Leadership Lynchburg Flagship Program

Leadership Lynchburg Executive Forum

Leadership Lynchburg One-Days

Leadership Lynchburg Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Leadership Lynchburg Alumni


We are so thrilled that we were able to offer this program for five years and launch over 30 businesses in our region. Several of which are still up and running.   We are currently not offering this program but will notify area middle & high schools of future offerings.

IMG_5809editYoung Entrepreneurs Academy 2016 Graduate, Nathan Simpson, co-creator of True Dimension
(pictured second from left) who won the national SkillsUSA Competition in the entrepreneurship category with his teammates!
Nathan also competed in the YEA National Semi-finals in May. View story here.

YEA! Overview

Check out the YEA! commercial and join other students from the region who have their own business!

About the Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school go-getters how to start and run their own, REAL businesses.

Celebrating the Spirit of Enterprise and Innovation
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! has helped more than 4,000 students nationwide launch over 3,000 businesses and social movements. The Lynchburg Chapter is excited to introduce its fourth year of YEA! to our community and start the 2016-17 academic year.

Make a Job—Don’t Just Take a Job!

YEA! guides students through the process of fulfilling their very own American dream. By bridging the business and educational communities students are taught by trained instructors, and are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and mentors. Over the course of the program, students:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Interact with business professionals
  • Attend field trips for an behind-the-scenes look at local businesses
  • Pitch their business plan to local investors for startup funding and the opportunity to advance to regional and national competitions.
  • Legally register their businesses
  • Participate in a local YEA! Trade Show
  • Launch and run their own business or social movement
  • Graduate from the program with lifelong leadership and business skills

Sample Calendar

YEA! classes meet October through May, for three hours weekly. There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses.

Aug. 1 – Oct. – Applications Accepted
End of Oct – Admitted Student & Parent Orientation
November – Weekly Classes Begin (Tuesday’s from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. @ Central Virginia Community College
March  – YEA! Investor Panel
May – YEA! Trade Show
May  – Regional Competition (winning business only)
May – National Competition (winning business only)
May  – Graduation

Student Selection Process

YEA! welcomes applications from all students in grades 6-12 who are between 11 and 18 years old. Students interested in starting their own, real businesses may apply for acceptance into the program by completing the application, which includes an essay and short-answer questions, school transcripts and letter of recommendation.

Once the completed application is received, students may be invited to attend an in-person interview. Acceptance into the program is based on all aspects of the completed application as well as the personal interview. Prior business experience is not required, nor is it required to have a business idea prior to the start of class.

Get Involved

Share your business wisdom with aspiring young entrepreneurs and help them get started on the path to success! We’re seeking expert professionals to volunteer their time as guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and more. The time YEA! students spend with adults who encourage their futures is invaluable, and you can play an important role in guiding our future leaders.


YEA! USA is made possible by the Kauffman Foundation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. We also thank our national supporters, Sam’s Club and Southwest Airlines.

 Success Stories

Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

Watch 2015 Saunders Scholars Video

YEA! Student Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine

Contact Us
For more information, call (434) 832-2595 or e-mail Nicole Midkiff, Program Manager.

YEA! Fast Fact Snapshot:

  • 100% of Academy Graduates Graduate High School on Time
  • 99% of Academy Graduates Enroll in College
  • 19% of YEA! Students Start Second Businesses
  • 50% of YEA! Students Continue Business for More Than 1 Year
  • 49% of YEA! Students are Female
  • 56% of YEA! Students are Underrepresented Minorities
  • 42% of YEA! Students matriculate to host institution when hosted on a college campus YEA!
  • YEA! Students have been awarded over a half million dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!
  • 1,384 students have graduated from YEA! and have launched 1,093 enterprises.
  • 7,300 business and community leaders have supported the students’ experiences as YEA! volunteers.

Student participation includes Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, Campbell and City of Lynchburg.
View Local Impact Sheet here.

YEA! strengthens the community and the community strengthens YEA!. Students are able to network with and develop relationships with local business leaders, create jobs, and launch businesses in their own backyard. Students see that they can make a difference within the communities in which they live. The enthusiasm and success of the students are empowering for the entire community!