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YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester with support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.  Today, the Academy is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and since its inception in 2004, several thousand students nationwide have participated in YEA! 

Launching in Summer 2023 the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting afterschool program that transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs.  Through the six-month program, students in grades 6 - 8 work closely with local business leaders to cultivate and research business ideas, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, obtain funding, develop their brand and launch their business or social movement.  They may also compete for cash prizes.  By learning entrepreneurial skills before they exit high school, the students develop not only the business and social skills so often attributed to entrepreneurship, but the mindset that will help them achieve success, and bring innovation to, all their future endeavors.  

Kids with Backpacks

The twenty-week curriculum is provided by the Academy and the classes are taught by local business professionals.  YEA! functions as an after-school club, meeting three hours per week. The initial program will be based at Washington Middle School and up to 16 students may participate each year. 

Over the course of the YEA! program, students will actually launch their own legally formed business or social movement from the ground up, using in-class lessons, guest speakers, business mentors, and field trips to local businesses and nonprofit organizations.  

Skills They'll Learn:

Idea Development

SEO Skills


Business Plan Creation

Social Media Marketing

Business Taxes

Public Speaking

Business Banking

Obtain Funding

Manage Campaigns

Entity Creation

Run Sales Events

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