Application deadline extended for entrepreneur academy

The application deadline has been extended to July 31 for middle and high school students interested in participating in the Young Entrepreneur Academy in Grand Junction.

“We realize that summer is a difficult time to set and meet deadlines. And we want to make sure that every budding student entrepreneur in the valley is aware of the opportunity that this program allows for students to start their own businesses,” said Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber is only the second in Colorado to offer the Young Entrepreneur Academy program.

Classes are set to start at Western Colorado Community College in Grand Junction this fall for the academy, a program that takes students  ages 11 through 18 through the process of launching a business or social movement over the course of an academic year. Working with educators and local business leaders, participants will brainstorm ideas, write business plans, pitch proposals to investors, obtain funding and develop branding. By the end of the class, students will own and operate fully formed and functioning businesses they may continue to operate.

Gayle Jagel developed the academy in 2004 while serving as director of the office of special programs at the University of Rochester in New York. Four years later, the academy was spun off from the university and a not-for-profit corporation was created to offer the program at universities, colleges and schools across the United States.

The academy is the only pre-college program developed by an entrepreneur at a university with support from a major entrepreneurial foundation, the Kauffman Foundation, and United States Chamber of Commerce.

Applications and additional information are available online from the website at