DENVER, Colo., July 23, 2015—Centennial, Colorado’s Asya Gonzalez is the winner of one of only two $15,000 Young Entrepreneur Foundation scholarships awarded by the National Federation of Independent, America’s Voice of Small Business, it was announced today at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
As it has done every year since 2003, NFIB is helping pay for the college and university costs of graduating high school seniors who have demonstrated entrepreneurial talent. Gonzalez’s journey began as one of 600 applicants in 2015 and continued through her being one of the 100 winners nationally, then one of the five finalists for two top awards, and ended today with her winning the Dan Danner Leadership Award worth $15,000. As one of five finalists, she was guaranteed $5,000 and as one of the 100 winners $1,000. The other $15,000 award, the 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year, went to Richard Hart Main of Pennsylvania.
A recent graduate of Arapahoe High School, Gonzalez is preparing to attend the University of Denver. She 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.
“Winning this scholarship from NFIB means that all my hard work has finally paid off, and it makes me feel like I am unstoppable,” said Gonzalez. “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.”
Added Molly Young, director of NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation, “I could not be more excited to honor these accomplished young entrepreneurs. 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.”
Penny Gagliardi, a leadership council member for NFIB/Colorado and a co-chair of its YEF committee, said, “I interviewed several Colorado students for the award, and Asya Gonzalez was clearly my choice for her creativity and for her giving back to her community. She’s an excellent example of entrepreneurship, and her parents are excellent examples of parents.”
Six other Colorado high school seniors were among the 100 winners of $1,000 awards, which were announced April 21. Colorado’s YEF scholarships were financed by the donations of NFIB members and by the generous contributions from the El Pomar Foundation.
Applicants for the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards must be graduating high school seniors who are entering their freshman year at an accredited two- or four-year university, college, or vocational institute in the fall of 2015. To qualify for an NFIB Young Entrepreneur Award, students must 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. An independent selection committee reviews all applications and select semi-finalists.
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 advocacy 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 send 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.
National Federation of Independent Business/Colorado
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Winning this scholarship from NFIB means that all my hard work has finally paid off. My experience of being an entrepreneur has taught me to become a sponge and learn from other professionals as often as possible.
2015 Young Entrepreneur Foundation Dan Danner Leadership Award winner Asya Gonzalez.
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