Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA! Polk), a chapter of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce.

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is one of the newest chapters of the nationally recognized Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). YEA! Polk is for students in grades 6-12 who have demonstrated creativity, innovative ideas, academic effort, determination, enthusiasm, the ability to communicate, and a commitment to their community and family. Students who apply to the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) should be responsible individuals who pursue goals with tenacity. Prior experience in business is not required. The YEA! Polk academic year begins in early November and ends in May. Classes meet weekly, on Tuesday’s from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  
The location of the YEA! Polk class is the campus of Southeastern University, 1000 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33801 (Natural & Health Sciences Building). Thank you to Southeastern University and the Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership!

Once enrolled, all classes are mandatory. Three (3) unexcused absences will be cause for review to determine further participation in the class.

The Lakeland Chamber is excited to announce its third year with the start of the 2017-2018 YEA! Polk Academic Year. The application process for the 2017-2018 YEA! Polk program is open.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy Tuition
YEA! Academic Year is $495 per student. Books and supplies are included with price of tuition. Scholarships are available.

Parties will be responsible for any remaining tuition due. Cancellations one month prior to the start of class or later will be non-refundable. 

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 and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more! 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. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc., which 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 (863) 688-8551 Ext 229, or email

 Here are some examples of businesses that YEA! students have started in the past
  • Gladiator Lacrosse – Rachel Zietz realized the need for quality, affordable lacross equipment and started her online company selling just that!  Now students everywhere can find high-quality lacrosse equipment at an affordable price
  • Young & Fit Forever – Elishia Ortiz combined her love of dance with her desire to end childhood obesity to make her company’s first product, an exercise DVD for little kids that is now selling in 13 Wegmans Supermarkets
  • Intel 4 India – Ani Patel was struck by the inequity of education in rural India and was inspired to create a business that sets up fluent English teachers with a webcam, fax machine and laptop so they can teach students in rural villages across the country. Over 500 students have enrolled in Intel 4 India, and Ani has been even been featured in Success Magazine and Newsweek.
  • Bragg’s Fine Swine – Joe Bragg raises healthy, vaccinated, free-range pigs and sells them, along with recipes, to local butchers
  • Brazeau Engines – Matthew Brazeau’s company makes electric skateboards.
  • Seniors To Seniors – Shryea Patel’s company offers classes for senior citizens ages sixty and over that provide new and different activities combined with a fun and interesting learning experience. Classes promote socialization, bonding, and exploration and include sessions such as art, technology lessons, book clubs, board games, and more.
  • UrLocker – Jason Shanley creates decorative covers for your school locker which not only allow students to personalize their locker, but it actually protects the locker as well. Jason won a $30,000 college scholarship in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Bright Ideas Business Plan competition.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting year-long class that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. Complete with dynamic guest speakers from the local business community and exciting behind-the-scenes trips to local companies, the fun, projects-based YEA! approach empowers students to take charge of their futures in a profound way.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy today 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.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is not only a wonderful tool to teach students about business, but also a great way to build confident leaders with values. An excellent instrument to unify the business and educational communities, YEA! continues to expand across the country to fulfill our mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job.

**You can now apply online!**

Online Student Application:

For additional information on how to participate or sponsor the YEA! program, contact Rebecca Fortier, Director of Programs & Events, at or (863) 688-8551 Ext. 229

Be sure to view the brief videos below for an overview of the program and just a few of the success stories.

YEA! Student Application

Phil Saunders and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy YEA! 2015
2016 YEA! Saunders Scholars Finalists