The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an exciting after school program that transforms local middle and high school girls into real entrepreneurial success stories. The Academy is replacing business simulation with real company launches and job creation.
YEA! is a cutting-edge program that takes girls 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.
“We are excited about launching this expansion and specifically chose the Detroit Area 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 introducing sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.
Students in the area are already heavily involved in student-body activities and pride themselves on hard work, which bodes well for the program, since it requires a nine-month commitment from its young executives. In this time, 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 and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries will support the students throughout the program. All of the learning is real and experiential.
“One of the most interesting components of the YEA! program is the actual ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge that local business leaders are able to share with students,” said Carol Kirkland, 2016 Director of YEA! Detroit. “This experience is something they will be able to apply to any field they choose to enter, and will provide them with the necessary skills to become future leaders of their industries.”