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    To apply or for more information, call (760) 352-3681

    About the Academy

    The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses.

    Celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise and Innovation
    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 El Centro Chamber of Commerce is excited to introduce YEA! to our community with its third class for the 2015-16 academic year.

    Make a Job—Don’t Just Take a Job!

    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.
    • 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 November through May, for three hours weekly. There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses/breaks.

    [Sept. 30, 2015]     Application Deadline
    [Nov. 2015]           Admitted Student & Parent Orientation
    [Nov. 2015]           Weekly Classes Begin
    [March 2015]          YEA! Investor Panel
    [April 2015]           YEA! Trade Show
    [TBD]                   Regional Competition (if selected)
    [TBD]                   National Competition (if selected)
    [May 2015]            Graduation

    Student Selection Process

    YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades 6-12 who are between 11 and 18 years old. 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 transcripts 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.


    Start as a student, finish as a CEO! Students ages 11 to 18 and in grades six through 12 are eligible to apply. This program offers students the chance to:

    • Develop hands-on entrepreneurial experience to launch their own business or social movement
    • Connect with local entrepreneurs
    • Pitch to a panel of investors for startup funding
    • Gain confidence in their ideas, abilities and presentation skills

    We offer two easy ways to apply:
    Apply online OR Print out, complete and submit your application by clicking HERE.

    Click here for Scholarship application.

    Get Involved

    Share your business wisdom with aspiring young entrepreneurs and help them get started on the path to success! We’re seeking expert professionals to volunteer their time as guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and more. The time YEA! students spend with adults who encourage their futures is invaluable, and you can play an important role in guiding our future leaders.

    If you are interested in getting involved with YEA! and being inspired by your community’s great young minds, contact Anthony Moreno at (760) 352-3681 or email anthony@elcentrochamber.com



    A BIG thank you to our local sponsors, who have helped bring YEA! to El Centro!

    YEA! USA is made possible by the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. We also thank our national supporters, Sam’s Club and Southwest Airlines.


    Success Stories

    Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

    Watch 2015 Saunders Scholars Video
    YEA! Student Feature in Entrepreneur Magazine


    Contact Us
    For more information, call (760) 352-3681 or e-mail Darletta D. Willis at darletta@elcentrochamber.com

    Be sure to like us on FACEBOOK and follow us on TWITTER