Would You Start Your Small Business Today? We Know 100 Who Would

A survey conducted by NFIB and the National Association of Manufacturers last year revealed a startling statistic: 55 percent of small-business owners said they would not start a business today given the current economic and political environment. Job creators like you are some of the nation’s most optimistic and fearless citizens; when you’re feeling cautious, it gives the rest of us reason for concern about the future of our economy.

But there are at least 100 young American entrepreneurs who refuse to let today’s nasty political and economic environment prevent them from living the American Dream. These gutsy high school students have taken the plunge, and their efforts have earned them NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation (YEF) tuition-assistance scholarships.

Five of those honored by the foundation have each received $5,000 prizes—one of whom has just been named the 2013 Young Entrepreneur of the Year—a title that bestows an additional award, boosting the total to $10,000. And 95 others are enjoying $1,000 scholarships to assist in college tuition costs. To qualify for YEF scholarships, applicants must be high school seniors and own and operate a small firm.

Among the top five is Adam Cline of Bettendorf, Iowa, who knows that if his new pet- and house-care business is to survive and thrive, he cannot operate like the federal government—he must balance his books and not spend more than he takes in.

The same goes for Wesley Cossick of Spring, Texas, whose website-development and graphic-design company is humming right along, delivering Internet-design services to large and small firms around the nation.

Andrew Miles of Silver Lake, Oregon, has found his niche with a start-up agricultural business that specializes in baling hay for local farmers, while Bennett Queen of Bridgeport, West Virginia, is building an online digital-photography enterprise, offering images captured during local social, civic and athletic events.

And in Del Ray Beach, Florida, YEF Young Entrepreneur of the Year Shea Gouldd is literally rolling in the dough. She’s turning out lots of the gourmet baked goods that have boosted her small bakery’s reputation as a leading confectionery in that city.

These outstanding young people exemplify the mission of the Young Entrepreneur Foundation, established to raise awareness among America’s youth about the critical role private enterprise and entrepreneurship play in the nation’s economy. They were selected from more than 500 student applicants and will use the scholarships to attend educational institutions of their choice.

While Main Street’s lack of optimism about future business conditions chills us, it isn’t freezing out the next generation of risk-takers.

Like true small-business owners who possess a strong entrepreneurial spirit, these confident, courageous young scholarship winners launched their businesses because they believe the American free-enterprise system offers opportunity even during difficult times.

Like you, they have a drive to succeed that has served America well through good days and bad. Let’s congratulate them and welcome them to the community that proudly says, “Yes, I own my own small business.”

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About Dan Danner

Donald A. "Dan" Danner was named president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's leading small business association, in February, 2009. Danner is only the sixth president in the history of the organization. Before rising to the top spot, Danner was executive vice president, overseeing NFIB's federal and state public policy and political activities as well as the organization's three 501 (c) 3 operations: the Research Foundation, Small Business Legal Center and the Young Entrepreneur Foundation. He came to NFIB in 1993 as vice president of the NFIB Education Foundation (now known as the Young Entrepreneur Foundation) and was named vice president of federal public policy in 1995. Previously, he was chief of staff to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Danner also worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison, where he was special assistant to the president and deputy director of the department. Before joining the White House staff, Danner was an executive with Armco Inc., a steel manufacturing company. He held leadership positions in sales and marketing, as well as state and federal lobbying on issues such as energy, environment, taxes and trade. He also served four years as vice president of federal relations at George Mason University. A native of Middletown, Ohio, Danner holds an MBA degree from Xavier University and an electrical engineering degree from Purdue University.
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One Response to Would You Start Your Small Business Today? We Know 100 Who Would

  1. 2ssimington says:

    This post inspired me. I may not be as young as these winners but I am not giving up. Thank you.

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