YELL is focused on establishing young individuals learn about the work world, build a supportive network, and acquire foundations of business.
Photo courtesy Vivian Lago
Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Launchpad
By Minnie Lo
Published 12:22 PDT, Fri August 18, 2023
YELL (Youth Entrepreneurship and Leadership Launchpad) is an exceptional educational program that was founded by three entrepreneurs with diverse backgrounds in family businesses. Drawing from their own experiences and recognizing the benefits of early exposure to business, the founders established YELL to help young individuals learn about the world of work, build a supportive network, and acquire the foundations of business.
This past academic year, the Richmond program was offered at Richmond Secondary School and was taught by Mr. Garrett Cox. The program has expanded its reach across various locations, including North Vancouver (at Handsworth and Sutherland), West Vancouver, and Surrey. They also have classes at Mulgrave School, Burnaby Mountain Secondary, Vancouver Technical Secondary, and Pinetree Secondary. As well as classes at F.H. Collins Secondary (Whitehorse, Yukon), Ross Sheppard High (Edmonton, Alberta) and Bert Church High (Airdrie, Alberta) and five classes in the Northern British Columbia region.
YELL is an outstanding educational program dedicated to empowering youths with the skills, knowledge, and network they will need to thrive in the future. Its mission is to provide high school students with relevant educational experiences that evolve with the times. YELL bridges the gap by structuring its program to resemble a university course, ensuring students are well-prepared for their academic and professional journeys. Notably, YELL is Canada's first high school entrepreneurship program eligible for university credit. Simon Fraser University made YELL’s university credit opportunity a reality and opened doors for other institutions to follow their innovative leadership in this space. This opportunity allowed YELL to have champions both within the secondary school network and among the post-secondary education world. Through extensive community engagement, YELL offers students a supportive network of teachers, guest speakers, and mentors to guide them in navigating their futures.
The YELL program spans an entire year and is specifically designed for students in grades 10-12. It not only contributes towards high school graduation but also provides the opportunity to earn credits from partner post-secondary institutions for students in good standing. The curriculum covers core concepts of lean entrepreneurship, including design thinking, resiliency training, marketing, financial projections, and the Business Model Canvas. Moreover, YELL students benefit from interacting with inspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders who visit their classes to share stories and offer valuable advice.
A key component of the YELL program is the YELL's Annual Venture Challenge. After learning the concepts from the course, students form groups, identify and test assumptions, pivot their ideas if necessary, and ultimately develop a business venture. To conclude the challenge, classes from across the province come together to compete and present their business ventures to a panel of judges consisting of community members, entrepreneurs, and investors. Through this process, students learn to solve problems collaboratively and communicate effectively with their mentors, who act as guides and liaisons between the teams and the broader entrepreneurship community.
In response to the pandemic and the subsequent quarantine measures in May 2020, YELL swiftly transitioned its in-class lessons to an online format. Teachers, speakers, and mentors coordinated virtually, ensuring the program continued seamlessly. The first virtual Venture Challenge was also successfully hosted, allowing students to pitch their business ventures and present to judges who joined from their homes.
YELL has played a significant role in helping students achieve success by providing them with opportunities to discover and cultivate their entrepreneurial skills. Notable alumni, such as Andy Nguyen and Lynne Shi, have attributed their achievements to YELL. Andy, a YELL alumnus from 2019, co-founded BAK'D, a cookie business that sold over 25,000 cookies in 2021. Lynne, a YELL alumnus from 2020, secured a junior-level position immediately after graduating high school, with her networking opportunities through YELL playing a crucial role in her success.
The effectiveness of YELL is evident in its recognition within the business and education industries. The program has received generous financial support from esteemed organizations like the RBC Foundation, Coast Capital Savings, Telus, Mulgrave School, CPA, KPMG, KPU, Road Forward, Cadence Charity Services, MNP, UNBC, and the Ministry of British Columbia.
We thank Amit Sandhu the co-founder of YELL Canada and Vivian Lago the director of national operations of YELL Canada for providing information. For more information about YELL, individuals can watch the program's explanatory video on YouTube (youtu.be/4TK-Bo9mZU8) or reach out to the YELL team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, there is a contact form available on the YELL website at yellcanada.org/contact-us/ for further inquiries.