The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses. The central Ohio chapter of YEA! is based at The Point at Otterbein, a one-stop shop for learning, creating, and innovation. It’s the perfect location for our YEA! Columbus program! Learn more about The Point at Otterbein here.

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. This past year, Westerville area high school student Allison Ricker won our local competition and traveled to the national competition with her invention, Decleated. Read more about Allison’s company and journey here!

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

Student Selection Process

YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades six 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.

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.

We are currently accepting applications for our 2018 class.

Apply at Otterbein today!

Girls Who Code

YEA! Links

Success Stories

1st Year Overall Winner:

Brooke Yoakam – Founder of GiftPocket

Brooke has set the bar high by winning our first Shark Tank as a 7th grader and continuing her success since. Brooke recently gave a TedXColumbus talk on the Challenges of Being a Teen Entrepreneur:

2nd Year Overall Winner:

Ben Schwieger – Founder of FlashPlanner

FlashPlanner is a planner app, aimed at ADHD students like the company’s founder. The app is approximately 75% done with final development.

Other Notable Alumni

Sam Owens & Michael Musilli – Nativ Company

Michael also successfully had over $20k in Gross sales from his online business in just 6 months before closing it to focus on Nativ Company.

Duncan & Luka Srsic – SouperTea

Christopher French – Hickory’s Walnut

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