Applications sought for NFIB scholarships

Applications will be accepted through Dec. 18 for college scholarships offered through the National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation.

High school seniors who run their own business and plan to attend a two- or four-year vocational institute, college or university starting in the fall of 2016 are eligible to apply.

“These ambitious young business owners continue to impress us with their innovation, spirit and work ethic each year,” said Molly Young, director of the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation. “It is so important that we support tomorrow’s business leaders and encourage them to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams.”

The scholarships recognize high school seniors who’ve demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and initiative through having established and run their own businesses. The goal of the program is to raise awareness among youth of the role private enterprise and entrepreneurship play in the United States economy.

As an added bonus this year, Visa has agreed to double the awards. Ninety five scholarship winners will receive $2,000 awards, while five students will be selected as Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists. The finalists will qualify for the two top scholarship awards and attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C., where the winners will be named. The Young Entrepreneur of the Year recipient will receive $25,000, the Dan Danner Leadership Award winner will receive $15,000 and the remaining three finalists will each receive $10,000.

“The increase in the amount of money we will be providing to young entrepreneurs across the country shows NFIB’s and Visa’s commitment to supporting youth entrepreneurship and the future of small business,” Young said,

An independent selection committee will review all applications and select semi-finalists. Semi-finalists will be notified by mid-January. Semi-finalists must be interviewed by an NFIB member who will be assigned to each semi-finalist. The award recipients are selected by an independent scholarship organization. Scholarships are based on merit, not financial need.

Since 2003, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation has awarded more than 2,700 scholarships totaling $2.7 million. Last year, the foundation awarded a total of $145,000 to 100 students.

For additional information about the program, visit www.nfib.com/YEF.