SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — If the children are our future, the Metro Savannah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce intends to make it a prosperous one.

Through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), Chamber founder Alfonso Ribot wants to prepare local youth not just to get a job, but to create them.

“Not just for the kids, but for the entire family. Can you imagine having a business consultant in your family,” asked Alfonso Ribot, founder of the Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“It could be a great wealth creator for the families, and that’s what I’m focusing on,” explained Ribot.

With a planned launch in January, the YEA! program will teach middle and high school students how to create a business from idea, to business plan, to a pitch in front of investors for start-up cash.

“It’s not Monopoly. It’s real money,” he said. “So that they can further their program, social movement or business.”

YEA! will be an after-school program, 3 hours a week, starting in Chatham, Bryan, Liberty and Effingham counties. Ribot says Hispanic students are a target group, but it’s open to everyone.

“All the materials have been designed. All the instructors will have training. All the speakers know exactly what they’re going to speak about,” said Ribot.

While teens will be learning entrepreneurial skills, Ribot says the program is really about local families carving out their own path.

“They can be employed in a family-owned business, and that’s what this nation was built on, family-owned businesses,” he said.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a national program, with more than 100 sites. It started in 2004 at the University of Rochester, in western New York.