Four Additional Teen Business Owners Capture National Award In Recognition of their Entrepreneurial Achievements
WASHINGTON, June 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For her work in helping to inspire the next generation of stage actors, Shayna Turk of Agoura Hills, California has been named the 2010 "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by the National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation and Visa Inc. Ms. Turk was chosen for this top honor from more than 4,300 nationwide candidates. In recognition of her achievements, Ms. Turk has been awarded a $10,000 educational scholarship to help defray the cost of her tuition at the University of Southern California.
Four additional students were named NFIB/Visa Inc. National Young Entrepreneur Award winners and will each receive a $5,000 educational scholarship. All five winners are being honored today at a special luncheon held at NFIB in Washington, D.C.
"This year's applicants demonstrate that entrepreneurial curiosity is thriving in high schools across America," said Terry LaPier, chair, NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Board of Directors. "Shayna's dedication to her theater camp and helping others is remarkable. We are pleased to congratulate Shayna and all of this year's outstanding young entrepreneurs. Our goal is that these scholarships will help young people gain the confidence required to run their own enterprises that create jobs and give back to our communities. We wish all of this year's winners the best of luck as they continue on their paths towards successful futures."
Shayna is the teenage director and founder of Shayna Turk's Academy of Rising Stars (STARS)
(www.dramastars.com), a musical theater camp which she started at age 11. The camp gives children, regardless of talent level, a chance to experience the thrill and excitement of stage performing. Acting since she was five years old, her inspiration for the camp grew after seeing younger children in her community get turned down for starring roles in local performances because of their age. Ms. Turk markets, produces, directs, choreographs and stages all of the shows put on by her camp. To date, she has produced nine different musicals over a six year period. Starting with just eight kids, STARS now has over 30 campers annually. Each camp puts on four performances of each show with approximately 100 people in attendance per show. Shayna also offers a one day a week and one weekend day enrichment program on a limited basis during the school year.
In addition to helping aspiring stage performers, STARS is also helping children in another way. All proceeds from her camp's performances are donated to Music for Heart, a charity founded by the parents of one of her campers born with a congenital heart disease. Music for Heart raises funds for children who suffer from congenital heart disease, and the funds go toward sponsoring cardio-thoracic medical missions to third world countries where cardiac care is unavailable.
To date, STARS has raised $10,000 for Music for Heart, which in turn has helped save the lives of six children.
"Small business owners are the backbone of our economy and Shayna and all of this year's National Young Entrepreneur Award winners should be proud, not only for their entrepreneurial achievements, but for the important contributions they are making to the economy," said Raghav Lal, Head of Global Small Business Products, Visa Inc. "We are proud of our longstanding and continued partnership with NFIB, a partnership that is helping to give both entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs the tools, resources and encouragement necessary to succeed."
Visa's sponsorship of the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards program is part of its comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility program, which focuses on bringing more people into the formal financial system through Visa's payments expertise, historic commitment to financial literacy and focused philanthropic efforts. As part of these efforts, Visa supports the important role that entrepreneurs play in creating opportunities for others while helping communities achieve greater prosperity and self-sufficiency.
"Starting and running a business definitely has its challenges, but the rewards make it worth it, especially since I feel that I have been able to have a positive impact on the lives of young people, especially those in need," said Ms. Turk. "I want to thank both NFIB and Visa for recognizing my achievements. It is truly an honor," Turk added.
The NFIB/Visa Inc. "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award is given annually to the top applicant in the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Awards program, sponsored by NFIB's Young Entrepreneur Foundation. To earn a scholarship, students were asked to demonstrate their entrepreneurial achievement by answering a short, personal questionnaire defining their efforts. Standardized test scores, GPA and class rank were also taken into consideration.
The four other winners of the NFIB/Visa Inc. National Young Entrepreneur Award will each receive a $5,000 scholarship. They are:
- Austin Hochstatter of Austin, Texas: Mr. Hochstatter turned his love of film into Watch Your Head Productions (www.watchyourheadproductions.com), a film and video production company that provides comprehensive on site production and post production solutions. In just a nine month period, Watch Your Head Productions has secured 13 paying clients.
- David Conway of Wilton, Connecticut: Mr. Conway is the founder of CoolCash Coins, (www.coolcashcoins.com) a coin appraisal business. He started the business in 2007 as a way to encourage the collection of and investment in U.S. coins and currency. Cool Cash Coins' client base continues to grow, and David continues to generate income by investing company revenue into stocks and precious metals. David also donates his appraisal services to several non-profit organizations, including UNICEF.
- Ian Purkayastha of Fayetteville, Arkansas: Mr. Purkayastha is the founder of Tartufi Unlimited (www.tartufiunlimited.com), a truffle importing company that sells fresh Italian and French truffles to fine restaurants, caterers and specialty distributors nationwide. His first truffle order netted a 300 percent profit. Since signing a contract with a reputable Italian truffle supplier, Ian has seen his company's sales grow.
- Jake Detwiler of Marysville, Ohio: Mr. Detwiler is the founder of Mitchells Farm-Jake's Division (http://www.mitchellsberries.com/), an expansion of his parents owned and operated U-Pick raspberry farm. In 2006, Jake took out a $5,000 Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan to expand his parents' farm by planting 5,000 black raspberry plants on two-and-a-half acres rented from his grandfather. Jake has also added strawberries to the farm's product line. Since taking out the FSA loan, Jake sold 1,380 pounds of black raspberries in 2008 and 2,090 pounds in 2009. As a result of this success, Jake is looking to add different fruits to the farm's product line and started planting plasticulture strawberries as part of a test experiment.
This is the seventh consecutive year Visa has been the primary corporate sponsor of the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Young Entrepreneur Awards Program. Since 2003, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation has awarded 2,095 Young Entrepreneur Award Scholarships valued at $2.3 million.
The National Federation of Independent Business Young Entrepreneur Foundation, in partnership with Visa, also manages an online curriculum to teach budding entrepreneurs the basics of how to start a business. Teachers can download the free program from the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation's Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom programs, which are available at www.NFIB.com/EITC.
About NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation
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 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 sends 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.
About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks -- VisaNet -- that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
SOURCE National Federation of Independent Business and Visa Inc.