Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Young Entrepreneurs Academy is an empowerment opportunity for students 11-18 years old to start and run their own business or social movement.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an exciting new opportunity for the local middle school and high school youth of Lubbock. Not just your typical after school program, the YEA! is an empowerment opportunity for students 11-18 years old to start and run their very own business or social movement.
Hosted by the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, this immersive eight month program will run from October 2016 to May 2017. "Participants begin as students and leave as CEOs of their own company," praised Program Manager, Amy Marquez. Throughout the program, students will learn the foundations of business and learn key skills from local entrepreneurs. The main mission of the YEA! is to "help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship and social innovation as synonymous with success and freedom." (YEAUSA.ORG)
The Academy consists of three phases. Students work through the idea phase - creating and designing exactly what they want their business venture to be, writing a formal business plan, from there moving on to the pitch phase - presenting the idea to a board of investors and asking for legitimate start-up capital, and then finally the launch phase - gaining the necessary DBA, etc. and seeing the business come to reality. Students even file all applicable tax paperwork. The goal is to empower graduates of the program with a real, profitable business or effective social movement that students can continue well beyond graduation.
Program classes are held weekly during the eight month program at the TTU Innovation Hub Building. During this time students will be introduced to local entrepreneurs and business leaders, attend field trips for a behind-the-scenes experience, meet with attorneys, accountants, marketing professionals, graphic designers, manufacturers, internet specialists, and more, gaining invaluable tools and advice.
From preparing a real idea on paper to standing before an investor board and presenting their requests for funding, the YEA! takes students through the entire process of creating a business. Imagine it is a kind of "Shark Tank" meets "The Apprentice" for teens. Marquez explained, "Creating business and sustaining businesses is what we do - so it definitely met our mission here at the Chamber."
This national program began in 2004 and now has 100 locations in 38 states. In hopes of providing an opportunity for students who want more, YEA! students learn just as much about self-esteem, personal potential, and leadership as they do about business. Indeed, 100% of Academy graduates graduate high school on time and 99% of Academy graduates enroll in college. 4,338 students nationwide have launched more than 3,172 real businesses in America, 19% of YEA! students start second businesses, and many have been awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
The value of a program such as YEA! In the Lubbock community cannot be understated. YEA! strengthens the community and students are given a rare opportunity to network and develop relationships with local businesses and launch their business in their very own backyard. Participants are given a chance to see that they can make a difference in the community in which they already live. This enthusiasm and success trickles back into the community.
Applications for this exciting program are due by September 5, 2016. For more information or to apply contact Amy Marquez at (806) 761-7000. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lubbockchamber.com/lubbock-chamber-yea.html to download an application. This year’s Presenting Sponsor is the Liggett Law Group. YEA! - For kids who mean business!
By Laurel Martinez