Redefining Entrepreneurship Education in America


Groundbreaking Program

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.


Community Impact

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a life-changing program that 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.


National Partnerships

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy today serves thousands of students across America. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce and Campaign for Free Enterprise became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

Local Partnerships

The E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology is partner and sponsor for the annual YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition. The partnership has provided the Young Entrepreneurs Academy with the gift to provide young entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards. Mr. Philip Saunders, RIT and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy believe in aligning passions, interest and skills with higher education. The YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition brings together the top student businesses from each YEA! class around the country to compete to win scholarship dollars, and business start-up prize packages.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is a partner of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and the host location for the annual Saunders Scholars National Competition. 

The Golisano Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship has partnered with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy offering all YEA! graduate students partial or full scholarships for admission to the Institute. The Institute is also the host location for the local Rochester, NY YEA! class. 


YEA! Mission

Develop and deliver experience-based entrepreneurship programs to young people to:

    • Enable them to transition successfully to adulthood
    • Help them to pursue their dreams by harnessing their creativity and energy
    • Help them transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world
    • Develop the character of tomorrow’s leaders based on personal principles and values
    • Enable educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce to provide successful and effective entrepreneurship programs for middle and high school students;
    • Create a culture of innovation in schools and communities across the nation
    • Foster the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, educators, and community members.


YEA! Vision

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. To 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.