Two High School Seniors Receive National Award for Entrepreneurial
Two Teenagers Awarded $15,000
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 16, 2014 – The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded two high school seniors each with a $15,000 scholarship for their entrepreneurial endeavors. At a ceremony in Washington, D.C., LeiLei Secor of Hagaman, N.Y. was awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Zach Haney of Topeka, Kan. was honored with the Dan Danner Leadership Award.
Ms. Secor owns and operates Designed By Lei where she specializes in custom designing and crafting handmade jewelry. Since 2012, LeiLei has been successfully selling and marketing her jewelry online while also balancing her academic responsibilities. She was awarded the $15,000 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award to apply toward her tuition at The University of Virginia.
“I am so grateful for this experience and to be honored as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Secor. “Throughout this process I have realized how much work it takes to be a small business owner and it is wonderful to be recognized with all of the other finalists. NFIB has provided me with a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.”
Mr. Haney owns and operates an event rental company, Kansas Carnival Supply, LLC that supplies clients’ with interactive party and equipment rentals for a wide variety of events. Zach started his business in 2012 with a free carnival for a local homeless shelter and since then it has been one of the fastest growing event rental companies in Northeast Kansas. He was awarded the $15,000 Dan Danner Leadership Award which he will apply toward his tuition at Washburn University.
“I am honored to be a part of this experience that has come out of hard work and giving back to the community,” said Haney. “It is exciting to be recognized and rewarded nationally for what I am passionate about. This has been a wonderful experience traveling with my family to Washington D.C. to receive this honor from the NFIB.”
“We are delighted and excited to honor these students for their business accomplishments, by giving them scholarships” said Molly Young, Senior Manager of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. “Their hard work, ambition and entrepreneurial spirit are hopeful signs for the next generation of business owners. NFIB is proud to congratulate and support their efforts and pursuing the American Dream.”
NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation established its scholarship program to raise awareness among the nation’s youth about the critical role of private enterprise and entrepreneurship in growing America’s economy. The foundation selected the top five nominees and today’s winners from a nationwide applicant pool of more than 600 students. Award recipients will use the scholarships to attend the university, college, community college or career institute of their choice. Since 2003, YEF has awarded over 2,500 scholarships worth more than $2.5 million to graduating high school seniors.
To qualify for an NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award, students must be seniors in high school who own and/or operate their own small business. They are required to write an essay describing their entrepreneurial endeavors and future goals. NFIB members around the country interviewed the applicants for the Young Entrepreneur Awards.
**NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of award recipients available upon request**
Kurt Summers, NFIB board member; LeiLei Secor; and NFIB president & CEO Dan Danner. (left to right)
Kurt Summers, NFIB board member; Dan Danner, NFIB president & CEO; and Zach Haney (left to right)
Kurt Summers, Vivek Tedla, LeiLei Secor, Anna Erkalova, Cody Gradert, Zach Haney and Dan Danner (left to right)
The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise to the nation’s youth. More information is available at www.NFIB.com/YEF. The Foundation is associated with the National Federation of Independent Business; NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists sends their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system.