On June 10th, the NFIB Indiana Leadership Council recognized Indiana’s Young Entrepreneur Award winner at their quarterly meeting. In it’s 12th year, NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards is a scholarship program designed to reward and encourage entrepreneurial talents among high school students. More than 600 students nationwide applied for a YEF scholarship this year and NFIB is proud to award one scholarship to a young entrepreneur in Indiana.
Benjamin Ratts is this year’s winner of the NFIB/Stella Eckerly Young Entrepreneur Award and a senior at Salem High School. Benjamin started and operates Custom Hay Baling and plans to attend Vincennes University.
Todd Rimer, Leadership Council member and owner of Element212 in Anderson, was Benjamin’s nominator and presented the award to him. “I’m so very impressed with the quality of person that Benjamin is. He has a dedication to his family, his work and his faith that you don’t always see in young people today,” he said.
Benjamin spoke to the group very candidly about starting his own business. “At a young age, I wanted to be able to spend money and I learned that I needed to make money first. That’s why I started this business. I couldn’t find permanent work in my community, so I created it on my own.”
“Small business is the backbone of Indiana’s economy and there’s no better way for young people to improve their futures and help their communities than to start a business that creates jobs and opportunities for others,” said NFIB State Director Barbara Quandt.
In 2014, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded 100 Young Entrepreneur Award Scholarships to students across the country. Each award is between $1,000 and $15,000. Students who received the Young Entrepreneur Award are seniors in high school who own and/or operate their own small business. The scholarships are used to help with tuition costs for the winners’ post-secondary education. NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded $145,000 to deserving young entrepreneurs in 2014, thanks to the financial support from numerous small business leaders, corporate and foundation supporters. A complete list of donors is available here.
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 interview the applicants for the Young Entrepreneur Awards.