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YEA! Young Entrepreneurs Academy

“Changing Entrepreneurial Education. ... "For Kids Who Mean Business.”

Greater South Bay (Los Angeles) Students in Grades 6-12,



Application Deadline: September 30, 2022.

Registration Fees: Pay Here.

Scholarships are available.


Groundbreaking Program

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking and exciting program that transforms local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Through the year-long program, students in grades 6-12 generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies. APPLY HERE.

  • Meets for 24 Weeks (October - May). Includes at least 1 field trip.
  • Held on Wednesdays 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM at Mira Costa High School (Manhattan Beach).
  • Supported by 50 entrepreneurial professionals, including CEO Roundtable.
  • Culminates in Investor Panel ("Shark-Tank"). Opportunity to win seed money.
  • Investor Panel Winner may be invited to National Saunders Competition.
  • Registration Fees: $20 Application. $895 Tuition (24-Week Program). Scholarships are available.

Student Eligibility

Eligible students are motivated and self-starting 6th-12th graders who either live in or attend school in the Greater South Bay of Los Angeles, California:

  • The Beach Cities & Palos Verdes Peninsula: El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes
  • The Southernmost Neighborhoods of the City of Los Angeles: Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Wilmington
  • Inland cities of the South Bay: Hawthorne, Gardena, Lawndale, Lomita, Carson, Inglewood
  • Unincorporated areas of L.A. County: Del Aire, Other small unincorporated "county strip" areas of Los Angeles County


Easy Application

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a life-changing program, which positively impacts students and the entire community alike. From exciting local business mentors and guest lecturers to dynamic field trips to local companies, students learn how to develop and run an actual enterprise in a fun, project-based approach. Simply complete the YEA! Application Form and pay the nominal Application Fee. Upon application review, students may be contacted for an interview. Upon acceptance, students will be guided to complete the registration process. (YEA Scholarships are available.)


Meet the YEA! 2022 Winner

Dallas Nurre - 1st Place Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA) and 3rd Place RIT Saunders National Competition - invented The Reptile Rover, a wearable sling for pet reptiles. A venture sparked by his desire to bring owners and their pets closer through doing more activities together, Nurre's energetic presentation style, coupled with his well-crafted business plan, won over sponsors and judges alike. 12-year-old Nurre was awarded start-up funds and a scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Nurre is also an accomplished water polo player. Nurre plans to, “grow my business to much larger heights and expand as much as I can. You’re going to see Reptile Rovers in local pet stores soon.” Nurre credits YEA for his success and adds, "Now, instead of just being a kid, I’m the CEO of a company.” … (Read more.)


"My son has had so many great educational experiences in MBUSD, but the one I wouldn't trade for the world is Young Entrepreneurs Academy. In a few short months I saw a 12 year old develop an understanding of business that most of us don't comprehend until adulthood. He now speaks comfortably about how products are designed, businesses are built, and ideas are transformed into sources of income. To this day he collaborates and presents ideas confidently with industry professionals (more than 2x to 3x his age) as he continues to build the brand. The instructors and mentors at YEA both informed and inspired him in a way that has forever changed his life for the better. It has been an invaluable opportunity and one that every parent should encourage their child to explore."

Lara Nurre - Parent

YEA! Mission

Develop and deliver experience-based entrepreneurship programs to young people to:

  • Enable them to transition successfully to adulthood
  • Help them to pursue their dreams by harnessing their creativity and energy
  • Help them transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world
  • Develop the character of tomorrow’s leaders based on personal principles and values
  • Enable educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce to provide successful and effective entrepreneurship programs for middle and high school students;
  • Create a culture of innovation in schools and communities across the nation

Foster the entrepreneurial mindset in young people, educators, and community members. APPLY HERE.

Meet the YEA! Team

Vesta Sung - YEA! Program Manager

Vesta Sung brings to YEA her international background, having been born in the USA and raised across three continents. Her experiences range from working at Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Disney, DirecTV, and a dot-com, and at her own start-ups as both a College Counselor and music professional. Vesta holds diverse degrees and certificates from Loyola Marymount University (BS, Computer Science), University of Southern California (MBA, Entrepreneurship & Finance), George Washington University (Project Management), and the University of California at Los Angeles (College Counseling). Vesta enjoys her two grown daughters, and in her spare time she is an active member of the community on the Board of Directors for the city’s Community Emergency Response Team, and as an EMT and Mass Care Supervisor for the Red Cross. Contact:

Rachel Thomas - YEA! Instructor

Rachel Thomas has been the YEA instructor since it came to Manhattan Beach in 2015. Her English degrees from Truman State University (BA) and University of Iowa (MA) coupled with 29 years of teaching, allows Rachel to reach students of varied learning styles effectively. With additional certificates from the University of Southern California (Business Management), the University of California at Irvine (GATE), and the Journalism Education Association (Journalism Educator), the Manhattan Beach Unified School District has been fortunate to have Rachel as a power-house English teacher for over 22 years of her three-decade career, initially at Manhattan Beach Middle School and currently at Mira Costa High School. Originally from historic, bridge-building Rock Island, IL, Rachel honed her entrepreneurial skills by co-managing a Tour Bus company and today at YEA. Contact:

Ro Schreiner - YEA! Program Support

Ro Schreiner is a mainstay in the Manhattan Beach educational scene. Completing her undergraduate work at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Ro also holds degrees from the University of Southern California (Liberal Studies) and Pepperdine University (Psychology). Retiring after 51 years as a History Teacher at Manhattan Beach Middle School, including 24 years as their Associate Student Board (ASB) instructor, Ro continues her mission to support youth through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Additionally, she serves on numerous committees including the Library Commission and the Manhattan Beach Coordinating Council. Ro's energy for teaching is only matched by her passion for travel, having visited every country she taught about to 7th graders, plus having impressively completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage with her husband. Contact:


Application Deadline: September 30, 2022.

Registration Fees: Pay Here.

Scholarships are available.


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