Sam’s Club and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation are investing in an innovative program to help spawn the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Thirteen chambers of commerce across the U.S. received $5,000 each in startup funds to launch the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) in new communities. The donation — $2,500 from Sam’s Club, matched by $2,500 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) — helps students ages 11 to 18 to go through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.
“Sam’s Club has helped small businesses start up and succeed since we opened 32 years ago. We are thrilled to help the Young Entrepreneurs Academy deliver entrepreneurial education to young people in the communities we serve,” said Rosalind Brewer, CEO and president of Sam’s Club.
YEA! is an innovative after-school educational program that works to transform middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. By the end of the 30-week class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.
Sam’s Club, USCCF and YEA! joined forces earlier this year to fuel growth and support for youth entrepreneurship and the future of small business in more than 100 U.S. communities. As a result of the collaboration, 13 new YEA! chapters will launch this year with the support of local Chambers of Commerce and the business community.
Funding provides the opportunity to launch an estimated 300 new student-run businesses and provide hands on, experiential learning for students in the YEA! program, spearheaded by the following funding recipients:
• Athens Chamber of Commerce, Athens, Texas
• Alexander City Chamber of Commerce, Alexander City, Alabama
• Central Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, Loxahachee, Florida
• Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, Hannibal, Missouri
• Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, Lakeland, Florida
• Montrose Chamber of Commerce, Montrose, Colorado
• National Association of Women Business Owners Detroit & Detroit Chamber of Commerce, Detroit, Michigan
• Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, Paso Robles, California
• Richland Area Chamber of Commerce, Mansfield, Ohio
• Templeton Chamber of Commerce, Templeton, California
• Union County Economic Development Partnership, Marysville, Ohio
• Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Bel Air, Maryland
• Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, Santa Rosa, Florida
“The U.S. Chamber Foundation is delighted to team up with YEA! and Sam’s Club, and we look forward to together inspiring young people through the spirit of the free enterprise system,” said Carolyn Cawley, managing director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “By offering support for these educational programs, we hope to emphasize what a powerful tool entrepreneurship can be.”
YEA! was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, with support from the Kauffman Foundation. YEA! now receives national support from the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club, to help promote the spirit of enterprise and build the next generation of business leaders in communities all across the country.