Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Aiken YEA!



Building our next generation of leaders with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce is pleased to offer this inspirational program for aspiring entrepreneurs in our community.

Celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise and Innovation
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! has helped more than 4,000 students nationwide launch over 3,000 businesses and social movements. 

Make a Job—Don’t Just Take a Job!

YEA! guides students through the process of fulfilling their very own American dream. By bridging the business and educational communities students are taught by trained instructors, and are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and mentors. Over the course of the program, students:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Interact with business professionals
  • Attend field trips for a behind-the-scenes look at local businesses
  • Pitch their business plan to local investors for startup funding and the opportunity to advance to regional and national competitions
  • Participate in a local YEA! Trade Show
  • Launch and run their own business or social movement
  • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills


YEA! classes meet on Tuesdays from Oct. - May, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at USC Aiken. There are no classes during regular school holidays.


Student Selection Process

YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades 6-12 who are between 11 and 18 years old. Students interested in starting their own, real business may apply for acceptance into the program by completing the application, which includes an essay and short-answer questions, school transcripts and letter of recommendation.

Once the completed application is received, students will be invited to attend an in-person interview. Acceptance into the program is based on all aspects of the completed application as well as the personal interview. Prior business experience is not required, nor is it required to have a business idea prior to the start of class.


$295 per student - Scholarships are available


Interested in learning more, click here.


Apply Today for the 2016-2017 Class 



Nominate a Student for YEA!



Start as a student, finish as a CEO!

Visit the national YEA! website at  



Join Aiken YEA! on Facebook and follow along as we grow our new businesses.


2016 Aiken YEA! is proudly sponsored by:

Champion Sponsors:




Premier Partner:      


Investor Partner:   


Host Sponsor: USCA

Education Sponsor: Aiken County Public Schools

Transportation Sponsor: City of Aiken

Media Sponsor: WJBF TV

Hospitality Sponsor: Holiday Inn Express- Aiken 


YEA! USA is made possible by the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. We also thank our national supporters, Sam’s Club and Southwest Airlines

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