YEA banner 2015-16

Our 2016-17 Class Is in Progress! 

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. Our 2016-17 class is busy learning from our mentors and firming up their projects. If you are interested in applying to the 2017-18 program, come to our Investor Panel event, contact our Program Managers, fill out the YEA! Student Interest Form, or fill out the 2017-18 application.

About the Academy
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses.

Celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise and Innovation
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! has helped more than 4,000 students nationwide launch over 3,000 businesses and social movements.

Make a Job—Don’t Just Take a Job!
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
  • Participate in a local YEA! Trade Show
  • Launch and run their own business or social movement
  • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills

YEA! classes meet at Union Catholic Regional High School on Monday evenings from 4 – 7 pm October through May.
There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses.

October 24th, 2016 Weekly Classes Begin at Union Catholic Regional High School in Scotch Plains on Monday nights from 4 -7 pm
February 22, 2017 CEO Roundtable at Union Catholic Regional High School in Scotch Plains 5:30 – 7 pm. Open to the public.
March 29th, 2017 YEA! Investor Panel at Hamilton Stage Theater at UCPAC in Rahway 5:30 – 8 pm. Open to the public.
May 5th, 2017 National Semi- Finals Competition (if selected)
May 21st, 2017 YEA! Trade Show
May 22nd, 2017 Graduation
June 2017 TBD National Finals Competition (if selected)

Student Selection Process
Our chapter welcomes applications from all students in Union County grades 6 through 12 who are between 11 and 18 years old. Students interested in starting their own, real business may apply for acceptance into the program by completing the application, which includes an essay and short-answer questions, school transcript and letter of recommendation. The class is limited to 24 students.

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.

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

Still interested in learning more? Students, fill out our YEA! Student Interest Form to hear from your local Program Manager or fill out the 2017-18 application!

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 Mitch or Mario at (908) 233-3021 or email

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.

Success Stories
Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

Watch 2015 Saunders Scholars Video
YEA! Student Feature in Entrepreneur Magazine
Watch a video about the 2015-16 Westfield YEA class

Contact Us
For more information, call the GWACC at (908) 233-3021 or e-mail

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