Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

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.  The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce is excited to be introducing YEA! to the Lima/Allen Community! YEA! guides 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 2013, YEA! has graduated 1,394 students who have started over 1,000 businesses and social movements!  YEA! graduates started as students, and left the program as CEOs of their own companies!

Academy starts November 13th 2018!!


Over the course of the program, students:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Interact with business professionals
  • Pitch their business plan to potential “investors” (think ABC’s “Shark Tank”!)
  • Obtain funding
  • Legally register their businesses
  • Participate in a Trade Show
  • Actually launch their own businesses or social movements

Why Apply?
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.

Organization of Program
YEA! classes will meet every Tuesday & Thursday, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.   November 14th – February 2018 at UNOH Student Commons building.  Orientation is Monday, November 13th, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in room 13000 at UNOH Student Commons Building rooms 13100 & 13101.    

Applications will be accepted from students in grades 6-12.  There are no classes during regular school holidays. Students are taught by an instructor, and 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 (Shark Tank), Trade Show and a formal graduation ceremony.

Student Selection Process
To apply for YEA!, students must:

  • Fill out the application
  • Complete the essay and the short answer questions within the application
  • Submit their most recent grade card or unofficial transcript
  • Submit a letter of recommendation
  • Scholarship Forms

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!

How Business Professionals Can Get Involved
Through their interactions with business professionals during the year, YEA! students gain some of the most important knowledge and experience they need to succeed. Local professionals volunteer their time and expertise as guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and much more. The time YEA! students spend with adults who encourage their futures is invaluable, and participants often report getting even more out of their participation than they put in to it!

Sponsorship Forms

If you are interested in becoming involved with YEA! as a guest speaker, field trip host, or volunteer, contact Nicole Scott at 419-222-6045 or email


A big thank you to our program sponsors, who have helped bring YEA! to Lima/Allen County.