NFIB Announces Its Top Young Entrepreneurs of 2015
100 High School Seniors across the country win scholarships for starting small businesses
Washington, D.C., April 20, 2015 — The National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Young Entrepreneur Foundation today announced the recipients of the 13th annual NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards, a scholarship program designed to reward and encourage entrepreneurial talents among high school students.
“America’s young people have caught the entrepreneurial bug, and we could not be more confident in our next generation of business owners,” said Molly Young, Director of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. “We are impressed year after year with the quality of these hard-working, innovative high school students who are making their entrepreneurial dreams happen.”
Ninety-Five students have been awarded $1,000 scholarships and NFIB has named 5 finalists for the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The Young Entrepreneur Foundation will honor these five finalists at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on July 23rd. During the event, the winners of the “2015 NFIB Young Entrepreneur of the Year” and “2015 NFIB Dan Danner Leadership Award” will be named and each awarded a $15,000 scholarship. The remaining three finalists will each receive a $5,000 scholarship.
This year’s five Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists are:
Asya Gonzalez, from Centennial, Colorado, opened her business Stinky Feet Gurlz three years ago at the age of 14. Through Stinky Feet Gurlz, Asya designs fun, 1940’s inspired apparel and accessories. On top of running a creative and stylish business, a portion of the proceeds from every sale is donated to “She is Worth It,” a foundation dedicated to preventative awareness and education of child sex trafficking that Asya created. She is a senior at Arapahoe High School and plans to attend the University of Denver next year.
Emily Sorensen, from Creighton, Nebraska, owns 40 acres of land and rents 66 more acres to grow corn and soybeans at her farming business called Sorensen Farms. Emily uses all natural fertilizers that are safe for the environment and for the people handling them. In the summer, she takes care of daily operations for thirteen irrigation. Once her crops are harvested, Emily sells them locally. Emily is currently a senior at Creighton Community High School and plans to attend Northwestern College.
Richard Main of New Philadelphia, Ohio started his company, Man Cans, when his sister was doing a candle fundraiser and he wondered why there were not more manly scented candles. At the age of 13, Richard, ran with this idea and started producing candles, made out of soup cans, for men. Richard donates $.75 per sale to soup kitchens in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan as a way to give back to his community. Now a senior at New Philadelphia High School, Richard plans to attend St. Louis University next year.
Joseph Hamilton from Lancaster, New York started “Charlie and Checkers” to provide live, unique entertainment for people of all ages. Joseph created the business alongside his brother and they now perform a blend of comedy, magic, juggling, and music. The brothers have also performed for the homeless, disabled, and elderly as a way to give back to their community. Joseph is currently a senior at St. Mary’s High School and will attend Canisius College next year.
Samuel Hendren from Scottsdale, Arizona created Tech Gone Wild in 2011. Tech Gone Wild is an online business that specializes in selling electronic accessories at competitive prices and strategically targets young adults, ages 18 to 35, through marketing. Samuel has grown his company from an initial $250 to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales. He is currently a senior at Desert Mountain High School and plans to attend Arizona State University next year.
“NFIB congratulates this year’s winners for their tremendous accomplishments and hopes the scholarships will assist these young entrepreneurs as they continue on their paths towards successful futures,” Young added.
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.
A full list of this year’s winners, as well as past winners, is available here.
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.