• Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!)

YEA! Trade Show

Join our student CEOs as they unveil their businesses at their Trade Show on Thursday, June 14 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at Hotel Julien Dubuque. These students have been participating in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) since October 2017 and are wrapping up their YEA! experience at the Trade Show event. The Trade Show will proceed Technori Dubuque, which will be held in the Hotel Julien Grande Ballroom at 6:30 p.m.

Please contact Justine Paradiso at the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce for more information on the Trade Show and the YEA! program at (563) 557-9200 or jehlers@dubuquechamber.com.


(L to R) Makenna Dixon-Smooth Traveler, Andi Waller-Natural For You, Colin Hollenback-QuickTools, Claire Siegert-Let's Get Social, Garett Simon-CanDo, Josh Patterson-Discreet Aromas

YEA! 2018 Investor Panel results

The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2017-18 Young Entrepreneurs Academy at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium on Wednesday, April 4 from 5-7 p.m. where each of your students presented their business plan to a panel of investors and received real funding for their businesses!

The panel selected one student business to represent the Dubuque area nationally at the Saunders Scholarship Competition in Rochester, New York! This year's student business selected is Makenna Dixon, CEO of Smooth Traveler. Makenna is a student at Mazzuchelli Middle School. Our Runner-up was Andi Waller, CEO of Natural For You. Andi is a senior at Dubuque Senior High School.

About Young Entrepreneurs Academy

Over the course of 25 weeks, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) teaches middle and high school students how to start and run their own real business or social movement.

Developed at the University of Rochester in 2004 with the support of a grant from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! has graduated over 4,000 students across the country who have started over 3,000 businesses and social movements!  YEA! graduates start the program as students, and leave as CEOs of their own companies!

The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to bring YEA! to the Dubuque community!

Over the course of the program, students:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Interact with business professionals
  • Pitch their business plan to potential investors (think ABC’s “Shark Tank”!)
  • Obtain funding
  • Legally register their businesses
  • Participate in a trade show
  • Actually launch their own businesses or social movements

This program offers students the chance to:

  • Develop hands-on entrepreneurial experience
  • Learn about real businesses - why they succeed or fail.
  • Hear from local entrepreneurs.
  • Become more confident in their ideas and abilities.

Through interactions with business professionals during the year, YEA! students gain some of the most important knowledge and experience they need to succeed.

Local professionals volunteer their time and expertise as instructors, guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and much more.

The time YEA! students spend with adults who encourage their futures is invaluable, and participants often report getting  more out of their participation than they put in to it!

YEA! on Facebook

Apply today!

If you are interested in becoming involved with YEA!, contact Justine at the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce at 563.557.9200 or email jehlers@dubuquechamber.com or click the button below to fill out an application. Know a student who would be a great fit? Click the nomination button below!

YEA! Graduate on Shark Tank!

YEA! Graduate on Shark Tank!

Rachel Zietz is a 2012 graduate of the YEA! Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce class in Florida. She is the CEO of Gladiator Lacrosse, and appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank in May 2016.

View her on Shark Tank HERE

Questions About Young Entrepreneurs?