Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

Building our next generation of leaders with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. We’re pleased to offer this inspirational program for aspiring entrepreneurs in our community. We have decided to postpone the start of the program until January of 2021. This will give our student entrepreneurs a chance to settle into a school year like none other prior to beginning this program. As a participating student, you will have the same YEA! MSP experience. The new application deadline will be Friday, December 18th.

About the Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking program that transforms middle and high school students into real entrepreneurs.

During the 20-week program, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, obtain funding, and then actually launch and run their own legally-registered, fully-formed companies.


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
  • Launch and run their own business or social movement
  • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills


YEA! classes meet January through May, for three hours weekly. Classes will be held virtually for the time being. There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses.

  • 02/02/21 - Weekly Classes Begin
  • 05/06/21 - CEO Roundtable
  • 05/27/21 - YEA! Investor Panel
  • 04/29/21-05/02/21 - National Competition (if selected)
  • 06/08/21- Graduation


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, complete and submit your application:

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 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.

Success Stories

Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

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 Cheri Gengler at (612) 370-9160 or email


A great way to show your support for the business leaders of tomorrow is by sponsoring the YEA! program.

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.

Contact Us

For more information, call (612) 370-9160 or e-mail Cheri Gengler at


Thank you to our Sponsors & Supporters