Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Young Entrepreneurs Academy ignites spirit of entrepreneurship & spurs economic growth he Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce and Community Consolidated School District 15, are pleased to offer the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, known as YEA!, for its third year to transform middle students into business owners as part of a weekly entrepreneurship education class beginning this fall.

YEA! is a cutting-edge program that guides students ages 11 to 14, or middle school students, through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy helps the PACC to fulfill its goal of supporting small business development in our community by training our future leaders and helping them to establish strong, lasting relationships with their hometown business community,” said Chamber Executive Director Steven Gaus. “We are thrilled to have graduated 34 students who launched 30 businesses since we’ve launched the program. We’re also thrilled to have engaged 42 local business leaders who have served as mentors, instructors and guides as a means of giving back to our community.”

“YEA! offers a unique model that helps bridge the business and academic communities together, while creating meaningful ties to the area for students,” said YEA! Founder and CEO Gayle Jagel. “We are excited that YEA! will continue to make its mark in the Palatine community.”

The program currently operates in more than 100 communities all over the U.S., with the goal of expanding to chambers of commerce, colleges, universities, and school districts in every community across the country.

“YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job,” Jagel added. “At a time when small business growth is declining in the U.S., young entrepreneurs with the right training can become a powerful force of innovative thinkers and even employers.”

During the 30-week commitment, students brainstorm and form their business ideas, make pitches to investors for startup funding, file their DBAs and launch their own businesses or social movements. Mentors and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, such as graphic design, web development, law, accounting, retail, manufacturing and technology, are invited to support the students throughout the hands-on curriculum as mentors, field trip hosts or guest lecturers.

“One of the interesting components of YEA! is the behind-the-scenes knowledge that local business leaders are able to share with students. Community support strengthens the program, and the Academy strengthens the community,” Gaus said. “The students also gain skills that they can apply to any field they choose to enter, and will have the foundation to become future leaders of their industries.”

YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY, with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! now receives support from the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club.

YEA! classes are run by Palatine Area Chamber of Commerce and hosted at Winston Campus in Palatine from October 15 to May 15.

For additional information, visit, contact Steven Gaus at or call (847) 359-7200.