Background on Program
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a year-long program that teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own REAL businesses. YEA! was developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation. Orlando Science Center is proud to be the first science center in the country to partner with this incredible program.
YEA! guides students through the process of starting and running a legitimate business or social movement over the course of a full academic year. As their flagship museum partner, we are happy to announce our second year of YEA as we move forward with the Class of 2016! Last year’s graduates started as students, and left the program as CEOs of their own companies!
Over the course of the program, students:
- Brainstorm business ideas
- Write a business plan
- Interact with business professionals
- Pitch their business plan to potential “investors” (think ABC’s “Shark Tank!")
- Obtain funding
- Legally register their businesses
- Participate in a Trade Show
- Actually launch their own businesses or social movements
This program offers students the chance to:
- Develop the skills necessary to launch their own business or social movement (hands-on entrepreneurial experience!) and then launch it
- Learn about real businesses - why they succeed or fail.
- Hear from local entrepreneurs.
- Become more confident in their ideas and their abilities.
Organization of Program
YEA! classes will meet at Orlando Science Center on Tuesday evenings from 4:30pm – 7:30pm, beginning at the end of October and run through May. Applications will be accepted from students in grades 6-12. There will be no classes held on regular student holidays such as winter break and spring break. Classes will be led by a YEA! trained Science Center Instructor and a host of guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and business mentors will be embedded throughout the entire program.
Additionally the students will have an opportunity to take six field trips to a variety of local businesses. Student participate in three major events throughout the year: the Investor Panel, Trade Show and a formal graduation ceremony.
Student Selection Process
To apply for YEA!, students must:
- Fill out the YEA! application
- Complete the essay and the short answer questions
- Submit their transcripts
- Submit a letter of recommendation
Once the completed application packet is received, students will be asked to participate in a formal one-on-one interview. Acceptance in the program is based on all aspects of an application, as well as this interview. Prior experience with business is not required!
How Business Professionals Can Get Involved
Through their interactions with business professionals during the year, YEA! students gain the important knowledge and experience they need to succeed. Local professionals volunteer their time and expertise as guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and much more. These adults have a major impact on the YEA! students as they engage with them on all aspects of the development of their business plan. The time spent with these adult professionals is invaluable and helps set the YEA! Students on a path to achieve their vision. Last year, our volunteers shared that they received a generous return on their investment of time and talent.
If you are interested in becoming involved with YEA! as a guest speaker, fieldtrip host, or volunteer, contact Heather Norton at 407.514.2097 or email
19 May 2015
Posted in YEA! Orlando
Local students of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Class of 2015 at Orlando Science Center received CEO status on May 14, 2015 at the commencement ceremony in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience.
After months of hard work, José Fajardo, Executive Vice President of the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce; JoAnn Newman, Orlando Science Center President & CEO; and Nicole Rivera, YEA Program Coordinator awarded the class their diplomas.