NFIB announces the winners of its Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Dan Danner Leadership Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2015) – Today at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) awarded incoming college freshmen Richard “Hart” Main and Asya Gonzalez its two top scholarships for their entrepreneurial success and spirit.
Richard “Hart” Main, a recent graduate of New Philadelphia High School and winner of the 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, started his own business Man Cans at the age of 13. Hart sells manly scented candles in soup cans and donates $0.75 of every sale to soup kitchens in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Over the last few years Hart has donate 90,000 cans of soup and $30,000 to 25 soup kitchens across those four states. He came up with the idea of manly scented candles when his sister was doing a candle fundraiser and few of the candles appealed to him. As Hart heads to Kent State University this fall, he plans to continue running his business. You can learn more about Hart’s business on his website www.man-cans.com or on YouTube.
“My entrepreneurial experience has taught me a lot about myself,” said Hart Main. “I have grown a lot as a person, but more importantly it has also taught me many life skills and has helped me find my passion for giving back to the community. This scholarship will help me go to Kent State without any debt, which down the road will allow me to afford law school.”
Winner of the 2015 Dan Danner Leadership Award, Asya Gonzalez from Centennial, Colorado, started her business Stinky Feet Gurlz at the age of 14. Asya is now 18 and designs fun, 1940’s inspired apparel and accessories for teenaged girls to college aged women. In addition to running this creative and stylish business, she started her own charity, is a preferred speaker for International Youth and co-hosts a radio program called Express Yourself!™. Asya donates a portion of every sale from her business to her charity “She is Worth It,” which is dedicated to preventative awareness and education of child sex trafficking. She just graduated from Arapahoe High School and plans to attend the University of Denver in the fall. Please visit www.StinkyFeetGurlz.com or YouTube to learn more about Asya’s business.
“Winning this scholarship from NFIB means that all my hard work has finally paid off and it makes me feel like I am unstoppable,” Asya Gonzalez said. “My experience of being an entrepreneur has taught me to become a sponge and learn from other professionals as often as possible. I have also gained the valuable skill of leadership and giving back to the community through peer to peer mentoring and inspiring other young endeavoring entrepreneurs to launch their passions.”
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. 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.
“I could not be more excited to honor these accomplished young entrepreneurs,” said Molly Young, Director of NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation. “They truly possess the attributes of a successful entrepreneur and their hard work, spirit and ambition make me hopeful for the next generation of entrepreneurs. NFIB is proud to congratulate this year’s winners for their tremendous accomplishments and hopes to support these students’ efforts and their pursuit of the American Dream.”
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.
All of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation scholarship awards are funded by donations from NFIB members and other businesses who support the entrepreneurial dream. NFIB thanks Visa Inc for graciously sponsoring the awards luncheon and the 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.