Program seeks middle, high school entrepreneurs

A national program for aspiring entrepreneurs in grades 6-12 is adding another site in Central Ohio.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy has chosen the Point at Otterbein University to host its fifth Ohio program.

YEA!, as it’s known, teaches students to develop, start and run a business or social enterprise while imparting skills such as public speaking, strategic planning and problem solving. Participants meet weekly from October to May, researching and writing a business plan and pitching their proposals to investors. Some students receive start-up capital, and the top proposal from each site moves on to compete for college scholarships at an event in Rochester, New York.

According to the organization, attendees have started numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, including Gladiator Lacrosse, which was founded by a 13-year-old Florida girl and featured on the TV show “Shark Tank.” 

Otterbein is one of five YEA! sites in the Buckeye State, including the Union County Economic Development Partnership in Marysville and Ohio Christian University in Circleville. Applications for the 2017-18 session will be taken through Sept. 15. Tuition for the program, which includes all materials and field trips, is $395.

The program was launched at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of the Kauffman Foundation. Current partners include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Campaign for Free Enterprise.

For more information, go to yeausa.org.