Entrepreneurial Scholarships

NWILED John D. Cooke, III Memorial Entrepreneurial Scholarship

Beginning in 2018, NWILED began offering an entrepreneurial scholarship. In 2021, the scholarship was renamed in honor and remembrance of the late John Cooke III who was a founding member of the organization. Through the Cooke scholarship, NWILED hopes to enrich the lives of deserving students in our service area that are entrepreneurial and want to start a business or pursue a career in business.

NWILED typically offers three scholarships to graduating high school seniors from Carroll or Jo Daviess Counties who are entrepreneurial and want to start a business or pursue a career in business. There is one $2,000 first place award and two $1,500 runners up awards. Recipients shall be full-time students in good academic standing in the qualifying school year. Scholarships can be used for start-up costs related to launching a business and or advancing a career in business through education and or training.
Past scholarship winners have included a student intending to open an agritourism beekeeping business in Galena, another connected to Hoof It Goat Treks of rural Galena, Three Sisters Sweet Shoppe in Elizabeth, and Davis Lumber Company in Scales Mound, in addition to a student from Savanna that proposed a sign language business, and a student from the Galena Territory who is developing a hand-crafted artisan doll line.

2024 Announcement 

NWILED has announced the presentation of the organization's 2024 Entrepreneurial Scholarship Awards to three area high school students:  Abby Ehler from Galena High School was awarded a $2,000 first place.  Abby's goal is to open a brick-and-motor location for her family's “Merry for a Cause” business that helps fund and promote various health awareness issues by making and selling handmade items online.  She'll be enrolling in a Business Administration degree program this fall at the University of Arizona Online.
Runner up awards of $1,500 each were given to Jack Ries of Galena High School and Evelyn Walters of River Ridge High School.

The application window for the 2025 scholarship will open late winter and will close early spring.