Wanted: Young entepreneurs for business academy

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BRUNSWICK — Tomorrow’s business owners can get a boost with the help of a new program at Southern New Hampshire University.

The Young Entepreneurs Academy, also known as YEA!, guides students through the process of creating their own business. The program was developed at the University of Rochester in New York, and its expansion to SNHU marks the first and only academy of its kind in Maine.

The academy begins Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, for students ages 11-18. Contact Erin Blomquist, YEA! program manager, or Steven Wallace, president of the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber, at 725-8797 ext. 5, or info@midcoastmaine.com, for more information.

“We are delighted to host the (academy) in our facility, both in our capacity as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and because SNHU’s academic reputation is business,” said William Yerxa, director of SNHU’s campus at 10 Tibbetts Drive. “As one who started a business at age 8 myself, the logic of engaging our youth in the culture and processes of entrepreneurialism is inescapable … the earlier, the better.”

Tuition for the 99-hour program, which runs through June, is $295, Wallace said. For students in need of financial assistance, local businesses have expressed willingness to pay up to half the tuition cost, he said.

Students will go through the process of starting a real business or social movement, and by graduation they will own and operate businesses that are fully formed and functioning and can be continued beyond the program.

YEA! sites include colleges, universities and high schools around the country.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.