The Knoxville Chamber is excited to announce that it has accepted 24 talented students from the area to participate in Knoxville’s inaugural class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Ranging in age from 11 to 17, these students represent 14 different schools within Knox County.
“We’re thrilled about the top-notch students we’ve selected for Knoxville’s inaugural YEA! class,” said Lori Fuller, vice president of marketing and events for the Knoxville Chamber. “The launch of the program has been a year in the making, so we’re excited to get things underway and see what these great young minds will produce.”
On Oct. 13, the students will embark on a 30-week journey through the ins and outs of owning and operating a real business. Students will attend one, three-hour class a week from October through April. In this time, students will brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to real investors, obtain funding, file their DBAs, and by the end, actually launch their own business or social movement.
However, the students won’t spend all of their time in the classroom. The class will experience six exciting field trips during the program, which include trips to a food franchise, a personal style business, and an ad agency.
YEA! is presented by Pilot Flying J and hosted by the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business. The Chamber has partnered with the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and Tech 2020 to help with YEA! programming.
Thanks to a $15,000 grant that the Chamber’s Partnership Initiatives Fund received from the Alcoa Foundation, tuition for all students participating in the program for the first two years has been reduced from $395 to $160. Seven students in this year’s program have received full scholarships.
In addition to the Alcoa Foundation’s investment in the program, Clayton Bank is also a supporting sponsor.
Students will go through orientation on Oct. 12. The first full class will be on Oct. 13. Follow the class’ progress on the YEA! Knoxville Chamber Facebook page.
Inaugural Knoxville YEA! Class
Frenando Blevins, West High School
Dareece Blue, Career Magnet Academy
Bailey Butler, West High School
Katherine Chen, West Valley Middle School
Chase Countiss, West High School
Christian Crawford, Vine Middle School
Aaron Frazer, Christian Academy of Knoxville
Josiah Gibson, West Valley Middle School
Thomas Gore, Bearden High School
Ethan Hoskins, Farragut Middle School
Anna Huss, Karns Middle School
Cooper Jones, Catholic High School
Artman Kasraei, West High School
Ashton Mayo-Beavers, Episcopal School of Knoxville
Alise Ndacayisaba, Career Magnet Academy
Paul Nodit, West High School
Mick Rash, West High School
Nathan Respess, West High School
Santiago Sanabria, Powell High School
Alex Seaver, L&N STEM Academy
Sierra Shuck-Sparer, Nature's Way Montessori
Noah Smith, Webb School
Spencer Terry, Central High School