The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is an innovative program that guides students through the process of starting their own real business.
The River Region Chamber of Commerce has announced the start of the YEA! program that is open to students in St. Charles, James and John Parishes in grades 6-12.
YEA! is a groundbreaking program that takes students between the ages of 11 and 18 in grades 6-12 through the process of starting a launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried after their graduation from the program. YEA! aims at teaching students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester with support from The Kauffman Foundation.
"We are so excited to be able to advance the business education of middle and high school students through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. We feel the River Region is full of young entrepreneurs who are ready to start a business," said Chassity McComack, Executive Director.
The program requires a eight-month commitment from its young executives. In that time they brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to potential investors, obtain funding, register their companies with governmental agencies, and actually launch their own company or social movement. Business mentors, graphic designers and local entrepreneurs support the students throughout the program and all of the learning is real and experiential.
"One of the most interesting components of the program is the actual behind the scenes knowledge the students are given from local business leaders, who were at one time, standing in their shoes,"Henry Friloux, Chamber Chairman, said. "The experience is something they will be able to apply to whatever field they choose to enter, thereby giving them the necessary skills to become future leaders of industry."
Buddy Boe, a public relations consultant and civic leader, was chosen by the Chamber Board to lead the program.
"I am looking forward to helping these future business owners turn their idea into a reality. The program is filled with exciting experiences and we are hoping the entire River Region will support our young entrepreneurs," Boe said.
"We are urging all local business leaders to become involved with the program and act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs," McComack said.
By partnering with YEA!, both large and small companies/businesses volunteer their time and services acting as business mentors, field trip hosts, guest lecturers, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys, etc. Community support strengthens the program and the academy strengthens the community.
About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy:
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job-not just take a job. YEA!ís direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. In 2008, YEA! "spun-off" from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation.
Participants in YEA! begin as a student and finish as CEOs.