Streetwear Clothing Company Founder Receives NASE’s Future Entrepreneur College Scholarship
Washington, D.C., July 8, 2009 -- For twenty years, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) has provided budding entrepreneurs with a means to success through its college scholarship program. This year is no exception, with a scholarship worth up to $24,000 going to Joe Pielago, a Los Angeles streetwear designer.
The NASE's Future Entrepreneur award is the only one of its kind devoted to fostering entrepreneurship in college-bound students. Joe receives $12,000 towards his education for the first year, and he can renew it up to three more times for $4,000 each year as long as he maintains certain academic standards.
Joe recently graduated from Palos Verdes High School in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., and will use his scholarship to study business at the University of San Francisco this fall.
“This scholarship helps me so much,” Joe says. “I knew . . . my high school education would not provide me with enough of a background to meet my ambitions. I knew that I needed to attend college. After researching what colleges had to offer, I decided I needed to be a business major with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship.”
At the University of San Francisco, Joe intends to continue the business that qualified him for the NASE Future Entrepreneur scholarship – Volia Los Angeles.
Volia is a line of hats and T-shirts that combine the hip-hop, skateboard craze and urban lifestyle that are part of the Southern California culture for teens in the 21st century. The company has four employees, including Joe’s brother, Jeff, 15, who’s the venture’s top salesman and Joe’s lifelong friend D.J. Vilicich, who helped co-found Voila.
Joe’s father, Rick, is an NASE Member who owns his own CPA practice. The NASE scholarship program started in 1989 for dependents of NASE Members. In addition to the flagship Future Entrepreneur scholarship, the NASE also awards multiple $4,000 merit-based scholarships. In 2009, the NASE awarded these to 18 deserving students.
In honor of the program’s 20th anniversary, NASE Chief Operating Officer Keith Hall and Executive Director of Communications Maureen Petron traveled to Rancho Palos Verdes to present Joe with his award.
“Joe embodies the reason the NASE started the scholarship program 20 years ago,” Hall said. “Inspired by his small-business owner father, Joe had an idea, saw a market need, and created a company that he cares passionately about. We’re proud to reward that kind of ambition.”
Find out more about the NASE scholarship program, or log into your member account to apply online.
About the NASE
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, bringing a broad range of benefits to help entrepreneurs succeed and to drive the continued growth of this vital segment of the American economy. The NASE is a 501(c) (6) nonprofit organization and provides big-business advantages to hundreds of thousands of micro-businesses across the United States. For more information, visit the association's Web site at www.nase.org.