginning this year to also include undergraduate students, said Lynne Tiras, executive director of the Hall of Fame.
This year, the Hall of Fame selected 16 students, including Anderson, from numerous Texas universities to receive the scholarship and attend a luncheon at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Tiras said.
Of the students who applied, only three could be selected from each university to be interviewed by directors of the Hall of Fame, Tiras said. After the interviews, the directors submit their report to the scholarship committee who then select one student from each university, she said.
If none of the applicants from a university meet what the committee is looking for, then that school may not have a student receive a scholarship, Tiras said. However, TCU has always presented good candidates and always has one student selected, she said.
David Minor, director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center, said Anderson received the scholarship because he has a good business he has been working on for a long time, and he is one of the few students on college campuses that has a viable entity.
“I think things like this scholarship just add credibility to his business and to Justin as an individual,” Minor said. “Business people are looking to invest in or buy from folks that they feel comfortable with, and when you can put something like this on your resume, it is a great testimonial to your accomplishments at such a young age.”
Anderson said he was shocked he was one of the students selected for the scholarship.
“I couldn’t believe that I won it because it is mainly awarded to graduate students,” Anderson said. “I am just really thankful that I was selected, and the money will definitely be put to good use.”
While he plans to use the $10,000 scholarship to help pay off some of the debt he has from student loans and other college expenses, Anderson said the award would also have an impact on his granola business.
Upon graduation in May, Anderson said he plans on working full time for Anderson Trail, focusing on launching the company’s new flavors, Peanut Butter Graham Cracker and Blueberry.
His company is also working on expanding his products’ distribution to different, larger chains across the Southwest and launching into the East Coast market, Anderson said.
“The biggest challenge right now is balancing school, work and my personal life,” Anderson said. “And once I graduate, I will have all the time in the world.”