UF's Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability
Since its inception in 2007, UF's Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability program participants have completed more than 35,000 hours of community service.

CEI program recognized by national entrepreneurship organization

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida’s Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability (YELS) Summer Program, sponsored by the Warrington College of Business Administration’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI), was named a finalist for the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) 2015 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education—Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program Award. This is the second consecutive year YELS has been named a finalist for this award. “It’s truly an honor for YELS to be recognized as one of the top entrepreneurship education programs in the country— and the only program to educate high school students about entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship and sustainability,” said Dr. Kristin Joos, founding director of YELS. “Our alumni say that YELS is much more than a summer camp; it’s an experience that changes their lives. Our hope is that in five weeks at YELS, students become change-makers.” The Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program Award is given to a “college or university that has developed and currently still offers a high quality and innovative program, the purpose of which is to educate and train future generations of entrepreneurs in a niche or specialty area;…for an exemplary program that reflects innovation, quality, comprehensiveness, sustainability, depth of support, and impact.” YELS is a summer program designed for college-bound high school students where they spend five weeks on UF’s campus learning about entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Among the activities available to students are taking two college-level, entrepreneurship courses, completing 75 hours of community service, participating in a mentor program with local entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and leaders, a speaker series, and numerous field trips and venture visits.

Lessons learned from CEI program drives student to be a “change-maker”

Last year’s YELS class of 41 students completed a combined 3,675 hours of volunteer work, adding approximately $81,000 of value to the Gainesville area. Since the program’s inception in 2007, 273 high school students have participated, and together they completed 27,015 hours of service with 60 nonprofit organizations adding more than $585,000 of value to the local community. One-third of the students who participate in YELS go on to launch a venture within the first year following their experience. Upon successful completion of the program, students attending a public or private school in the state of Florida with a UF articulation may earn six credits of dual-enrollment credit. Applications for the 2015 YELS Summer Program are due March 1 (late applications will be accepted; students will be waitlisted after the program has filled). For more information, visit the YELS website or contact YELS Director Dr. Kristin Joos at 352-273-0355 or via email.