How Volunteers Support the Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Formerly the co-owner of Welco Construction, Vince Alfonso now shares ownership of Ridge Produce in the Bronx, New York. Away from work, Vince Alfonso supports up-and-coming business owners through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy.
Commonly referred to as YEA!, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy was established in 2004. The organization provides middle school and high school students a yearlong program that teaches them about market research, business development, and venture pitching.
In order to carry out its program, YEA! relies on the volunteerism of its community. Business professionals and advocates are invited to support the growth of young entrepreneurs by volunteering time as roundtable participants and mentors. The roundtable consists of three to five local chief executive officers, from varying backgrounds, at each session. CEOs share their business roles and give advice on how to operate a business network effectively.
Business mentorships are conducted on a one-to-one basis with students. Mentors dedicate 90 minutes of their time weekly for seven weeks, guiding mentees through the creation of their business plan. They also aid in students’ preparation of their investor panel presentation, which can result in financial backing.