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Q. What is the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)?

A. YEA! is a fun and exciting class that guides middle and high school students through the process of starting their own REAL business or nonprofit organization, and teaches them how to make a job – not just take a job! Students learn as much about self-esteem, personal potential and leadership skills as they do about budgeting, planning and production, and have an opportunity to work directly with, and learn from business leaders in each local community that YEA! serves. This program allows 11-18 year olds to start as students and graduate as CEOs!

Q. What do students do in YEA!?

A. Yea! students do everything that an adult would do who is starting a real business – everything is experiential! They go through the process of identifying and finessing their big idea, writing a formal business plan, presenting their plan to a live panel of investors for their start-up capital funding, and then actually launching their business! From registering their DBAs to filing tax returns, YEA! students do everything an adult would do who is their own real business.

Q. How long has the program existed?

A. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy began with one class at the University of Rochester in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! is expanding nationwide to help students across our country launch and live the American Dream!

Q. What percentage of YEA! students graduate high school, and attend college?

A. 100% of YEA! graduates graduate high school on time and 95% of those eligible enroll in secondary education.

Q. Who are YEA! students?

A. Successful YEA! students are dedicated, focused, and passionate about business. They have a drive to succeed and are energetic and enthusiastic. 49% of YEA! students are female and 56% are underrepresented minorities.

Q. What is the goal of the program?

A. YEA!’s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship and social innovation as synonymous with success and freedom.

Q. How are the classes structured?

A. Throughout the course and curriculum, students receive weekly instruction on various matters relating to the process of starting and running a business or social movement. Students are faced with all the components of starting a successful business, which includes financing, marketing, and selling the product or service idea. Students also benefit from an array of local entrepreneurs as guest speakers who present on various entrepreneurial related topics linked to specific lessons, and students as a class take field trips to local businesses seeing the real-world application of what they’re learning in the classroom.

Q. What role does the community play in YEA!?

A. YEA! strengthens the community and the community strengths YEA!. Students are able to network with and develop relationships with local business leaders, create jobs, and launch businesses in their own backyard. Students see that they can make a difference within the communities in which they live. The enthusiasm and success of the students are empowering for the entire community!
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