Leadership Lynchburg, a leadership program of the Lynchburg Regional Chamber, has begun a program showing students between the ages of 11 and 18 how to become entrepreneurs.
The first class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (or YEA!) will hold its initial session Tuesday at Central Virginia Community College.
During the course of the academic year YEA! students will learn how to launch a company or a social movement. At the end of the program in May, students are expected to have fully functioning businesses.
The Lynchburg YEA! program is the first in Virginia. Gayle Jagel developed the program in 2004 while serving as the director of the special programs at the University of Rochester. In 2008, YEA! was spun off as a nonprofit corporation, YEA! Inc., which is launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.
YEA! receives support from the Marion Kauffman Foundation .
The Lynchburg program is a joint project of Leadership Lynchburg, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg and the community college.
The first YEA! Class in Lynchburg includes more than 20 students, some of which come from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg, Jubilee Family Development Center and the Pride Center.
During the course of the year, students will form enterprises, make pitches to potential investors, obtain funding, register their companies with governmental agencies, and begin operation.
They will receive guidance from local mentors, graphic designers and entrepreneurs.