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Through their 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 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 even more out of their participation than they put in to it!

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.

Investor Panelist

A prestigious seat to hold, local Investor Panelists evaluate, judge, and provide start-up capital to the real student businesses at the exciting Investor Panel Event! The panel will allocate funding to various business concepts based on the quality of their pitch and presentation.

Business Mentor

Mentors work one-on-one with student businesses to assist in the creation of their business plans. In a 90-minute session for seven weeks, mentors provide guidance and feedback as students think through all aspects of their business creation, write their business plans, and prepare their Investor Panel presentations.

The CEO Roundtable

The CEO Roundtable is an exciting event that features 3-5 local CEOs discussing their roles, companies, backgrounds, and offer helpful business and networking advice to the students.

Elevator Pitches

Acting as a local Pitch Expert, this community member literally rides in an elevator with the students, providing them with an opportunity to practice and perfect their all-important Elevator Pitches before their Trade Show and Investor Panel events.

Graphic Designer

Graphic Designers work one-on-one with individual student businesses to produce logos and print material for the new enterprises, including business cards, brochures ,letterhead, and more. Working remotely, Graphic Designers invest approximately 5-10 hours in helping a new student business secure a professional and winning look and feel.

Web Developer

Web Developers have the opportunity to create a new, exciting online presence for a student business start-up that promotes the company well. Each developer invests about 10-20 hours including an in-class visit with the student business.

The Media Meet & Greet

This exciting event includes local reporters, anchors, producers, editors, and communications professionals who come in and speak with students about the power of the press, how to get stories covered, interviewing tips, and so much more!

Accountant Speaker

Accountant Guest Speakers come into the class to speak with students about budgeting, financing, and taxes while also touching on the role of an accountant and what small businesses owner should know about accounting services.

Attorney Speaker

Attorney Guest Speakers introduce students to legal business structures, intellectual property, patent & trademarks, and how the law and court systems interact with small businesses.

E-Commerce Speaker

E-Commerce Guest Speakers teach students about the great opportunities of conducting online business and explain the pros and cons of e-commerce and why itso important to small businesses in today’s economy.

Insurance Speaker

Insurance Guest Speakers speak with students in the class about the specific business insurance needs of the various student enterprises and discuss the risks different businesses face, how insurance works, and how small businesses benefit from the insurance industry.

Niche Marketing Speaker

Marketing Guest Speakers help students to understand what a niche market is and explain the pros and cons of operating within a niche market through their own personal experiences and work.

Designation & Awards Speaker

Awards Guest Speakers tell students how applying for, being nominated for, and receiving special awards can have a positive impact on a company’s culture, customer base, and marketing campaigns.

Taxes & Business Speaker

Tax Guest Speakers use their expertise and personal experiences to tell students what small businesses need to know about taxes, sales taxes, filing options, and the role of state and federal taxes on local enterprises.

Social Entrepreneur Speaker

Social Entrepreneurship Guest Speakers tell students about the importance of social entrepreneurship, the business behind non-profits, and the vital role that non-profit organizations play in a local community.

Banking Partner & Speaker

The Academy’s local Banking Partner gets involved directly with new student enterprises, provides free checking accounts to each business, and comes into the class to speak about the role of banking and business loans in small business.

Government Resource Speaker

Government Resource Guest Speakers typically include a Mayor, County Executive, or Economic Development leader to speak with students about the role that local municipalities can play in creating a friendly business environment and incentives for local companies.

Sales Speaker

Sales Guest Speakers speak to students about how to effectively sell their products or services to customers and draw on their own experiences to explain the basics of successful sales pitches, how to interact best with customers, and what students should prepare for their Trade Show Event.

Cool Business Field Trip

The “Cool” Business Field Trip is designed to get students excited about the promise of enterprise and features a hip and fun local company that is visually appealing with a dynamic speaker. If your company is all about fun, this is a wonderful community engagement opportunity for you.

Professional Style Field Trip

An exciting and fun trip leading up to the Investor Panel Event where students will pitch their plans for funding, this Extreme Makeover trip exposes students to the business aspect of a salon as well as the importance of dressing for success and presenting oneself in a professional manner.

Advertising/Marketing Field Trip

An important part of any enterprise, this visit teaches students about various advertising, marketing, and public relations strategies that are vital to small business success. The students will learn how to enhance their company’s brand while attracting more customers and generating more sales.

Franchising Field Trip

The Franchising Field Trip helps students understand the real possibility of creating a quality branded enterprise that is replicable to serve more customers in more locations across the country and/or world. This is a great opportunity for students to learn the importance of this unique type of business operations and structure.

Business of Sports Field Trip

A field trip to a dynamic local sports stadium or place of recreation provides a fun way for students to learn the business and operations behind these popular local companies. Through the trip, students will discover the behind-the-scenes approach to fun and games!

County Clerk’s Office Field Trip

A momentous day when the students file their businesses legally as local DBAs, the County Clerk Field Trip helps students understand how government and legal structures impact local commerce.

To learn about opportunities to get involved, click here. Participants are required to sign a volunteer contract and a non-disclosure agreement, which can be picked up at the Chamber office, 109 E. Second St., Ottawa.

If you are interested in getting involved with YEA! and being inspired by your community’s great young minds, contact Program Manager Sammie Ford III at (913) 439-0672 or email