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Local Students Begin Entrepreneurial Training Program

Oct 20, 2017 09:48PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Photo via Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce

The Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce kicked off the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) on Tuesday, October 17th, with 16 ambitious middle and high school students who have a keen drive to launch and run their own businesses.

YEA! takes students aged 11 to 18 through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.  Throughout the year, students will work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop business ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch to investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and more.

By the end of the 21-week class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program. It is now in its third year in Manhattan Beach.

The students in this year's cohort are Paloma Burgos, Kainoa Craw, Ella Dvorchak, Tommy Foskey, Hatcher Johnson, Dylan Kircher, Devon McKnight, Alexa Ressler, Cole Serba, Ryan Severin, Kelly Shea, Brady Sheldon, AJ Silverman, Taylor Southey, Emre Taner, and Thomas Temperley.

The students were selected after a competitive application process that required them to complete an essay, write responses to short answer questions, submit their school transcripts and a reference, and participate in an in person interview prior to acceptance into the program.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy helps the Chamber fulfill its goal of supporting small business development in our community by training our future leaders and helping them to establish strong, lasting relationships with their hometown business community,” said Mark Lipps, president of the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce. “We are thrilled to have graduated over 25 students who launched amazing businesses since we introduced the program. We’re also thrilled to have engaged local business leaders who have served as mentors, instructors and guides as a means of giving back to our community.”

The YEA! model aims to bridge the business and academic communities together, while creating meaningful ties to the area for students. The program currently operates in more than a hundred communities all over the U.S., with the goal of expanding to chambers of commerce, colleges, universities, and school districts in every community across the country.

“YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job,” said YEA! Founder and CEO Gayle Jagel. “At a time when small business growth is declining in the U.S., young entrepreneurs with the right training can become a powerful force of innovative thinkers and even employers. We are excited that YEA! will continue to make its mark in the South Bay."

During the course of the program, students brainstorm and form their business ideas, make pitches to investors for startup funding, file their DBAs, and launch their own businesses or social movements. Mentors and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, such as graphic design, web development, law, accounting, retail, manufacturing, technology, and more are invited to support the students throughout the hands-on curriculum as mentors, field trip hosts or guest lecturers.

“One of the interesting components of YEA! is the ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge that local business leaders are able to share with students. Community support strengthens the program, and the academy strengthens the community,” said Lipps. The students also gain skills that they can apply to any field they choose to enter, and will have the foundation to become future leaders of their industries.”

YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! now receives support from the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club. To date, 4,338 students nationwide have launched more than 3,172 real businesses in America.

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