After his parents divorced when he was 10, Brandon Gibson lived first with his mother, then his grandmother and aunt, then his father and now his uncle in Lauderhill. At each stop he was grateful to have a roof over his head and food on the table, but all the bouncing around from one household to the next could sometimes deflate his spirits.

Brandon Gibson“I cried a lot of nights in high school,” said Gibson, who was educated in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. “My family was always there, but I felt I would have to make it on my own.”

And that meant he might have to take some risks, which he proved willing to do. As a teen-ager, he took the food stamps his grandmother gave him and sold candy in the neighborhood to make a profit that he put into a savings account. He purchased clothes online from overseas and imported them to sell in the United States. And, at 15, he started a pressure cleaning business to revitalize outdoor patio decks. Mature beyond his age and with some life lessons already under his belt, Gibson set out to find an investor for his brightest idea, yet.

Education — Brightest Idea, Yet

The Get Real program at Broward College offered him the financial backing to go about the business of obtaining a college degree and solidify his destiny even more. Never one to run from responsibility, Gibson sprinted to the scholarship offer and enrolled in an associate degree program in computer science.

Once in the classroom, Gibson began to apply the same passion he had for building a service toward acquiring more knowledge. By interning, first, in the computer science and engineering department, and, later, in President Haile’s office, he put himself in situations where he could develop healthy relationships and learn firsthand from others who were willing to share their expertise.  That insight came in handy when he served as president of Greatness in the Making, an initiative a Broward College that helps student assimilate to the workforce in a fun and interacting setting.

“Entrepreneurship is in my blood,” said Gibson. “It’s always been in me.”

His DNA was on display when he was selected to be a speaker at a TEDx Talk held on campus, where he showcased his business acumen during a 15-minute live performance before the campus community, which included his mother who proudly refers to her son as “her billion-dollar baby.”

Entrepreneurship in His Blood

Despite his humble upbringing, Gibson doesn’t believe in measuring his success strictly in dollars and cents. It’s his ways of giving back and “making a difference in the lives of others” that he finds the most satisfying. For the time being, that means as a licensed public adjuster, in which he finds intrinsic value by representing the rights of the insured during the claims process as he makes plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Broward College.

Have health, economic or social circumstances forced you to put your academic goals on hold? You may be eligible for scholarships that can reopen doors to higher education. Here’s how.