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YEA! coming to the Peninsula this fall

6/4/2014, 3:35 p.m.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an innovative program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial successes. YEA! is excited to announce its plans for piloting this groundbreaking program on the Virginia Peninsula in the fall of 2014.

“We at Hampton Roads Academy are very excited about the prospects for our students in the Youth Entrepreneur Academy! Any time a student can get a clearer vision of the future and how to get there is an opportunity not to be missed. And the fact that the program also creates local businesses makes it a win-win for everybody!” said Ben Rous, Hampton Roads Academy.

YEA! is a cutting-edge program that takes students between the ages of 11 and 18 through the process of starting and 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 on after their graduation from the program. YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job. It is the ONLY pre-college program developed by an entrepreneur, at a university, with support from a major entrepreneurial foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“Poquoson City Public Schools is excited to participate in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy because it will offer our students a unique learning opportunity which will help prepare them for a future in business.”, Jennifer Parish, Poquoson City Public Schools’ Superintendent, said. “The students will be engaged in real-life experiences and will interact with members of the peninsula business community in a variety of ways.”

“We are excited about launching this expansion and specifically chose the Virginia Peninsula because of its reputation for academic excellence,” said Gayle Jagel, the CEO and Founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Jagel developed the YEA! program in 2004, while serving as the Director of the Office of Special Programs at the University of Rochester. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the University to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc. The program is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.

“Students on the Virginia Peninsula are well-equipped to succeed in this nine-month program as shown through their dedication to academic success and engagement in student body and community activities.” says Bridgette Adams, of Newport News Public Schools, who attended our information session about YEA! While in YEA!, students will brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to real investors, obtain funding, file their DBAs, and by the end, actually launch their own business or social movement! Business mentors, graphic designers, and local entrepreneurs will support the students throughout the process and engage them in a real, professional environment.

“We greatly appreciate what YEA! will bring to the students in our community, the leaders of our future. The program will not only provide classes and practical work experience with professionals, but it will also teach participants how to live and breathe as a real entrepreneur,” said Mike Kuhns, President of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber Foundation. “Our local business leaders, who were one time standing in their shoes, are able to offer students relatable insights from their own paths to success!”

“The entire community is really excited about the school’s plans to promote student involvement,” adds Jagel, “We encourage all local business leaders to become involved with the program and to act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs.” By partnering with YEA!, both large and small businesses can volunteer their time as business mentors, field trip hosts, guest lecturers, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys, and more. Community support greatly strengthens the program, and the academy strengthens the community.