LINCOLN, Neb., July 13, 2015—From a pool of 600 applicants nationally, out of which came NFIB’s Top 100 Young Entrepreneurs of 2015, only five remain as contestants for one of two top prizes of $15,000, and one is Emily Sorensen, a recent Creighton (Knox County) high school graduate preparing for Northwestern College.
On July 23 at a ceremony in Washington D.C., Sorensen of Creighton, a recent graduate of Creighton Community High School, who is guaranteed at least $5,000, will learn if she has captured the brass ring of a 2015 Dan Danner Leadership Award or the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, both worth $15,000. Another Nebraska high school senior, Michael Hanssen of Plymouth, was among the 100 winners of $1,000 awards, which wasannounced April 21.
The National Federation of Independent Business’ YEF scholarship program is 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.”
Sorensen works at Sorensen Farms. “In the summer, I take care of daily operations for 13 irrigation systems,” she said. “I also make sure the other employees have the parts they need. In the fall, I disc-harvested ground until it is no longer possible because of the weather.”
Since 2003, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation has awarded more than 2,600 scholarships totaling $2.6 million. This year, NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation awarded $145,000 to deserving young entrepreneurs. Each award is between $1,000 and $15,000. The scholarships are used to help with tuition costs for the winners’ post-secondary education.
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