National Association Awards $28K in Growth Grants Supporting America’s Record-Setting Growth in the Small Business Community


National Association Awards $28K in Growth Grants Supporting America’s Record-Setting Growth in the Small Business Community

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National Association for the Self-Employed, in Collaboration with AARP and DELL Small Business, Provides Financial Grants to Support Small Businesses in California, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin

DALLAS, TX – As our nation’s small business community continues its record-breaking surge of new business openings for a third-consecutive year, the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), the nation’s leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-business community, announced today $28,000 in Growth Grants to seven local small businesses for the first quarter of 2024.  Today’s announcement also includes three Growth Grant awards sponsored by AARP and one by DELL Small Business.

“Our nation’s small business community, including self-employed and micro-businesses, are the essential fuel for America’s economic engine.  Over the course of the last few years, the American small business community has experienced a surge of new small businesses opening and expanding.  These new entrepreneurs represent the true spirit of America’s resilience and determination. We are proud to do our part in supporting our community’s  expansion and growth,” said John Hearrell, NASE Vice President of Membership and Affiliate Programs.  “From each side of Main Street to every corner of America, small businesses are delivering unique goods and services to their customers. Since 1989, our mission is built on the cornerstone of supporting these businesses to grow and succeed. With support from AARP and DELL Small Business, it’s an honor to make an investment of $4,000 in each of these Growth Grant recipients, bringing our total grant awards to over $1 million since the program’s inception.”

In 2023 with the support of AARP, DELL Small Business and Payanywhere, NASE awarded $112,000 in total grants to 28 small businesses to support their efforts to improve, grow and expand business operations.  This year, NASE will continue to award grants throughout the year hoping to increase them even more.

The recipients of the first quarter 2024 NASE Growth Grants are:

  • Remarkable Academic Foods, located in Albany, NY, owned by NASE member Joshua Miller, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Remarkable Academic Foods aims to elevate academic foodservice by prioritizing high-quality programs that cater to the student's desires while improving the experiences for the dedicated individuals "behind the scenes" who tirelessly provide exceptional food and service. Joshua intends to use the funds to execute a targeted marketing campaign, as well to help with sending unique mailings including the handwriting, preparing, and mailing of envelopes to new school contacts.
  • Tea Bath Products, located in Las Vegas, NV, owned by NASE member Sara Pastore, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Tea Bath Products creates luxurious bath products mixing sea salts, cleansing herbs, botanicals and light essential oils. Sara intends to use the funds to grow her business and sales through media outreach, advertising, marketing fees and certification fees.
  • Wellness West, located in Waukesha, WI, owned by NASE member Amy Gurka, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Wellness West is a mental health clinic where clients feel comfortable engaging, and clinicians are able to perform at their best. Amy intends to use the funds for additional testing equipment and help defray the costs for students, who need these for obtaining clinical hours for their certification.


The following Growth Grants are sponsored by AARP.

  • Pirro’s Pizza, located in San Francisco, CA, owned by NASE member Corinne Pusawong, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Pirro’s specializes in Sicilian pizza brought over from Sicily by the original restaurant founder, Mr. Fred E. Pirro, in 1954. Corrine intends to use the funds for updates to the property, including the roof and patio, to ensure the health and safety of its customers.
  • Opilio, located in Chula Vista, CA, owned by NASE member Jeremiah Joseph, awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Opilio was founded in 2023, with a vision to help companies harness the value of structural biology efficiently and economically. Jeremiah intends to use the funds to purchase two essential computer workstations. The workstations are necessary to process X-ray Crystallography and Cryogenic Microscopy data in a timely manner, to keep pace with client needs.
  • Le Decorant, located in Williamsport, PA, owned by NASE member Aurora LeBlanc, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Le Decorant creates unique cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other pastries for any occasion. Aurora intends to use the funds to purchase new equipment. The purpose for these is to expand the capacity of production and diversify into items other than decorated cakes and cupcakes.


The following Growth Grant is sponsored by DELL Small Business.

  • Happy Tails Dog Training, located in Grand Rapids, MI, owned by NASE member Melissa Simpson, was awarded a NASE Growth Grant in the first quarter of 2024. Happy Tails Dog Training trains dogs using force-free methods and solutions that are effective, useful, and provide dogs with the skills necessary to be successful members of households. Melissa intends to use the funds to expand her marketing and advertising capabilities, including hiring a marketing team to amplify her business message and increase her client base.

For the last 40 years, NASE’s focus has been on finding the most effective way to bolster success for small business and self-employed members in communities across the country.  NASE’s Growth Grant Program is intended for businesses planning to take the next step in their venture.  It provides available capital for small businesses and sole proprietors to be able to hire and train additional employees, market their business in new and existing ways or invest in new equipment or software. 

Applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year and winning small businesses will be awarded $4,000 grants each quarter throughout 2024.  Visit the Growth Grant page for more information.

NASE members also enjoy a comprehensive list of benefits designed to help small business owners and sole proprietors start and grow their business.  A complete listing of benefits available to NASE members is available, here.  NASE members are offered a host of resources designed to help support entrepreneurs and small employers including access to professional “Ask the Experts” services in tax, health care and marketing, a navigational assistant health care portal, scholarships and grants, discounts on shipping rates and office supplies, and affordable email marketing systems and webhosting services. NASE’s newest member benefits continue the tradition of providing real-world, bottom-line assistance to small business owners.  To become a member of NASE, apply online here.



The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is the nation's leading advocate and resource for the self-employed and micro-businesses, offering 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 NextBizThing helps identify and connect our nation’s smallest businesses. Need small business help? Check out NASE’s Ask the Experts for advice or the NASE Minute for small business support.

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 website at

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