Four middle and high school students from Rhinebeck Central School District received CEO status on after completing the Young Entrepreneurs Academy 2013-2014 Program.

The graduation celebration was held during the Rhinebeck Area Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at Wilderstein Historic Site on Thursday, June 12, 2014.


“This is a very unique program, where students can actually launch real businesses or social movements”, said Cari Meltzer, Program Instructor.  The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a groundbreaking nine-month program that guides students in grades 6-12 through the process of starting a real business, including business plan development, pitching an investor panel, obtaining funding, launching the venture, managing media campaigns, e-commerce and web development, sales events, and trade shows. Students, ages 11 to 18, are taught to recognize the power of their ideas, and to develop the skills necessary to turn those ideas into meaningful enterprises. The following students make up Rhinebeck’s YEA! class:


Bulkeley Middle School Students:  Dylan Cho, Ian Cho, Owen Dentico


 Rhinebeck High School Students:  Cameron Mimoso


“We could not have implemented the YEA! Program this year without the support of our sponsors:  Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union, Kirchhoff-Consigli Construction Management, McCabe & Mack LLP and Valley Energy,” added Colleen Cruikshank, Executive Director.  “Many other Chamber members were also involved as guest speakers, mentors, CEO Round-table participants, Investor Panel judges and field trip hosts.  After two years, this program is really gaining some traction and we look forward to increasing participation from both students and business leaders.  It really is a wonderful opportunity for the school and business communities to come together.”

chamber photo kids

*Pictured left to right:

 Bob Bobirad, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union; Kim Keil, Valley Energy,

Cari Meltzer, Looking Glass B&B and Program Instructor; Dylan Cho, Ian Cho, Owen Dentico, Cameron Mimoso, Colleen Cruikshank, Executive Director.

About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more! By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job–not just take a job! YEA!’s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc., which is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old in the United States thereby making the program available to students at a variety of geographical regions, and providing them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, please call 585.272.3535 or visit


About the Rhinebeck Area Chamber of Commerce

The Rhinebeck Area Chamber of Commerce was founded as the Rhinebeck Chamber of Commerce in 1957 by a group of energetic and motivated business leaders in Rhinebeck. Throughout the years, the Chamber has grown from a small group of local businesses to more than 450 diversified businesses of all sizes throughout the Rhinebeck area.  For more information, visit