Santander Consumer USA Inc. Foundation invests $70,000 in Mesa Community College student entrepreneurs

Woman with long dark hair in black sleeveless shirt next to one of her pieces of art, a welded metal frame with a sun in the center, half is polished metal and other other half looks like flames. Laura Sipp, artist/owner of MAZZ Metal & Artworks MESA, Arizona -- Nov. 4, 2021 -- The Santander Consumer USA Inc. Foundation (SC Foundation) awards an additional $70,000 grant to the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, supporting low-income and underrepresented student entrepreneurs enrolled in the Mesa Community College (MCC) Green Flag program during the 2021-2022 academic year.

“The pandemic-driven maker boom is growing stronger and more and more students are opting to start their own business instead of pursuing a traditional 9-to-5 job. As entrepreneurship grows, so does the need for guidance for budding independent business owners,” said Santander Consumer USA executive and Arizona resident Sandra Broderick, head of Operations for Santander US. “Santander Consumer USA’s continued investment doesn’t make a business idea better or change the economic climate - it gives Mesa Community College students an extra boost to launch their careers.”

Smiling woman with braids next to a piece of welding helmet and equipment. Laura Sipp with welding equipment obtained through the Green Flag program. The SC Foundation’s continued support for students participating in the MCC Green Flag program helps remove financial barriers to business startup costs and provides educational stipends for an additional 10 low-income and underrepresented MCC student entrepreneurs.

“The majority of brilliant business ideas introduced by students rarely materialize due to inexperience, limited capital and lack of resources. However, Green Flag students are thriving. The initial $50,000 grant from the SC Foundation in 2020 supported the launch of 12 new student-run, Mesa-based businesses,” said Dan Piercy, director of the MCC Green Flag program and business faculty member. “Green Flag program participants, with the generous support from the SC Foundation, are able to access business services such as filing copyrights, creating logos and legal registrations, as well as purchasing vital equipment and supplies and developing marketing tools such as websites and social media."

Black and white photo of a person welding. Person is in full gear and the weld is bright sparks. Laura Sipp creating her art. Laura Sipp, artist/owner of MAZZ Metal & Artworks, is one of the first MCC Green Flag students to receive a stipend from the SC Foundation. She creates a variety of custom metal works for clients including sculptures, doors, gates, tables and art frames for mounting paintings. The grant provided vital equipment and supplies, such as a welding machine, welding wire, a grinder, metal for creative experimentation, paints, canvases and a desk for her office.

Sipp said, “If I had not gotten this funding, I would not have been able to afford the startup costs. I cannot express enough how very thankful I am. Being able to start a business and hopefully have it grow into something bigger secures a future for my daughter and me. I hope one day this will be something that she would like to continue. I am so grateful for the support to make my dream a reality.”

MCC student businesses are as diverse as their founders and include the provision of a wide range of goods and services benefitting local consumers and the overall economy.

Learn more about the MCC Green Flag program at

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Media contact: Dawn Zimmer,, 480-461-7892 or 602-471-5343

Mesa Community College is nationally recognized as an Aspen Prize Top 150 U.S. Community College and is known for service learning, career and technical programs, civic engagement and innovative approaches to education. For more than 50 years, the college has served as a resource for career readiness, transfer education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Host to more than 30,000 students annually, MCC offers degree and certificate programs at its two campuses, additional locations and a combination of online formats. Through Guided Pathways with Integrated Support Services and a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, MCC is transforming how it champions student success, college completion, university transfer and career attainment and advancement. MCC is a Hispanic Serving Institution and nearly 50% of its students are the first in their families to attend college. Its American Indian Institute serves students from the 22 federally recognized tribes of Arizona as well as out-of-state tribes. MCC has the largest indigenous student population of all the Maricopa Community Colleges. The diverse student body includes more than 300 international students from 55 countries. Award-winning faculty are dedicated to student success, providing the education and training that empowers MCC students to successfully transfer to a university or compete in the workforce. Located in the East Valley of Phoenix, Arizona, on the traditional territories of the O'odham, Piipaash and Yavapai Peoples, MCC is one of 10 colleges in the Maricopa County Community College District. Visit to learn more.

Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) --

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is an EEO/AA institution and an equal opportunity employer of protected veterans and individuals with disabilities. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or national origin. A lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in the career and technical education programs of the District. MCCCD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities. For Title IX/504 concerns, call the following number to reach the appointed coordinator: (480) 731-8499. For additional information, as well as a listing of all coordinators within the Maricopa College system, visit

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Publication Date: 
Monday, November 1, 2021