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Chamber receives funds for youth program 

Chambers of commerce receive funding from Sam’s Club and US Chamber of Commerce Foundation to launch youth entrepreneurship programYoung entr.

— The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Templeton Chamber of Commerce received $5,000 in startup funds to launch the first Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA! in the region. The donation – $2,500 from Sam’s Club, matched by $2,500 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – opens doors for area students ages 11 to 18 to go through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year.

The program is describes as, “an innovative after-school educational program that works to transform middle and high school students into confident entrepreneurs.” By the end of the class, the goal is that students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program. Classes will be run by the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Templeton Chamber of Commerce and hosted at Cuesta College from Nov. 2015 to May 2016.

“Since opening our doors, Sam’s Club has been committed to supporting small businesses. We’re happy to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in North County by helping to educate students about what it takes to be a successful business owner” said Sam’s Club Market Manager Louie Santos.

“The U.S. Chamber Foundation is delighted 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, managing director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “By offering support for these educational programs, we hope to emphasize what a powerful tool entrepreneurship can be.”

The program was developed in 2004 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., with support from the Kauffman Foundation. It now receives national support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Sam’s Club to help promote the spirit of enterprise and build the next generation of business leaders in communities across the country.

“YEA! will help the Stronger Futures Foundation and the Paso Robles and Templeton Chambers of Commerce to fulfill their goals of supporting small business development in our community by training our future leaders and helping them to establish strong, lasting relationships with their hometown business community,” says Pam Avila, CEO of Stronger Futures and economic development director of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce. “This program will enhance business education for students and provide a unique, challenging and fulfilling experience for all participants,” said Sarah Maggelet, the executive director of the Templeton Chamber of Commerce.

During classes, students will brainstorm and form their business ideas, make pitches to investors for startup funding, file their DBAs, and launch their own businesses or social movements. Mentors and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries, such as graphic design, web development, law, accounting, retail, manufacturing, technology and more are invited to support the students throughout the hands-on curriculum as mentors, field trip hosts or guest lecturers.

For more information or to apply today, visit or contact Pam Avila at or call (805) 238-0506.

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