USF freshman and streetwear clothing company founder Joe Pielago was named Future Entrepreneur for 2009 by the National Association for the Self-Employed. A business major focusing on entrepreneurship at the School of Business and Professional Studies, Pielago has been awarded up to $24,000 to put toward his education as part of the NASE prize.
“It was kind of like a movie,” said Pielago, a Los Angeles native who founded VOILA Los Angeles in January 2008. “I didn’t really believe it until they showed up with a huge check for me.”
VOILA specializes in T-shirts and hats with a hip-hop flair favored by skateboarders and young urbanites.
An admitted eccentric who prefers to be his own boss, Pielago, 18, chose USF because of the its strong emphasis on entrepreneurship. The university is among the top-25 ranked schools in the nation for “most entrepreneurial campuses,” according to Forbes magazine and The Princeton Review. “Plus, San Francisco is a big player in the street clothing industry,” Pielago said.