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Young Entrepreneurs Academy Is Under Way at UAlbany's School of Business

Area middle and high-school students learning to start businesses

YEA! students listen to instructor William Brigham at UAlbany

Young Entrepreneurs Academy students learn about creating a business plan with instructor William Brigham at the University at Albany. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (December 17, 2010) --

An organic candy line, a snowboard shop, and a jewelry business are among the business ideas being developed by area students in grades 6-12 at the University at Albany's School of Business chapter of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!).

Eleven students -- from La Salle Institute, Bethlehem middle and high schools, Shaker High, Doane Stuart, Niskayuna, Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons, and Eagle Point -- are taking weekly classes through the academic year to learn how to start their own businesses. Most recently, they have been studying the basics of writing a business plan. Included in the plans are all the components of a successful business, including financing, marketing, and selling the product or idea.

Students will launch and operate legally-registered and fully formed enterprises during the course of the academic year. Students will pitch their business plans to a panel of investors, obtain funding, and launch their businesses.  Students will also showcase their goods and services at the YEA! Trade Show. Historically, more than 50 percent of the young entrepreneurs in the YEA! Program continue their businesses after graduation from the academy.

The program, which runs through June 2011, is taught by William Brigham, director of UAlbany's award-winning Small Business Development Center.

William Brigham listens as a student makes a point.

William Brigham listens as a student asks a question. (Photo Mark Schmidt)  

"We are deeply grateful to two generous donors, Michael Hoffman and Brian Straughter of Turf Hotels, Inc., for helping us launch this chapter," said School of Business Dean Donald Siegel. "We thank them for their staunch support of entrepreneurship, the University at Albany, and the Capital Region."

The program's motto is "Start as a Student, Finish as a CEO." Launched at the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester, the program is credited with building students' confidence and entrepreneurial skills.

About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand and launch their business. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job--not just take a job. YEA!’s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy was launched at the University of Rochester in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old in the United States, thereby making the program available to students at a variety of geographical regions, and providing them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, please call 585.272.3535 or visit

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