The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is now accepting “early bird” applications from Staten Island high school students for next year’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) program, running from October 2016 to May 2017.SICC NEW RED LOGO

The YEA! program is the only program of its kind in New York City. It is hosted by the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation, helping motivated high school students who are interested in creating and establishing their own businesses. The class will meet once a week (not during school breaks) on Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Staten Island Technical High School.

This past year, businesses such as “Banded Bands,” a versatile headband with proceeds from sales going to empower young women, and “Fly 2B Free”, a cutting-edge flotation device for swimmers, were among the many ventures taken from concept to product.

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Students enrolled in the YEA! program learn from local business owners and educators to develop ideas, create business platforms and then deliver a funding pitch at the Investors Panel – the YEA! version of TV’s Shark Tank. Students are also mentored through the trademark and branding of their product. Upon completing the program, students own and manage their own functioning businesses.


“Those who complete the 30-week program walk away with skills they need to open their own business,” said Chamber president Linda Baran. “And even if they never open a business, they learn skills they can utilize all their life. There are many benefits to receiving hands-on access to local businesses, and the Chamber Is happy to be able to provide that access to our YEA students.”


Applications are available at For more information about the program, call 718-727-1900 or email Interested students must submit their most recent school transcript, one recommendation letter, one essay pertaining to leadership, and a $20 application fee. Applications received by July 1 are eligible for a $10 application fee. Each applicant must also attend a personal interview once their paper work has been received.


About YEA! Started at the University of Rochester in 2004, YEA! began as a weekly class, taught on the university campus, and has since expanded to more than 100 communities across 38 states. Throughout the year, students learn to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch and run their own businesses or social movements.