YEA – Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Building our next generation of leaders: Starting as students today . . . and graduating as CEO’s tomorrow.

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

Download the application – YEA! Application Summer 2019.First round applications are due on April 15, with second round considerations due on May 15. Student orientation will be held on May 20th. The summer 2019 program will start on Monday, June 3rd through Friday, August 3rd, with orientation scheduled for Monday, May 20th.

Or fill out the online application below.

Student Selection Process

NWA YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades 6-12 who are between 11 and 18 years old. Students interested in starting their own, real businesses may apply for acceptance into the program by completing the application, which includes an essay and short-answer questions, school transcripts 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.

About the Academy
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses. This year’s program is supported by AT&T to reduce tuition and program costs.

Celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise and Innovation

If you would like to start and run your own business, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy is the place for you!

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is an amazing class that teaches you how to actually start and run your own REAL business or social movement! You come up with a Big Idea, the instructor will help you discover what are you great at doing, and what do you love to do, and where that intersects with a business opportunity. You create a real business plan, pitch your plan to a panel of investors, get REAL funding, and actually launch your own, REAL, company!

Over 6,500 kids have graduated from YEA! and started more than 4,000 businesses, cool inventions and fun ideas! YEA! students have been featured in national magazines, TV shows, on the news and in the local papers – this is the real deal! And it’s not only about business, YEA! kids are starting organizations that are doing everything from teaching English to kids in foreign countries to reducing our carbon footprint, really world-changing stuff.
You will have the opportunity to:

  • Turn your passions and talents into a real business
  • Learn from legendary entrepreneurs
  • Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
  • Develop Your Brand by Creating a Company Logo and Website
  • Meet & Greet with Members of the Media (maybe even get on TV!)
  • Learn To Manage Business Expenses and Income
  • Learn About Different Types of Business Structures
  • Get the Real Deal on Taxes
  • Meet a Social Entrepreneur
  • Write a real business plan
  • Get a Business Bank Account
  • Learn About Government Resources
  • Go on Cool Business Field Trips
  • Get a Professional Style Makeover
  • Learn About Franchises
  • Learn About the Business of Sports
  • Register Your Business at the County Clerk’s Office
  • Compete for Scholarships and Prizes at the Saunders Scholars Competition
  • Sell Your Products at a Trade Show
  • Meet Other Awesome Entrepreneurs and Network, Network, Network
  • Make A Profit!

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 an 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

NWA YEA! classes meet this summer June through August, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9a to 4p. More details to come for summer 2019.

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 Sierra Polk at spolk@greaterbentonville.com or 479-273-2841.


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.

Contact Us
For more information, call 479-273-2841 or e-mail Sierra Polk spolk@greaterbentonville.com