• Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

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  • Our "little program that could" just launched America's Next Top Young Entrepreneur and a Scholars Scholar National Champion. Maxx Stewart, a 14 year old from Meeker Middle School and a product of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber) won the national championship! Maxx's company, SpyderGrpyx transforms and revolutionizes lacrosse stick grips.

    In May 2016, Maxx represented our region at the semi-finals in Rochester, NY and competed against 100 other student-CEOs to be a national finalist. He competed in D.C. against 6 other entrepreneurial start ups and presented to a panel of eight business leaders. At the end of the day the judges voted for Maxx as the National Champion. This program does not get enough hype - please help me spread the word to congratulate Maxx, but also recruit future entrepreneurs to the program. Many thanks to Carmetrus Parker for being the Program Manager and stewarding this effort with such a big heart!






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


    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 Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is excited to start the fourth year of YEA! in our community in the 2016-17 academic year.


    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 a 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


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

    [August 15, 2016]         Early Admissions Application Deadline (applications reviewed on a rolling-basis)

    [September 30, 2016]    Fall Application Deadline


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


    Start as a student, finish as a CEO! Students ages 11 to 18 and in grades six through 12 are eligible to apply. This program offers students the chance to:
    Still interested in learning more? Students, fill out our YEA! Student Interest Form to hear from your local Program Manager!  

    Ready to apply? We offer two easy ways to submit your application!

    Apply online


    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.

    If you are interested in getting involved with YEA! and being inspired by your community’s great young minds,
    contact Lynnette Buffington at 253-682-1726 or email


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


    Click below to meet our National Saunders Champion Maxx Stewart

    The News Tribune Article

    U.S. Chamber Foundation Article

    Facebook Post

    Click below to see why students nationwide participate in YEA!

    YEA! HYPE Video

    Watch 2015 Saunders Scholars Video

    YEA! Student Feature in Entrepreneur Magazine

    For more information, call (253) 682-1726 or email Lynnette Buffington at yea@tacomachamber.org.