Applications for YEA! growing

Students in grades 6 through 12 are busy sending in applications for the Aiken Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), and the pile is growing. 

“We are very pleased with the response so far and expect to see more applications when the school year starts,” said Mandy Collins, the program manager of YEA!.  Collins is facilitating the application process and will work closely with the YEA! instructors when the program gets underway in October. 

The first round of interviews has been completed, and a second round will begin in mid to late August.   A second information session for parents and students will be held in August. 

“Words cannot describe my excitement for the new YEA! program for Aiken County,” said Theresa Swafford, area manager, Manpower.   Swafford serves on the Chamber’s board of directors and the advisory board for the local YEA! program. 

“I interviewed students a few weeks ago, and they are eager to gain wisdom and knowledge and to use what they learn as building blocks to help develop and strengthen the core foundations needed to succeed as entrepreneurs,” Swafford said. 

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, the first of its kind in South Carolina, launched April 1.  YEA! is a nationally recognized program that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs during the academic school year. 

Students learn how to set up, own, and operate fully formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.  YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job. 

As part of the program, students generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies.  Aiken County public, private, charter, and home-schooled students in grades 6 through 12 can apply for the program.  

YEA! classes will be held every Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and will run for 30 weeks, October 2014 to May 2015. The fun, projects-based approach includes guest speakers from local businesses, as well as dynamic field trips to local companies, as students learn how to develop and run a real enterprise. The host location for YEA! classes in Aiken is the University of South Carolina Aiken. 

How to Apply  

 Complete Part I and II of the application form available for download here. 

  1. Write your essay.

  2. Request a copy of your most recent transcripts from your school.

  3. Ask a teacher, guidance counselor, or religious or community leader to provide a recommendation as indicated in Part IV.  Recommendations should be kept confidential and mailed separately to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (address below).

  4. Mail your completed application to:

    Young Entrepreneurs Academy / Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce
    Attn:  Mandy Collins
    121 Richland Avenue, E
    Aiken, SC  29801

  5. Attend a personal interview with a YEA! Student Selection Committee member. 

Application Deadline, Personal Interviews, and Acceptance Notification 

Applications are accepted and student interviews are conducted on a rolling basis.  The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will grant admission to a maximum of twenty-four (24) students annually.  Applications for the 2014-2015 academic year will be accepted until such time as the class cap is achieved.  An application is considered complete when the Young Entrepreneurs Academy has received the application form, essay, transcript, and letter of recommendation.  

Personal interviews are mandatory for consideration for admission.  Interviews will be scheduled once a completed application is received.

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