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.

Entrepreneurship program honored by City of Gainesville

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Gainesville’s City Commission officially declared July 7, 2016, as Young Entrepreneurship for Leadership & Sustainability (YELS) Day, honoring the entrepreneurship program that has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students for a decade.

YELS, offered by the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center at the Warrington College of Business, is a summer program designed for college-bound high school students where they spend four weeks on UF’s campus learning about entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. Among the activities available to students are taking two college-level courses, completing 60-plus 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.

More than 300 students have participated in YELS, which received the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) 2016 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education—Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program Award in January. In the program’s 10 years, YELS participants have contributed more than 35,000 hours of volunteer service to nearly 100 non-profit organizations with a value of more than $777,000.

“YELS would not exist without the support of people in this community, so to be recognized by the City of Gainesville in this way is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Kristin Joos, founding director of YELS. “We are lucky to benefit from the ever-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Gainesville, and our hope is that students come away from YELS realizing that change begins in their local communities—that even small actions can have big impacts, helping to make the world a healthier, happier, more just and sustainable home for us all.”

In the proclamation, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe thanked the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center “for organizing an exemplary program; the staff of YELS, including both the UF students who serve as staff members for the program and Dr. Kristin Joos, who devote their summers to empowering students to become change makers; and the high school students who choose to attend YELS and spend their summer learning the key mindsets of entrepreneurs while endeavoring to make a positive impact in the world, starting right here in Gainesville.”

For information on YELS, visit ufyoungentrepreneurs.org.