YEA! Schuylkill 2016-2017
The Schuylkill Chamber Foundation is proud to be the sponsoring organization of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) for the youth community partnering with Penn State Schuylkill as the host site.
The Schuylkill Chamber Foundation, in collaboration with many community partners, is excited to bring this nationally recognized program to our area for the second year.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting yearlong after school program that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. The students will begin by identifying ideas and recognizing opportunities. They will research and develop business plans with the help of their instructor and mentors. The students will pitch their business to an Investment Panel, composed of sponsors who may choose to invest in these new businesses. The students will actually launch their business and then introduce these businesses at a Trade Show in the spring.
YEA! Schuylkill is maintained by a student tuition as well as investments from the local business community. Scholarships are available.
Business leaders are an integral part of the YEA! classes, as they are asked to participate in a variety of ways. Speaking to classes, teaching, opening their business for field trips, advising and mentoring are just some of the ways business professionals can get involved.
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy today serves thousands of students in communities across America.
2017-2018 application Information
Students from Schuylkill County and the surrounding region may download and submit the 2017-2018 Student Application to the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce by EMAIL: yea(at)schuylkillchamber.com, FAX: 570.622.1638, or MAIL: 1 Progress Circle, Suite 201, Pottsville, PA 17901. Copies of the application are also available at the Schuylkill Chamber office. An interview will be scheduled for each YEA! student candidate upon receipt of the student’s written responses, and payment of the $10 application fee. Meet the early registration deadline of June 12, 2017 to receive a $200 tuition discount and top priority for scheduling an interview. After the interview, students will be notified of their status as Accepted, Not Accepted, or Wait-listed. The maximum class size is 24. Enrollment is made on a rolling basis with the final deadline for submitting a complete application of 9/30/17.
Tuition is $495. The business community offers generous scholarships to candidates with a passion to learn about business and become an entrepreneur. Students and guardians may download and submit the Scholarship Application to be considered for tuition assistance based on merit and/or need. Information about income must be submitted for need-based scholarships and will be kept confidential. Merit scholarships are awarded to students showing passion and a strong interest in entrepreneurial learning.
Orientation for students and guardians will be held in October.
Classes begin at the end of October and are typically held on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at our host site Penn State Schuylkill, 200 University Drive, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972. Exceptions to the schedule are made for special classes, field trips, and events. The YEA! program has had good success working within the confines of busy students who are also active in other clubs, sports and activities. Feel free to contact us to discuss the schedule.
For more information, contact us by email at YEA(at)SchuylkillChamber.com or call 570.622.1942. We are happy to offer assistance with the application and scholarship forms, and will gladly answer your questions.
We are more than excited to spark the spirit of entrepreneurship in our county’s students! If you would like to nominate a student, contact us by email or phone.
We are teaching students how to make a job, not just take a job.
YEA! Schuylkill Class of 2017 Update
· SESSION 1: THE BIG IDEA – Walter Meck, fondly referred to as Coach Walter, kicked off the YEA! Schuylkill class of 2017. His leadership and kind demeanor helped students learn about entrepreneurism and formulate ideas for their own businesses and social movements.
· MENTORS – Beside the 10+ week commitment of our 3 instructors, the most intense role of business volunteers is that of the Business Mentor. This year the explosion in class size translated to a call for more mentors to be found. Our business community did not let us down. YEA! Schuylkill Class of 2017’s needs were met with an outpouring of volunteers with broad expertise, a generous commitment of time, and unwavering patience. Although the scheduled class time with mentors has concluded, many continue to support the students and their businesses. THANK YOU to each and every mentor.
· SESSION 2: THE PITCH – Instructor Brock Stein had quite the workload this winter as a record 14 businesses formed in Session 2. That means 14 business plans which average 18 pages in length, 14 PowerPoint presentations averaging 15 slides each, 14 sets of speech cards, 14 professional logo’s, and 17 student personalities needed to be brought to the finish line in time for the main event of the program: The Investor Panel. Did we mention snow days? Thank you, Instructor Brock for your leadership, flexibility, and guidance for each student during Session 2, and for executing one of the most difficult tasks: contolling the slides during the Investor Panel.
· CEO ROUND TABLE EVENT – With Mr. John Powers at the podium as emcee, the YEA! Class of students had the opportunity to turn the table and ask the questions. Seven high ranking business professionals and top sponsors of YEA! Schuylkill joined a roundtable with students on February 22, 2017. CEO’s were most accommodating to students as they fielded questions about networking, building a customer base, and any other questions students wanted to ask. This very meaningful public event was a powerful event for students as well as the audience.
· YEA! INVESTOR PANEL 2017 -- On March 22, 2017, seventeen students from the YEA! Schuylkill Class of 2017 presented 14 businesses at Schuylkill County’s own shark tank-like event -- the YEA! Investor Panel. With just 5 minutes to make their presentations to pitch for funding to 11 Investor Judges in front of a standing room only crowd, students did a fantastic job! Investors had their work cut out for them as they left for private deliberations to determine which businesses would be funded by the $9,000 purse they controlled. On this successful night, judges returned to announce that all 14 businesses were awarded funding in whole or in part, and will continue to develop their businesses.
