The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is an innovative program that guides students through the process of starting their own real business. The Grapevine Chamber is excited to announce the start of the YEA! program at Grapevine Colleyville ISD.
YEA! is a groundbreaking program that takes students between the ages of 11 and 18 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 excited about the expansion and specifically chose the Grapevine Colleyville ISD because of its reputation for academic excellence,” said Gayle Jagel, the CEO and founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the University of Rochester and currently operates YEA! sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.
“We are so excited to be able to advance the business education of middle and high school students through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Our goal is to eventually provide a unique and challenging experience for all students interested in participating,” said RaDonna Hessel, Chamber President.
The program requires a nine-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.
“We are thrilled to have the chance to give our students this unique opportunity,” said Superintendent Dr. Robin Ryan. “Not only will our students gain hands-on experience in entrepreneurship, they will also learn the skills to help contribute to the local economy wherever they go. This is a huge step for our LEAD 2021 strategic plan as we develop students to be productive members of our community."
“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!” exclaims Angela Mitcham, Immediate Past Chairman of the Grapevine Chamber and Vice President and Hotel Manager of the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Convention Center. “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.”
“The entire community is really excited by how well the beginning of the class has gone so far and the potential the program has to strengthen the Albany district,” adds Jagel. “We are urging all local business leaders to become involved with the program and act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs. 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."