YEA! Teaches Students How to Make a Job, Not Just Take a Job

This week, two chapters of Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) showed Central Ohio a great way to grow that pipeline of millions of entrepreneurs.

In 2015, the startup rate of new entrepreneurs in the United States really rocked. New entrepreneurs increased by 10 percent to 310 out of every 100,000 adults*. That’s about 530,000 new business owners every month.

Now that momentum is building, just imagine the impact if, over the next few years, instead of 530,000, we doubled that number to where there are a million people founding startups every 30 days? Think of the job growth could that produce!

YEA! Transforms Students into Confident Entrepreneurs

Young Entrepreneurs Academy! is a 25-to- 30 week program for middle and high school students that fans the spark of entrepreneurship into flames.

YEA! attracts students from different schools from all over the city or county. They come in and formulate a business from their own ideas. There are classes and mentors to help students decide which idea to pursue. They put together a business model, and then after months of work, pitch their idea to a panel of judges who have money to invest.

Rev1 folks (along with numerous other businesses, organizations and individuals in our region) teach and mentor in YEA! We do it to accelerate Ohio’s entrepreneurial pipeline—and because these young people are so incredibly inspiring and motivational.

Recently, Rev1 served as judges for the Investor Panel Presentations of YEA! NAWBO Columbus and YEA! Union County.

“To think that these young men and women have such clarity on what they want to do,” said Mike McCann, Rev1 director of First Connect and judge at the NAWBO YEA!

“They want to be entrepreneurs,” McCann said. “They want to start companies. They are thirteen or fourteen or fifteen and they have that much purpose at this age. One kid told me that he wakes up and writes down 10 ideas every day no matter what. Eventually, he said he is going to come up with great one.”

IMG_0955Thirteen teams presented at the NAWBO Columbus Investor Panel Event on April 5. Students ranged in age from 12 to 17. Each judge had $750 to allocate to one or more of the presenting teams.

“The winner was Flash Planner, an application designed to help ADHD kids (and non-ADHD adults like me) keep track of their meetings, tasks, and follow up.  The founder is Ben—he is the one on the far right with the ear-to- ear, semi-shocked smile. When he found out how much money he raised ($1,800 which was 100 percent of his ask), he nearly hit the floor.” Mike McCann.

“I was shocked at how well prepared the students were,” said Michael Kindrat-Pratt, director Ohio Tech Angel Funds and judge at the Union County YEA! “We need to do all that we can to supply support and confidence to students at this young age when they have a spark of an idea and want to direct their own fate and start their own company.”

IMAG0014The Union County winner, Dayo, is a sophomore at Marysville High School. She was super confident, took the mic, came right to the center of the stage, and did a great job talking about her business idea for an online fashion consulting business that will be friendly to all body types. Not only was Dayo the top money-receiver, but she was chosen to compete at the YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-Finals in Rochester, NY.

“Regardless of the results of the Investor Panel presentations, every one of these Union County companies expects to be launching at the conclusion of the YEA! program, so we have a bunch of middle and high schoolers who are going to be business founders in the next eight weeks.” Michael Kindrat-Pratt

As Early stage investors the Rev1 suite of investment funds are constantly on the lookout for great entrepreneurs with great ideas who want to start great companies. The youngest graduate of Rev1 Concept Academy—our intensive course of market and customer validation for startups—was a YEA! entrepreneur last year. Brooke Yoakum presented her company GiftPocket at the 2015 Demo Day.

We’ve been saying that we’d like to find a dozen more like her. Through YEA! we believe we have.

*Source: 2015 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity | National Trends Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting year-long class that serves thousands of students Across America. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce® Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among Today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.