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Lynchburg Chamber Launches Groundbreaking Entrepreneurship Program for Teens
Date:  10/17/2012
ArticleType:  Press Release

The Leadership Lynchburg program of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber is bringing the Young Entrepreneurs Academy to Virginia.  YEA! (Pronounced “YAY”)  is a ground-breaking program that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Think Shark Tank for teens!  Applications are being accepted now through November 12 from middle and high school students who are creative and want to live the American Dream of running their own business. 

Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. Complete with dynamic guest speakers from the local business community and exciting behind-the-scenes trips to local companies, the fun, projects-based YEA! approach empowers students to take charge of their futures in a profound way.

Your teen can be a part of the first class in the state of VA….right here in Lynchburg! Class runs from 5-8 p.m., on Tuesdays from December thru May 2013. See your teen start a business in 6 months! For more information on this once in a lifetime opportunity and to get an application, visit www.lynchburgchamber.org  Applications accepted through November 12 so don’t wait!

Why YEA?  Chamber Executive Vice President says that “YEA! provides something that will help us keep kids in school and equip them to be successful in the real world. We want to give kids the strong foundation they need.  By hearing from local, successful business owners on how to budget, develop a marketing and business plan to pitching to local investors, this program comprehensively ensures students are prepared for life and business. We want local kids to live the American dream and if we can create young entrepreneurs our economy and our world will be better for it!

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!’s 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. YEA! Inc., is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old in the United States.  The program is available to students at a variety of geographical regions and provides them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, please call 585.272.3535 or visit www.yeausa.org.

IMPACT:  The Academy has had profound positive effects on students, businesses, and communities all across the country. Since the program’s inception, over 400 businesses have been launched. Today, the program impacts over 90 communities in 13 states, bringing educational and business communities together to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation among today’s youth.

YEA! Fast Fact Snapshot:

•  100% of Academy Graduates Graduate High School on Time
•  99% of Academy Graduates Enroll in College
•  19% of YEA! Students Start Second Businesses
•  50% of YEA! Students Continue Business for More Than 1 Year
•  49% of YEA! Students are Female
•  56% of YEA! Students are Underrepresented Minorities
•  YEA! Students have been awarded over a half million dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
•  585 students have graduated from YEA! and have launched 416 enterprises.
•  7,300 business and community leaders have supported the students’ experiences as YEA! volunteers.

YEA! strengthens the community and the community strengthens 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!

Begin as a student and finish as a CEO!