· SAUNDERS SCHOLAR named! On the evening of the YEA! Investor Panel, Investor Judges named one high-potential student business to represent the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce at the Saunders Scholar Semifinals at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY on May 5, 2017. That business was ‘Lemental Creations owned by Lindsay Griffin, a 9th grade student of North Schuylkill Junior Senior High School. As the Saunders Scholar, Lindsay will go on to compete at the regional Saunders Scholars Semi-finals where 4 regions and approximately 100 businesses from across the country will vie for 1 of 7 spots as a Finalist. Finalists compete in Washington DC in June where one will be named the 2017 Young Entrepreneur of the Year!
· SESSION 3: THE LAUNCH -- The third of 3 sessions in underway as YEA! Students use investor awards to develop and launch their businesses. Instructor Wayne Herring, Sr. leads the students and helps them prepare for the YEA! Trade Show planned for Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 5pm to 8pm in front of Vito’s Coal Fired Pizza and Restaurant at Coal Creek Plaza in Saint Clair. We hope to see a big crowd stop by to purchase products from YEA! student businesses.
· GRADUATION DATE SET – Families and students are marking calendars for Graduation Ceremonies for the third class of YEA! Schuylkill on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 7:30pm in Morgan Auditorium on Penn State Schuylkill Campus. We planned ample seating for mentors, sponsors, school officials and friends to celebrate with the Class of 2017.
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Local Champion Sponsor
West Family Charitable Trust
Ashland Technologies, Inc.
D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc.
Mountain Valley Golf Course/MainStay Suites
Penn State Schuylkill
Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. - SEDCO
The Seltzer Group
W. Pace LLP, dba McDonald's Restaurants Pottsville
& Schuylkill Haven
Heim Construction Company, Inc.
R&J Transportation, Inc.
The Evans Network of Companies
Greater Schuylkill Haven Area Business Association
The Moss Family
Orwigsburg Area Business & Professional Assoc.
Pine Grove Area School District
Solar Innovations, Inc.
St. Clair & Associates, P.C.
Tom & Pam Twardzik
Tompkins VIST Bank
Alfred Benesch & Company
American Computer Associates, Inc.
Barefield Development Corporation
Boyer's Food Markets, Inc.
Carmelo's Roman Delight
Daniel & Joan Guers
Greg & Alicia Stewart
Kenneth & Jeanne Porter
Rowlands and Pothering, CPAs
Schaeffer's Harley Davidson
The Gratz Bank
Reading Fightin Phils – May 2, 2017 Branding and Advertising. Oh what a night it will be! The YEA! Schuylkill class of 2017 will get a personal tour before the gates open, and learn all about branding and advertising campaigns as presented by the exciting Reading Fightin Phils business team. We are staying for the game, so students experience the full effect of the spirit generated by one of our favorite local sports teams!
Knoebel’s Amusement Park and Resort – April 8, 2017 Students were fascinated to hear what it takes for family members and owners, Dick Knoebel and Brian Knoebel, to operate their family business. They shared their heart-warming stories about the early days of Knoebel’s Park when it was only a swimming hole on the family farm in the 1920’s. It doesn’t get much better for a field trip in the industry of Fun and Entertainment, as students learned how the park has grown and earned many awards and designations for this unique and popular resort.
Schuylkill County Courthouse – April 4, 2017 – Always a highlight, the tour of our courthouse unfolded with our dedicated government officials rolling out the red carpet for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy! Spearheaded by Commissioner Gary Hess and lead by Register of Wills Theresa Santai-Gaffney, students took a detailed tour of our historic court house and met with nearly every government official!
The YEA! field trip to a Food Franchise was a big hit in November 2016! YEA! students went behind the scenes of the golden arches of McDonald’s in Pottsville. This newly rebuilt restaurant was impressive to students as they spent time touring and talking with entrepreneur, Wayne Pace and Shawn Raup-Konsavage.
On Tuesday, November 1, the YEA! Schuylkill Class of 2017 travelled to the program’s “Cool Field Trip” at Solar Innovations, Inc. to learn about being an entrepreneur. We spoke with CEO and founder, Greg Header, and toured one of the most exciting manufacturing facilities in our region.
Feedback and Testimonials
The YEA Program did so much for me and I'm not giving up easily. I honestly think I'm gonna make it. Thank you so much and if you need any help with the YEA Program this year, just let me know. I'll never be able to thank you and everyone else as much as I wish I could. I now realize that YEA was the best opportunity that I ever had in my life. Thank you so much. Jacob Palmer, Class of 2016.
"YEA! was a wonderful program that I highly recommend to any teen interested in business. For me the program was my introduction to the business world, and gave me skills that I will remember and use forever."
-Alex Albertini, PayDirt, Winner 2015 YEA! Schuylkill
"My son participated in the first YEA! Schuylkill class last year. This was an incredibly well organized program lead by highly motivated and dedicated people. It was great to see all the businesses that supported YEA! and the individuals who donated their time to advise and train the kids in this program."
-John Albertini, AIS Consulting
"To succeed as an entrepreneur, "the biggest thing is the mindset and the will to keep pushing through." Having completed the YEA! program, now I know that "I definitely want to own my own business."
-Darian Stripe, 2016 Saunders Scholar Winner