To run a successful business takes a great deal of hard work, determination, and resilience. Many say that we see fewer of the young generation exhibiting these traits and that the entrepreneurial spirit is on the decline. However, after looking at this year’s crop of applicants for the Young Entrepreneur Foundation – you can tell that there are plenty of young people that not only defy this perception, they exemplify the very definition of entrepreneur. LeiLei Secor and Zach Haney are entrepreneurs that have started small firms prior to graduating from high school. They have been celebrated with top honors by the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation for their pursuits of free enterprise.
Secor, of Hagaman, N.Y. has received the 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Haney, of Topeka, Kansas, accepted this year’s Dan Danner Leadership Award during a special ceremony in the nation’s capital July 16. Each honor, which includes a $15,000 scholarship for higher education, acknowledges the dedication and successes the pair achieved as innovative entrepreneurs and future small-business owners.
Secor’s online jewelry venture, Designed By Lei, specializes in handmade wire wrap-rings and earrings targeted to women; Haney’s enterprise is Kansas Carnival Supply LLC, an event rental firm that provides interactive party and equipment rentals.
It’s vital that you and all NFIB members make a concerted effort to encourage youth such as Secor and Haney. Their optimism, strong faith in the promises of free enterprise and determination to succeed are great examples to other young people who are eager to follow in their steps but fear a government that is antagonizing Main Street risk-takers.
No one better understands the importance of entrepreneurship than you and your fellow small-business owners. Just like LeiLei and Zach, a majority of America’s young people are eager, determined youth who have unlimited entrepreneurial potential. But they need role models and mentors like you to assure them that they can succeed and prosper even in the face of Washington’s current anti-business agenda.
Please help NFIB inspire these promising achievers of tomorrow by joining the Young Entrepreneur Foundation’s effort to bolster America’s entrepreneurs. You can make a difference by serving as a Nominator for the 2015 Young Entrepreneur Awards, and interviewing one or more of the applicants. To qualify, students must be high school seniors who own and/or operate their own small businesses.
And to further support this important program, join your fellow NFIB members who regularly contribute to the foundation. Since 2003, the foundation has awarded more than 2,500 scholarships worth more than $2.5 million to graduating high school seniors.
By encouraging today’s youth we can assure that America’s future is indeed bright.
Kurt Summers, NFIB board member; LeiLei Secor; and NFIB president & CEO Dan Danner. (left to right)