Sam’s Club, U.S. Chamber Foundation, and Young Entrepreneurs Academy Team Up to Support Youth Education and Local Communities

BENTONVILLE, Ark., WASHINGTON, and ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) and the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) today received a $250,000 donation from Sam’s Club, a leading membership club serving the small business community since 1983. The Sam’s Club sponsorship fuels growth and support for YEA!, an innovative national educational program that works to transform middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs.

The year-long collaboration enables more than 8,000 students grades 6 -12 across 38 states to participate in YEA!, a 30-week entrepreneurship class to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their own, legally-registered companies.

As part of the sponsorship, Sam’s Club awarded $75,000 in “Success Made Simple” startup funds to expand the YEA! program to 30 new communities beginning in fall 2015. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is now accepting applications from local chambers of commerce that want to start a YEA! program and this summer will select 30 chambers to receive up to $2,500 in Sam’s Club “Success Made Simple” startup funds. Local chambers of commerce can apply for the “Success Made Simple” startup funds now through May 30 at

“Sam’s Club has helped small businesses startup and succeed since we opened 32 years ago. We are thrilled to build a relationship with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and U.S. Chamber Foundation to help them deliver entrepreneurial education to thousands of young people in the communities we serve,” said Seong Ohm, senior vice president of Membership Services at Sam’s Club. “Eight out of 10 new entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months, so we’re on a mission at Sam’s Club to save our members time and money on merchandise and critical business services. Learning about savings with Sam’s Club will allow YEA! students to thrive and succeed in the long term. We look forward to growing with these amazing students and the chambers and universities that support them.”

“The U.S. Chamber Foundation is excited to team up with YEA! and Sam’s Club, and we look forward to together inspiring young people through the spirit of the free enterprise system,” said Carolyn Cawley, senior vice president of Strategic Development at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “By offering support for these educational programs, we hope to emphasize what a powerful tool entrepreneurship can be.”

Fun, project-based YEA! programs are typically offered through school districts, colleges and universities, and chambers of commerce. The program is currently available in 109 locations in 38 states and continues to expand.

“YEA! is designed to bridge the business and educational community, while developing confident, skilled future leaders,” said Gayle Jagel, Founder & CEO of YEA!. “Our new alliance with Sam’s Club is an example of that.”

In addition to the startup funds, the collaboration includes:

  • YEA! curriculum enhancements, such as behind-the-scenes student field trips to Sam’s Club and a classroom case study highlighting the perseverance and success of entrepreneur and Sam’s Club founder Sam Walton.
  • Local Sam’s Club and chamber leaders to serve on a YEA! Investor Panel to judge student business pitches and award start-up funding. Top entrepreneurs students will advance to a regional competition and receive a $500 Sam’s Club shopping spree, inclusive of membership.
  • Sam’s Club and chamber leaders will judge the YEA! Saunders Scholars Regional and National Competitions that award college scholarships to America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.
  • Select YEA! students can pitch their business plan to Sam’s Club buyers, learning to prepare their business for retail and potentially showcase their products in select clubs and

“This alliance is designed to generate legendary community engagement and teach young people to embrace their passion, live their dream, and change the world,” Jagel said.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation and YEA! today also launched a new website,, which features stories of YEA! students and alumni and provides access to “Success Made Simple” startup funds applications. The U.S. Chamber Foundation continues to support local chambers of commerce in opening YEA! chapters throughout the country.

To learn more about enrolling in YEA! or starting a program in your community, visit

About YEA! Graduates

  • 99% of Academy graduates enroll in college.
  • 49% of YEA! students are female.
  • 56% of YEA! students are under-represented minorities.
  • 19% of YEA! students start second businesses.
  • 100% of Academy graduates graduate from high school on time.
  • YEA! students have been  awarded millions of dollars in scholarships as a result of their involvement in YEA!.
  • 2,298 YEA! students nationwide have launched more than 1,700 real businesses in America.

About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club®, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is a leading membership warehouse club offering savings and services to millions of members in 647 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rice. Sam’s Club offers affordable access to innovative services for families and small business owners, including travel, payroll and HR services, protection plans, legal solutions, cash rewards and more. To learn more about saving time and money with Sam’s Club, visit

About the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

About YEA!
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and launch and run their own real, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program includes guest speakers from the local business community and behind-the-scenes trips to local companies and empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy today serves thousands of students nationwide.  In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation.

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SOURCE Young Entrepreneurs Academy

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