November 21, 2016
MEDIA CONTACT:  Caroline Taylor 
Communications Manager
(703) 525-2400
Chamber Announces New YEA! Class of 2017, Welcomes 2016 YEA! Graduate to Arlington Chamber
ARLINGTON, Va.  The Arlington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that students will be participating in this year's  Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) , a Chamber program that gives aspiring entrepreneurs in middle and high school the opportunity to start and manage their own business or social venture. The Chamber also recently welcomed Yorktown High School senior Mark Yates, Jr., the CEO/Founder of Kudu Lawn Care, LLC and a 2016 YEA! graduate , as the  youngest new member of the Chamber. 
Kate Bates welcomes YEA! graduate Mark Yates, Jr. to the Chamber

This year's YEA! class is made up of some of the best and brightest students from across the region, ranging from ages 12 to 17. The students represent Langley High School, Swanson Middle School, Wakefield High School, and Williamsburg Middle School, and Yorktown High School.

"The Chamber is honored to serve as an essential partner for business success to all of our members, regardless of age. We are thrilled to continue this important program and welcome these 12 exceptional students to the 2016-2017 YEA! class," said Chamber President & CEO Kate Bates. "We look forward to watching these students grow as young entrepreneurs and pursue their business dreams."

YEA! 2016-2017 Class takes a field trip to TechShop DC-Arlington
Just weeks ago, the Chamber kicked off the 2016-2017 YEA! academic year with an orientation session to give students and parents a preview of what to expect throughout the next 30 weeks. The session was led by Chamber President & CEO Kate Bates, along with YEA! Program Manager Alex Held and program instructor Barbara Nicastro of The Law Office of Barbara Nicastro. Students will continue to develop their concepts in preparation for the Investor Panel, a business plan competition judged by local business leaders, on March 30, 2017 at Marymount University

Regarding new member Mark Yates, Jr., Bates said, "We are so proud of Mark for his accomplishments in his business, and we are excited to work with him to help his business grow and prosper. Mark joining the Chamber is a true testament to the value of YEA! and the critical role of this program in helping our business leaders of tomorrow succeed."

Since graduating from YEA! in May 2016, Mark has continued to operate his business, enjoying the busiest summer on record for his business, all while maintaining strong relationships with Chamber members who helped him grow his business. He is the youngest member in the history of the Arlington Chamber.


For access to this release and other statements by the Chamber, click  here.
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The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is made possible thanks to our sponsors , including:
Premier Partner - Beach Geeks 
Innovation Sponsor -  Graham Holdings Company
University Partner - Marymount University

The Arlington Chamber's Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an after-school program held in partnership with Marymount University that transforms middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs. Throughout the academic year, students are taught by volunteer entrepreneurs, business owners, and business managers who use their personal experience to demonstrate how to develop business ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch to investors for start-up funds, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and more. By the end of the curriculum, students own and operate fully-formed businesses, which may be continued after graduation from the program.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy national program was founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation and today serves thousands of students in communities across America. 

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Founded in 1924, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce is a member-centric, volunteer-based, non-profit organization of approximately 700 businesses committed to the economic and civic well-being of the community. For more information or to become a member, visit the Chamber's website.

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