• Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

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      2017-2018 YEA class
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      2017-2018 YEA class
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  • Experience the Power of YEA!

    Explore the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Today!



    APPLY ONLINE NOW to serve as a mentor or volunteer for the 2017-18 class!

    BECOME A SPONSOR and ensure the continued success of the YEA! program!

    About the Academy

    The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own, REAL businesses. Over the course of 30 weeks, students identify feasible business ideas, write professional business plans, create marketing materials, pitch to a panel of live investors, and launch their products or services at a public trade show. By the end of the program, each student has a real business to run and the skills needed to be successful workers, leaders, and entrepreneurs for the rest of their lives!

    Learn more about how YEA! is Redefining Entrepreneurship

    In 2015-16, the inaugural class of 13 students at the DC Everest Senior High school created 11 new businesses over the course of the school year with support from the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce and many local business leaders, volunteers, and sponsors. In 2016-17, we took the program to the next level by transitioning it to an after-school academy and opening it up to the entire Wausau region! A new class of 16 students ranging from 8th-12th grade are currently creating 14 different businesses to provide a variety of new products and services to Marathon County and beyond.

    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. The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce and DC Everest School District introduced YEA! to our community with its inaugural class during the 2015-16 academic year.

    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 the Wausau Region Chamber's Small Business EXPO in April
    • Launch and run their own business or social movement
    • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills

    Student selection process

    YEA! DCE welcomes applications from all students entering grades 6-12 who are interested in starting their own, real businesses. Students may apply for acceptance into the program by completing an application during the spring application period, which includes an essay and short-answer questions.  For a 2017-18 year application, visit yeausa.org or contact the instructor, Jim Dahlgren, at jdahlgren@dce.k12.wi.us.  Once the completed application is received, a YEA! program leader will contact the student to finalize the application process. Prior business experience is not required, nor is it required to have a business idea prior to the start of class.

    Get involved – become a volunteer!

    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.

    Read more about volunteer opportunities.

    If you are interested in getting involved with YEA! and being inspired by your community’s great young minds, contact Jim Dahlgren at jdahlgren@dce.k12.wi.us.

    Show support – become a sponsor!

    In order to ensure this program can be sustained long-term, YEA! DCE is actively seeking sponsors to help support this great program and enable these special students to succeed.  If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact 715-845-6231 or email info@wausauchamber.com.

    Read more about sponsorship opportunities.

    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.

    News about the 2017-2018 YEA! DC Everest class:

            In the news: Jim Dahlgren and Mason Zimmermann
            In the news: YEA! gives students real world business experience
            In the news: Lukas Lindner previews new year | More with Lukas Lindner 1 | 2
            In the news: Lukas Lindner and Annika Delich

    News about the 2016-2017 YEA! DC Everest class:

    In the news: Everest teens share $5,000 to launch 12 businesses
    In the news: Everest 8th-graders get cash for their passions
    In the news: Sara Guild previews Investor Panel | More interviews on WXCO

    News about the 2015-2016 YEA! DC Everest class:

    In the news: Everest young entrepreneurs leave the nest
    In the news: DC Everest student named Saunders Semifinals winner in national scholarship competition
    In the news: Investors buy in to DC Everest student ideas
    In the news: YEA! Investor Panel to be held on March 22
    In the news: State Secretary of Workforce Development speaks to YEA! students
    In the news: Community welcomes YEA! program

    Contact us

    For more information, call 715-845-6231 or e-mail info@wausauchamber.com.

    Follow the YEA! program on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

  • 2017 Public Events:

    YEA! Investor Panel - March 21, 2017

    EXPO Trade Show - Apr. 20, 2017

    Graduation - May 15, 2017


    Class Calendar

    In 2016-17, YEA! classes meet every Monday evening from 5 pm to 8 pm at the DC Everest Junior High.


    Success Stories:

    Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

    YEA! Student Feature in Entrepreneur Magazine