Rachel Zietz started her YEA business,  Gladiator Lacrosse,  and after pitching on ABC TV’s Shark Tank she  surpassed $1M in sales.

Rachel Zietz started her YEA business, Gladiator Lacrosse, and after pitching on ABC TV’s Shark Tank she surpassed $1M in sales.

To create, build, and launch your own business, Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge is the foundation you've been waiting for.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge (YEA BR) is an after-school program that teaches you how to start and run your own company.  To identify your new business idea, instructors from the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business help you connect your talents and interests to a business opportunity. Over the academic year, you will create a business plan, pitch to an investor panel for seed money, file your business with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, and launch your own company. Moreover, high school students who graduate from the Academy qualify for LSU credit.

Nationwide, over 9,000 students have launched more than 6,000 businesses and non-profits, cool inventions, and fun ideas. YEA students have been featured in national magazines, TV shows, on the news and in local papers. And it’s not only about business — YEA students are starting organizations that are doing everything from teaching English to students in foreign countries to reducing our carbon footprint. They are changing the world.

Education is not the learning of facts, it’s rather the training of the mind to think.
— Albert Einstein

About the AcademY

  • A fun, projects-based after-school program for Baton Rouge area students entering grades 8-12

  • Hosted at the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, with access to:

    • LSU faculty from Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems

    • Fellows from the Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute

    • LSU Business Education Complex

    • LSU Innovation Park MBA graduate students, engineering interns, mass communications interns, and business counselors

    • ProtoStripes prototyping center at LSU Innovation Park

    • LSU Student Incubator – networking space and counselors

  • Taught by business school instructors and local entrepreneurs

  • High school student graduates qualify for LSU credit

  • Classes meet Wednesdays 5-8 PM from September to March except during breaks - dinner is provided

  • Tuition is $995, with need-based scholarships available

  • Learn business fundamentals through lectures, projects, and field trips to area businesses

  • Develop your own business plan that you can carry forward after graduation from the Academy

  • Build skills that will change your life...no business experience is required, only a drive to succeed

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What you get out of it

  • Turn your passions and talents into a real business

  • Build a network of like-minded entrepreneurs

  • Learn from proven, successful entrepreneurs and mentors

  • Write a business plan

  • Develop your brand by creating a company logo and website

  • Perfect your elevator pitch

  • Sell your products at a trade show

  • File your business with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office

  • Meet with members of the media

  • Learn from area businesses through field trips

  • Learn about franchises and other business structures

  • Develop an understanding about expenses, income and taxes

  • Hear about available government resources

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
— Walt Disney

Success stories

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Shreyas Parab

CEO, NovelTie

Shreyas Parab founded NovelTie, a company that makes unique neckties, such as “stud muffin,” and “chick magnet,” using symbols, icons and words. He got the idea because his school requires boys to wear ties.

“It’s something very few kids get to say, but, I am a small business owner,” says Parab, who participated in the YEA class hosted by National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) of Greater Philadelphia.

“Through YEA!, I have learned basic and advanced lessons from experienced business leaders, entrepreneurs, and mentors. I now know how to perfect an elevator pitch, write a comprehensive and thorough business plan, network with professionals, turn a business into a legal entity, and more importantly, I learned the dedication and determination it takes to be an entrepreneur, a small business owner, and a member of the professional world,” says Parab.

After being named a finalist in YEA’s Saunders Scholars Competition, Parab is preparing to head to Washington, DC to compete for up to $50,000 in college scholarship funding and business prize packages.

I learned the dedication and determination it takes to be an entrepreneur, a small business owner, and a member of the professional world.
— Shreyas Parab, CEO, NovelTie

Rachel Zietz

CEO, Gladiator Lacrosse

If you were a 13-year-old lacrosse player who didn’t like the equipment on the market, what would you do? Well, if you were Rachel Zietz, you would start your own company. That company, Gladiator Lacrosse, was launched through YEA, and has surpassed $1 Million in sales.

Rachel was involved through every step of product development—from product conception to selection of materials, packaging and actual manufacturing, her attention to detail led Gladiator Lacrosse to be the top seller on both Amazon and eBay.

She signed lacrosse superstar, Casey Powell, as the brand ambassador, and pitched Gladiator Lacrosse to the Sharks on ABCs Shark Tank, getting a tweet from Robert Herjavec himself, “Rachel will have a seat next to me in the tank one day, she’s a shark in the making!”


Brandon Boynton

CEO, MostBeastlyStudios, LLC

Brandon Boynton is a 2014 graduate of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce YEA class in Anderson, IN. Boynton is the CEO of MostBeastlyStudios LLC, a mobile applications development suite.

While in the YEA program, Brandon focused on his flagship product, The BullyBøx, a mobile application that allows students to safely an anonymously report bullying in schools. The app empowers students by allowing them to report on a platform that is comfortable to them…their mobile devices. 

Since graduating from YEA, Boynton has been featured on CNBC and in several national publications.  As a result of their momentum, MostBeastlyStudios has  built additional apps across various mobile platforms. Not only has Boynton served on his local Chamber of Commerce, he was appointed to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business panel.  He has also returned to YEA to serve as a mentor.

YEA and the people behind it truly changed my life.
— Brandon Boynton, CEO, MostBeastlyStudios, LLC


Embark on your journey to success.  Join YEA BR and see where the journey takes you.


Let us answer your questions about the Academy and how to get involved.  

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