The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) local chapter board is executing a new program to create young entrepreneurs, and two students from Arsenal Technical High School, J’Shaun Harney, a 9th grader, and Biko Barringer, a 12th grader, are involved.

The program is called YEA! (Young Entrepreneurs Academy). It’s a national model that has recently come to Indianapolis. And Harney and Barringer are 2 of only 14 students in the inaugural class. The year-long program literally transforms students into entrepreneurs through a project-based approach. The curriculum features both a credit bearing in-school elective and an after-school enrichment component.

Through the course of the program, students work with local business leaders. With that guidance, students take a business from an idea, through a business plan and then pitch to investors. They obtain funding, develop brand identity and even get a chance to participate in a trade show and launch their idea toward the end of the program.

The YEA! curriculum helps students discover the power of themselves and their ideas at a very young age. Many YEA! student businesses continue on for years after the students graduate from the Academy. And 20% of YEA! graduates start a second business or organization soon after they graduate.

Debra S. Kunce, FAIA, a NAWBO Indy board member and the owner of Core Planning Strategies said, “This program is developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. It’s showing that starting a new business is a very viable option. It will build strong, independent and sustainable businesses and business leaders for Indianapolis. I’m thrilled IPS students are taking advantage of this new opportunity.”

We’re thrilled, too, that two IPS students are getting such a unique opportunity to help make their own future!