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YEA! Program

From left, former state senator and Locate Finger Lakes representative Michael Nozzolio, FLCC President Robert Nye, CCC President Brian Durant, and YEA! program founder and CEO Gayle Jagel.

Cayuga Community College has extended the deadline for a business program.

Students will have until Oct. 12 to apply for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, which guides middle and high school students through creating a business or nonprofit agency, according to a news release. Students will work with faculty and local business leaders to grow their own business idea, create a business plan and pitch that concept to potential investors for funding before starting their enterprise. Regional economic development firm Locate Finger Lakes is working with CCC to host the program.

“This is an incredible opportunity for local students to experience launching their own business, and everything that comes with it. There’s no other program like this in the Cayuga County area,” CCC President Brian Durant said.

The press release said students ages 11 to 18 who live within the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES district are eligible for the program, and the application fee for students has been waived. Before being accepted, students would have to complete a questionnaire, write an essay and interview. Courses are set to generally be held 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays starting in October at CCC's Auburn campus. Since it began in 2004, graduates of the academy have started over 6,000 enterprises, the release said. Over 100 academies exist among 37 sates.

More information is available at or by contacting program manager Pam Heleen at

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