YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy


    CCSD15 junior high school students have the unique opportunity to start and launch their own businesses by participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), sponsored by the Palatine Chamber of Commerce.

    Started at the University of Rochester in 2004, YEA! began as a weekly class, taught on the university campus. YEA! has since expanded to other colleges, chambers of commerce and high schools.

    Over the course of the year, CCSD15 junior high students will brainstorm ideas, write business plans, pitch their plans to a group of investors, obtain funding, launch their enterprise and actually sell their products or services.

    The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches junior high go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses. Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! has helped more than 4,000 students nationwide launch over 3,000 businesses and social movements. The Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to introduce YEA! to our community this academic year.

    YEA! guides students through the process of fulfilling their very own American dream. By bridging the business and educational communities, students are taught by trained instructors, and are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and mentors. Over the course of the program, students:

    • Brainstorm business ideas
    • Write a business plan
    • Interact with business professionals
    • Attend field trips for a behind-the-scenes look at local businesses
    • Pitch their business plan to local investors for startup funding and the opportunity to advance to regional and national competitions. Think Shark Tank!
    • Legally register their businesses
    • Participate in a local YEA! Trade Show
    • Launch and run their own business or social movement
    • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills

    YEA! classes meet October through May, for three hours weekly. There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses.

    Students interested in starting their own, real business may apply for acceptance into the program by completing the application, which includes an essay and short-answer questions, school transcript and letter of recommendation. Once the completed application is received, students may be invited to attend an in-person interview. Acceptance into the program is based on all aspects of the completed application as well as the personal interview. Prior business experience is not required, nor is it required to have a business idea prior to the start of class.

    Applications for the 2019-20 YEA! after-school entrepreneurship program are accepted through September 19, 2019. Click here to download and complete an application. Contact Steven Gaus with the Palatine Chamber of Commerce with any additional questions.