Our Vision is to be a leader in establishing innovative, experiential entrepreneurship programs for middle and high school students, delivering these programs through colleges and universities, and in high schools and middle schools throughout the country. In close cooperation with local community and business leaders and their organizations, we partner with like-minded organizations to effectively deliver entrepreneurship education to young people across our nation. YEA! provides a focused introduction to the business world, combining a dynamic, proven curriculum with the experiences of local leaders of industry, community members, educators and entrepreneurs. The goal of all YEA! classes is for each student to successfully launch their own business. Here, YEA! Chicago student Lauren Robinson demonstrates the power of a great idea turned into reality, wininng 3rd place at the Saunders Scholarship national competition in Rochester, NY in 2017 for her mobil app called Foodvie. Lauren won a $20,000 scholarship!
Develop and deliver experience-based entrepreneurship programs to young people to:
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting program that transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Through the year-long program, students in grades 6-12 generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies.
This life-changing program positively impacts the entire community. From exciting local business guest lecturers to dynamic field trips to local companies, students learn how to develop and run a real enterprise in a fun, projects-based approach. Here, the students of the Class of 2019 enjoyed a creative evening at The Paper Source in Chicago filled with discussion about running a business, and then creating vision boards to jump start their own creative process.
In this beginning portion of our class, we give the students room to explore their passions, what drives them to make a change in the world. As they narrow down their ideas for a service or a product, we focus on market research and proof of concept to support their business idea and it's viability in the market place. This portion of the program is also where the girls form relationships with each other and create their first "business" network and begin to learn about and build the traits of an Entrepreneur.
In the middle portion of our program, the students are working on what it means to take a business from idea to reality...it starts with a strong business plan! We bring in guest speakers with extensive expertise on every relevant topic - planning, management, accounting, insurance, legal services, communications, networking, financials, and marketing (among others) as well as take the girls to different business locations to learn onsite from business owners. This, along with our classroom cirriculum and support from our mentor team of business owners helps the girls build their knowledge base, build their network, and their confidence!
In this final phase of the program, the students gain the skills needed to present their businesses to our Investor Panel with a goal of securing funds for their new business. The students learn how to hone their presentations and presentation skills to demonstrate a business idea supported by deep work, care, and due diligence. Most importantly, the students bring themselves fully to the presentation so the Investor Panel can feel the student's passion for how she wants to bring her business idea to life! The top student in our class will be a semi-finalist at the Saunders Scholarship event in early May 2019 and will have the opportunity to compete for extensive scholarship awards!
At the end of the course, girls pitch their businesses to local business leaders to obtain funding. Watch last year's class showcase their hard work to our impressive panel of judges!
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