Capital Area Finance Authority (CAFA) has awarded a grant to Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge (YEA BR) that will provide seed funding to student entrepreneurs in grades 8-12. The grant will assist students with initial operating expenses as they launch their own Louisiana-based businesses in the spring.

During the Academy, students pitch their businesses to a Shark Tank-like panel of investors for an opportunity to obtain seed funding for their start-ups. Last year’s class of 26 high school students launched 21 businesses, receiving a total of $25,000 in seed funding.

Mark Drennen, President and CEO of Capital Area Finance Authority, stated, “A key part of CAFA’s mission is to be a positive catalyst for building community and ultimately contributing to the region's growth and forward progress. By developing student entrepreneurs in our community, YEA BR is equipping the next generation of leaders to maintain that momentum of growth and progress. CAFA is proud to support these young student CEOs.”

With the support of local businesses along with LED, BRAC and the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business, YEA BR’s immersive program runs from September to April.  The program is open to students in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes. 

YEA BR executive director Sarah Munson commented, “Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Baton Rouge and CAFA share the vision of building community throughout our nine-parish region. Our students transform into Louisiana’s CEOs of tomorrow. We are so grateful for CAFA’s support which helps to launch their future success.” 

Applications for this year’s program are due by August 21, with need-based scholarships available. Space is limited. Students, parents, educators and donors can learn more at

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