Despite their son’s lack of sleep, Alan and Barbara Sohn are proud of his accomplishments, the way he handles himself in the business world, and how others view him and he’s only 18.
Andrew Sohn, who created the media marketing company Acend Productions two years ago, won a $5,000 award and was named the ‘006 Northeast Regional Winner of the National Federation of Independent Business/Visa USA Young Entrepreneur Award last week.
Young biz whiz gets scholarship
The young entrepreneur, who recently graduated from The Frisch School in Paramus, creates promotional videos such as one he produced in February for Yeshivat Netivaryeh in Israel to use at its annual fund-raising banquet in New York. Sohn started Acend when he was 16, a process he described as "a natural progression" from his previous Website work. Among other projects, three years ago he designed the database used at Teaneckinfo.com, which now lists more than 5,500 area events annually.
For the past four years, NFIB has distributed scholarships to entrepreneurial teens who run their own businesses, said Hank Kopcial, the executive director of NFIB’s Young Entrepreneur Foundation. Of more than 1,500 applicants this year, the organization presented awards to 416, naming one "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" and singling out four regional winners such as Sohn. Since ‘003, NFIB has awarded 1,115 scholarships totaling $1.18 million. This year’s "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award went to 18-year-old Ashley Gunn of Brandon, Miss., who founded a non-profit business that buys, renovates, and sells abandoned homes to families in need.
"Our interest is to encourage young people to consider careers in business," Kopcial said. "Most young people today know of someone, maybe even a family member, that has lost a job from big business. They see running their own business as a more secure business than going to work for Fortune 100 companies. We’re trying to encourage them to consider that."
Sohn, who will attend Rutgers University in the fall, will continue running his business while in college though his parents are concerned that balancing his corporate work and his schoolwork, as he did in high school, could once again leave him with "disturbingly little sleep," said his father, Alan Sohn.
Previously, it would have been nearly impossible for somebody Andrew’s age to accomplish so much, his father said, but thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, his son can now effectively compete with people twice his age.
"It’s a tremendously maturing factor for him to be treated not only as a teenager but as a businessperson," said Sohn of his son. Both he and his wife have great respect for this, he said.
Andrew Sohn will use the $5,000 award for his education at Rutgers, where he will major in business. Although still a few years away, Andrew already has plans for what he will do after college graduation. "I definitely hope I can grow my business up to a point where I can take it fulltime and have it as my career," Sohn said.
For more information on the Young Entrepreneur scholarship program, go to www.nfib.com/yef.