I was looking at different career paths — I wanted to be a teacher or a psychologist — and then I thought, ‘what about the business field?’ My school has an entrepreneurship program and at the end of the program, you do a two-minute pitch in front of judges. They chose me to go to the NFTE competition… then I won! The prize was $12,000!

—Jose Rodriguez, Jr.
  • Inspired by his younger brother Joel, who has autism, Jose created a solution for people with autism and ADHD who need an outlet for their anxiety or hyperactivity.
  • He founded Tasium (anagram of autism), a clothing company with fidget-infused apparel.
  • He won NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in 2020, was chosen as one of People Magazine’s Teens Changing the World in 2021, and received a four-year full tuition scholarship to Babson College.
  • The brothers’ story has been told on Inside Edition, in the Boston Globe, in Autism Parenting magazine, and during a Boston Celtics game.

As a junior in a Rhode Island high school, Jose understood difficult things in life, such as overcoming poverty and assuring his younger brother received proper special education services in school.

Jose founded and continues to operate Tasium. The thriving company was an idea inspired by his younger brother Joel, who has autism.

Jose wanted to be a part of making life better for those on the autism and ADHD spectrums, so for his junior year entrepreneurship class he created a fidget-infused apparel line as an outlet for their stress, anxiety or hyperactivity. No more missing fidgets and the associated frustration! His first product was a T-shirt with a discreetly attached and completely interchangeable fidget toy.

In 2020, he won NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge with his business plan pitch for Tasium, earning $12,000. He invested in the next phases of his business―from working on a patent and increasing production, to contemplating a line of accessories. Jose was also awarded the EY Youth Entrepreneur of the Year scholarship and was chosen to speak at the 2021 EY Strategic Growth Forum.

Jose now attends Babson College, the top-ranked entrepreneurship institution, on a four-year scholarship and donates some proceeds from his business to organizations with missions connected to autism.