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The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a year-long program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own REAL businesses.  


YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation.  


YEA! guides middle & high school students through the process of starting and running a legitimate business or social movement over the course of a full academic year.


As of 2018, YEA! has graduated over 10,000 students who have started over 5,000 businesses!!


YEA! graduates started as students, and left the program as CEOs of their own companies!


This program offers students the chance to:

  • Develop the skills necessary to launch their own business or social movement (hands-on entrepreneurial experience!)

  • Learn about real businesses - why they succeed or fail.

  • Hear from local entrepreneurs.

  • Launch their own business or social movement!

  • Become more confident in their ideas and their abilities.





Applications are accepted from students b/w the ages of 11 & 18 ( approx Grade 6 thru Senior Yr of HS )

There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses.

Students are taught by an instructor, but are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and business mentors. The class goes on field trips to a variety of local businesses.

Finally, the students participate in three major events throughout the year: the Investor Panel, Trade Show and a formal graduation ceremony.


To apply for YEA!, students must:

  • Fill out the YEA! application

  • Complete the essay and the short answer questions

  • Submit a letter of recommendation

Once the completed application packet is received, students will be asked to come in for an interview. Acceptance in the program is based on all aspects of an application, as well as the personal interview. Prior experience with business is not required!

Why Apply?

Organization of the Program

Student Selection Process

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