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Impact and History


The Academy has had profound positive effects on students, businesses, and communities all across the country. Since the program’s inception, over 3,000 businesses have been launched. Today, the program impacts 186 communities in 39 states, bringing educational and business communities together to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation among today’s youth.

YEA! Fast Fact Snapshot:

  • 100% of Academy Graduates Graduate High School on Time
  • 99% of Academy Graduates Enroll in College
  • 19% of YEA! Students Start Second Businesses
  • 50% of YEA! Students Continue Business for More Than 1 Year
  • 49% of YEA! Students are Female
  • 56% of YEA! Students are Underrepresented Minorities
  • YEA! Students have been awarded over a half million dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
  • 4,000 students have graduated from YEA! and have launched over 3,000 businesses.
  • Over 16,000 business and community leaders

YEA! strengthens the community and the community strengthens YEA!. Students are able to network with and develop relationships with local business leaders, create jobs, and launch businesses in their own backyard. Students see that they can make a difference within the communities in which they live. The enthusiasm and success of the students are empowering for the entire community!


The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) began in 2004 at the University of Rochester, with grant support from the Kauffman Foundation. This intensive entrepreneurship training program guides middle and high school students through the process of starting and running a legitimate business or social movement over the course of a full academic year. In its first four years, YEA! grew beyond the college-based setting to include public high schools. In 2008, YEA! Inc. was formed for the purpose of making the YEA! program available to the target demographic of students in grades 6 through 12 (ages 11 to 18) throughout the entire United States.

The YEA! program has grown to be offered both as an after-school program as well as a credit-bearing elective that is incorporated into a high school’s curriculum. For the 2015-2016 academic year, YEA! is operating in one hundred and fifteen different locations, across 39 states and serves hundreds of school districts that offer the program to thousands of motivated, entrepreneurially-minded students.

The after school locations range from public and private colleges and universities, public and private schools and school districts to Charter schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs, spanning rural to urban settings and impacting students from all socio-economic walks of life. Each site is staffed by an instructor and site program manager, and supported by a site support specialist through the YEA! headquarters in Rochester, NY. Over 18,000 business and community leaders have supported the students’ experiences as YEA! volunteers.