YEA! continues at John L. Ory

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014

LAPLACE — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an innovative program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial successes.

YEA! is excited to announce its plans for continuing this groundbreaking program at John L. Ory Magnet School in the fall of 2014.

“A forward step in a positive direction is exactly what the YEA! program provides our students, and we couldn’t be happier to bring this program back to our school district,” St. Charles Parish Superintendent Felicia Gomez-Walker said.

YEA! takes students between the 11 and 18 through the process of launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.

YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job.

It is the only pre-college program developed by an entrepreneur, at a university, with support from a major entrepreneurial foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“We are excited about continuing this expansion and specifically chose the River Region because of its reputation for academic excellence,” said Gayle Jagel, the CEO and founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.

“The entire community is really excited about the school’s plans to promote student involvement. We encourage all local business leaders to become involved with the program and to act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs.”

Jagel developed the YEA! in 2004 while serving as the director of the office of special programs at the University of Rochester. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the university to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc.

The program is launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.

While in the Academy, students in the River Region will brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to real investors, obtain funding, file their DBAs and, by the end, launch their own business or social movement.

Business mentors, graphic designers and local entrepreneurs will support the students throughout the process and engage them in a real, professional environment.

“When a program like YEA! comes along, you have to be open to its inevitable success,” River Region Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Nathan Stein said.

“We cannot wait to see how this program will positively impact the young students in our region.”