The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship is partnering to bring to Minnesota a cutting-edge program to help high school students launch real businesses and social movements.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA), a nationwide project developed in 2004 at University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, takes students grade 6-12 through the process of creating and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship will host the first cohort of students in Minnesota as they create, own and operate fully-functioning businesses, as well as offering $100 to YEA! in scholarship funding for underserved students to attend the Academy.

“The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship is excited to bring bright young minds to our Minneapolis campus and play our part in developing our community’s future leaders. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will be a positive influence on students, and serve as a catalyst to unite our business and educational community in manner that will provide an inspiring, challenging and fulfilling experience for everyone involved,” said Laura Dunham, associate dean of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.

“We are proud to offer YEA! at The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship because of its reputation for entrepreneurial academic excellence and long-standing community involvement,” said Cheri Gengler, foundation director at the Minneapolis Regional Chamber.

During the 30-week program headed by the Minneapolis Regional Chamber’s Development Foundation, students will brainstorm and form their business ideas, make pitches to investors for startup funding, file DBAs and launch their own businesses or social movements. Local professionals and entrepreneurs, including St. Thomas alumni, across a variety of industries, such as graphic design, web development, law, accounting, retail, manufacturing, technology and more are invited to support the students throughout the hands-on curriculum as mentors, field trip hosts or guest lecturers.

Student applications are due Sept. 15.

The program draws students from public schools around the Twin Cities, and creates a path toward the Schulze Innovation Scholarship Program, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship and academic program that requires students to have already launched a business.

While this is the first YEA program in Minnesota, there are 168 other programs across the country. Nationally:

  • 100% of Academy graduates graduate high school on time
  • 99% of Academy graduates enroll in college
  • 49% of YEA! students are female
  • 56% of YEA! students are students of color
  • 19% of YEA! students start second businesses
  • YEA! students have been awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
  • 7,770 students nationwide have launched more than 5,100 real businesses in America
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