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YEA! – Young Entrepreneurs Academy

  1. Background on Program
    1. Background on Keene State College Partnership
    2. Why Apply?
    3. Organization of Program
    4. Student Selection Process
    5. How Business Professionals Can Get Involved
    6. Sponsors

To apply or for more information, call (585) 429-0562 or email Jake Nonweiler

Background on Program

Young Entrepreneurs Academy

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. Keene State College is excited to be introducing YEA! to the Keene 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 2014, YEA! has graduated 2,298 students who have started over 1,700 businesses and social movements! YEA! graduates started as students, and left the program as CEOs of their own companies!

Background on Keene State College Partnership

As the founding partner for New Hampshire, Keene State College is working with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) and the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce to expand its support for the economic, cultural, and civic wellbeing of our region and state. Keene State is interested in developing the program throughout the state. Keene State College, YEA! and the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce are connecting the region’s middle and high school students with business and community leaders to help students develop their talents and entrepreneurship education before attending college and entering the workforce.

Keene State College is dedicated to providing its students with real-world work experiences before graduating. The Keene State College YEA! partnership expands on this commitment, offering middle and high school students the opportunity to create their own businesses and organizations through collaboration with business and community leaders in the Monadnock Region. Keene State College is dedicated to the personal growth of its students. Through the Keene State College YEA! partnership, Keene State will broaden its support by helping middle and high school students in the Monadnock Region to think critically, act creatively, and serve the greater good.

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 November to May, for three hours weekly. Applications will be accepted from students in grades 6-12.

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.

Student Selection Process

To apply for YEA! students must:

  • Fill out the YEA! application
  • Complete the essay and the short answer questions
  • Submit their transcripts
  • 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!

Download Application

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! 
 If you are interested in becoming involved with YEA! as a guest speaker, fieldtrip host, or volunteer, call or email Jake Nonweiler (585-429-0562).

Sponsors

A big thank you to our founding sponsors, who have helped bring YEA! to Keene.

Keene State College
Keene Chamber of Commerce

For more information, call 585-429-0562 or email Jake Nonweiler