Locate Finger Lakes Business Journal

Locate Finger Lakes Joins with the Presidents of Cayuga Community College and Finger Lakes Community College to Establish Two Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA! Locations in the Finger Lakes Region

For Immediate Release


Locate Finger Lakes, represented by former New York State Senator from the Finger Lakes, Michael F. Nozzolio, joined Finger Lakes Community College President Robert Nye, Cayuga Community College President Brian Durant, and Gayle Jagel, President and CEO of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA! to announce the colleges will each host at their campuses a dynamic educational program on business and free enterprise for middle and high school students to begin this coming fall.

Cayuga Community College President Brian Durant and Finger Lakes Community College President Robert Nye today announced with Locate Finger Lakes that beginning this fall semester the colleges will each host at their campuses a dynamic educational program on business and free enterprise for middle and high school students. President Durant and President Nye made this announcement jointly with Jack Bisgrove, President and founder of Locate Finger Lakes, a regional economic development initiative, and Gayle Jagel, President and founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA!

“We are proud and excited to provide for the young people of the Finger Lakes a dynamic, internationally renowned educational program on business and free enterprise,” said Community College President, Dr. Robert Nye. “We look forward to enhancing the educational opportunities for students in our region by working with Locate Finger Lakes to host the YEA! program on our community college campuses, and further our shared mission of assisting small business development, training our future leaders and helping them establish strong, lasting relationships with their hometown business community,” said Dr. Brian Durant, President of Cayuga Community College.

Cayuga Community College has a strong history of working with our local schools and businesses to develop future leaders and business opportunities, and we are excited to continue that tradition with the launch of the YEA! program at our Auburn Campus,” said Cayuga President Brian Durant. “Our local students have fresh business ideas, and the YEA! program has an exemplary record of providing students the chance to develop their ideas by connecting them with expert faculty and community business leaders. We are honored to partner with Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA!, Locate Finger Lakes and Finger Lakes Community College to bring this exciting initiative to the region.”

Locate Finger Lakes is very grateful to Presidents Durant and Nye for their vision and encouragement to establish the YEA! program for our region, said Jack Bisgrove. “Through their leadership, Cayuga Community College and the Finger Lakes Community College each will establish on their campus a Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA!, providing the young people of our region with two business and free enterprise focused educational and scholarship opportunities for middle and high school students. Locate Finger Lakes strongly believes the YEA! program will have a transformative impact for students in the region, and provide a unique, challenging and fulfilling experience for all participants. These two programs at CCC and FLCC will give young people the opportunity to learn and grow, and also explore careers that will keep them here in the Finger Lakes Region.”

“The YEA! program offers a unique model that helps bridge the business and academic communities together, while creating meaningful ties to the area for students. We are excited about launching this expansion at Cayuga Community College and the Finger Lakes Community College”, said Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA! Founder and CEO Gayle Jagel. “The YEA! program aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job. Young entrepreneurs with the right training can become a powerful force of innovative thinkers and job producers.”

The YEA! Program

The YEA! program is a cutting-edge program that takes students ages 11 to 18 through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.

The YEA! program has been tremendously impactful in locations nationwide with the over 9,000 graduates of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, YEA! having started more than 6,000 businesses while in the program. Current national sponsors of the YEA! program are the United States Chamber of Commerce, Southwest Airlines and Sam’s Club.

The program connects the local business community to the youth and the schools in the area, bringing them together numerous times throughout the course of the program, as well as the excitement and professionalism of the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition.

The YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition is a national college scholarship competition held annually in May in Rochester, New York in partnership with the Saunders Foundation and the Saunders College of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Business leaders have supported the YEA! program because it allows them to give back to their community in a manner that fosters the entrepreneurial spirit of their community’s youth, while creating invaluable networking connections for all of those involved.

The YEA! program’s mission is to work with local leaders of industry, community members and educators to develop a robust curriculum and deliver experience based entrepreneurship programs to young people to: help them transition successfully to adulthood; help them pursue their dreams by harnessing their creativity and energy; and enable educational institutions and Chambers of Commerce to provide successful and effective entrepreneurship programs for middle and high school students.

To Apply for the Locate Finger Lakes YEA! Program

Any student that wishes to participate in the Locate Finger Lakes YEA! program is urged to submit an application online at: or the YEA! program’s section on this site.

Locate Finger Lakes Contact

Michael F. Nozzolio
Telephone: 315-577-3796

About Locate Finger Lakes

Locate Finger Lakes is a Finger Lakes economic development initiative designed to assist and foster collaboration among the established Finger Lakes economic development efforts with targeted, proactive, marketing communications and networking. Locate Finger Lakes is focused on directing local, national and international business leaders to Finger Lakes information and inspire them to look closely at the region’s assets enabling their businesses, their families and their employees’ families to thrive.


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