Caleb Hunter is joined by his father and mother during an interview with YEA! Program Director, DeWayne Johnson. Local families like the Hunters are taking advantage of the summer to secure the limited number of slots for students in the 20-week YEA! program for middle school and high school age students.
VALDOSTA — Start as a student and graduate as a CEO. That is exactly the opportunity several local families and students are taking advantage of for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) fall 2018 kick off. YEA! is a 20-week program that guides middle and high school students through launching and running their own real businesses or social movements.
As the Chamber kicks-off its student recruiting season this summer, many residents are responding. The first application package turned in this year came from Caleb Hunter, an 8th-grade homeschool student from Norman Park, who attributes his interest in learning about entrepreneurship to his father. His mother, Kelly Hunter, found out about YEA! from an article in South Georgia Business + Culture Magazine. She immediately requested more information, and she and Caleb visited the YEA! Info Night on June 28, and then began working to complete the student application package.
Interested parents, students, and community members are encouraged to visit the final summer YEA! Info Night at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 28, in the main auditorium at Valdosta State University (VSU) Health Sciences and Business Administration building.
“If you know any students who should be our next young entrepreneur, we would love to meet them at our YEA! Info Night or by setting up an appointment to personally meet with me,” said YEA! Program Director DeWayne Johnson.
“YEA! has been a success for students all across the country, and we couldn’t be happier to be offering this program to our area students this fall,” Johnson said. “The program teaches students how to pursue their passions, builds their confidence levels, improves their public speaking and professional behavior, and gives them the tools they need to start a business or social movement.”
YEA! is open to all students in grades 6-12, and students receive all the necessary tools to launch their own real businesses including access to valuable experts like attorneys, accountants, business mentors, and graphic designers; plus, an audience with investors for real start-up funding. Students will also have the opportunity to compete for college scholarships.
To apply, students must complete the YEA! application, which is available online at www.yeausa.org or by sending an email to johnson.yea@valdostachamber.
YEA! classes kick-off in October, and will meet weekly for three hours every Tuesday at VSU; there are no meetings scheduled during school holidays. The program commences in April 2019.