Young Entrepreneurs Academy Teaches Kids How to Be Business Owners

Apply Now! 

Start as a student, finish as a CEO! Students ages 14 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, complete and submit your application. 

Do you know a high school student who is interested in starting their own business? Nominate them today!


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 Michigan Chamber Foundation is now accepting applications from students in the Greater Lansing Area to enroll in the 2016-17 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 an 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. 

October 2017 Admitted Student & Parent Orientation
November 1, 2017  Weekly Classes Begin
March 2018  YEA! Investor Panel
April 2018 YEA! Trade Show
TBD Regional Competition (If Selected)
TBD National Competition (If Selected)
May 2018  Graduation

*Dates subject to change

Student Selection Process

YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades 6-12 who are between 14 and 18 years old. Students interested in starting their own, real businesses 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.

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. View engagement opportunities.

If you are interested in getting involved with YEA! and being inspired by your community’s great young minds, contact Anita Lindsay at (517) 371-7671 or by email at


If you are interested in funding this program, please contact Bob Thomas at (517) 371-7639 or by email at for opportunities. 

Success Stories

Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

YEA! Student Feature in Entrepreneur Magazine

Contact Us

For more information, call (517) 371-7671 or email Anita Lindsay at