YEA Program – Inspiring Teen Entrepreneurs

Inspiration and Motivation through Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA Program)

Going into business for yourself is both scary and exciting. It is a learning process that doesn’t have a manual for all the questions or obstacles you may encounter. But the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Keene State College (YEA) and co-sponsor The Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, have given students the opportunity to learn from local business owners about their experiences in success and failure. It was designed to help transform middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. These students will develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own completely designed companies and social platform. They will listen to vibrant guest speakers from the local business community and attend exciting behind-the-scenes trips to local companies. The fun, projects-based YEA Program approach to learning empowers students to take charge of their futures in an insightful way.

ABTech Helping to Empower Todays Youth

Ken Abbott, President and Founder of ABTech, was asked to participate in the YEA program as an instructor in 2015. He was excited about the opportunity to work with students interested in becoming entrepreneurs themselves. The program was broken down into 3 segments:

  • Segment 1 was the idea phase where groups would think up business ideas and choose the one they believed to be the most successful.
  • Segment 2 was creating the business plan; a written layout covering marketing, finance, and operations.
  • Segment 3 was actually launching the business, going in front of investors (a friendly version of the TV show “Shark Tank”), and filing the necessary paperwork out with the state of New Hampshire.

Ken was an instructor in segment 2 working with the students on creating their business plan. The groups would also have a one-on-one mentor to help them with any questions they may have and guide them through the process. When I asked Ken about his experience with the program he said “To see the focus in students who are eager to learn the world of business was an experience itself”.

yea program ken abbott nick phillips

(Left to right) YEA mentor Jake Kundert from C&S Wholesalers, student business team Aiden Jasmin and Nick Phillips, and YEA mentor Ken Abbott

Student and Young Entrepreneur, Nick Phillips was recently asked about the mentors and the YEA program.  He stated that “Ken has been very beneficial to us by helping to write our business plan and assisting with starting our company.  He has given us new and innovative ideas and is always available for me personally when I have questions for him. Ken is a super reliable guy with knowledge and expertise that we just don’t have at this time and at this point, I consider him a friend that I would be very happy to work with in the future as well.”  -Nick Phillips

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is not only a wonderful tool to teach students about business, but also a great way to build confident leaders. With his involvement in the YEA! Ken has become more aware of the importance of teaching the younger generation about succeeding as an entrepreneur. He is currently helping as a mentor for the 2016 YEA! Program and is enjoying the experience working with the students through all three segments.