The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a national 33-week program that takes motivated middle and high school students through the process of launching and running their own real business in a fun, exciting, hands-on projects-based approach while developing lifelong leadership skills.
13 Years Strong!
Now in its 13th year in Frisco, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a program offered by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Frisco Independent School District and the Frisco Economic Development Corporation. The program provides dynamic guest speakers from the business community, as well as trips to local companies. Students develop professional skills, connect with local, legendary entrepreneurs, pitch to investors for start-up funding, launch their own real, legal businesses, and have the opportunity to participate in a local “pitch” day. The winner of the local pitch competition moves on to a national college scholarship competition to name one business as the “Top Young Entrepreneur.” (Fun fact: while competition is tough in the national competition, Frisco’s YEA! program boasts three winners in the past three years – two first-place winners and one second-place winner!)
Participants work with mentors to identify their passions and transform their ideas into a fully formed business or social movement. Local business owners and leaders serve as facilitators and managers for the program. Companies can also sponsor the program. This year, First United Bank is serving as a sponsor.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity for middle and high school students to learn to transform their big ideas into enterprises that create value and to become CEOs of their own companies before they graduate from high school,” shared Tony Felker, President and CEO of the Frisco Chamber of Commerce.
Innovative New Businesses!
From recycling coffee grounds to a business that rents Legos to the invention of an apparatus for the blind, the businesses and organizations created over the years by Frisco YEA! students are numerous and innovative. “Entrepreneurs are vital to a successful economy, and these students are learning the necessary skills at an early age,” said Peter Burns, Program Manager of the Frisco YEA! program. “Entrepreneurs play an important role in solving problems that existing products and technology have not yet solved. I am truly amazed each year at the products and services these young minds come up with!”
Many YEA! graduates not only come back to volunteer in the program but have continued to operate businesses they developed even after graduating high school and continuing their education. Burns often says, “I truly believe that one day I am going to drive past a building, and I’m going to say…that building, that company is being run by a former YEA! student.”
2022-23 Class Members:
Meghana (Maggy) Nemalikanti
The YEA! students recently went on a “really cool” field trip to Text-Em-All and had a great time with CEO, Brad Herrmann.
As I always like to say, the future looks pretty bright!