With a tagline of “Start as a Student… Finish as a CEO,” this fall the Frisco ISD will start their third year of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students, ages 11 to 18, through the process of starting and running real businesses/social movements over the course of a full academic year. Founded by the Frisco Chamber of Commerce, the Frisco Economic Development Corporation, and the Frisco Independent School District, 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 for real money, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity, and participate in a tradeshow all while gaining true-to-life business experience.
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.
At an information meeting on Monday, the 16th, the School District and Chamber of Commerce talked about the excitement and success they’ve had with the program in the past. The program is for any student in the 6th-12th grade, who is interested in exploring business and finance. Working like a crash-course in real business crash course, the students have to develop real products or services and real business plans. They have to acquire investors to raise funds and, in March 2014, they have to present the ideas to an investor panel that selects the best one. The winner wins a trip to Rochester, New York, and represents Frisco ISD in a national competition. Last year’s representative from Frisco went on to the finals.
The YEA! 2013 class starts on October 7th and runs for 33 weeks. Meeting every Tuesday from 4:30-7:30pm in the Career and Technical Education Center, the class is limited to 24 students with a rolling admission date, and the last day to apply is September 30th. The program does cost $295, but that includes book and supplies. Scholarships are also awarded based on needs and merit. To apply, students need to:
- Complete the application
- Write a 300-word essay on:Successful entrepreneurs share similar characteristics, such as persistence, inquisitiveness, self-confidence, tolerance for failure, creativity, innovation, personal initiative, competitiveness, commitment, and strong management and organizational skills. Describe a situation when you demonstrated at least two of these characteristics, and the outcome.
- Gather their transcript and recommendations and mail them to YEA!
Whether the young, budding business owner is in your house or down the block, this program is one of the things that sets Frisco apart as a community above all others. Entrepreneurship is a key competence that boosts competitiveness and growth. By encouraging initiative, creativity, confidence, problem-solving skills, and calculated risk-taking, young “Frisonians” in the YEA! are leading the way to profitable businesses.