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MVCC entrepreneur program receives funding from Berkshire Bank

By Traci DeLore (


UTICA, N.Y. — The Mohawk Valley Community College Foundation, Inc. received a $5,000 award from Berkshire Bank in support of the college’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!). Since 2017, Berkshire Bank has committed $30,000 to the program.

“Supporting young entrepreneurs in becoming business owners is a passion of mine,” Berkshire’s VP of Business Baking Matthew Nicholl said in a press release. “It also aligns with the core values at Berkshire Bank in providing financial education to assist local communities and fueling small businesses. We believe empowering the success of those who we serve drives our own success.”

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The YEA! program is an afterschool program that takes students in grades 6-12 through the process of starting and running a business. Students work with local business leaders, community members, and educators to develop ideas and goals, write business plans, pitch to potential investors, obtain funding, and develop their brand identity. The goal is to encourage students and help develop a more diverse small-business community in the region.

“The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a one-of-a-kind program which helps develop the next generation of business leaders in our region and provides an opportunity for students to gain immeasurable skill to aid them in business, college, and beyond,” YEA! Program Manager and instructor Michelle Truett said. “In 2022, we graduated our 10th YEA! class, marking just over 130 students who have created their own businesses in industries ranging from clothing, food, the arts, technology, services, and more.”

The YEA! program operates in 168 communities across the country. MVCC has offered the program for nine years.


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