DEARBORN, MI – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), a new initiative of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, received $10,000 from DTE Energy which will enable 24 students to create and launch their own businesses.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking educational program, offered at University of Michigan-Dearborn, Tuesday evenings, 4:30 – 7:30 pm, that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running a REAL business! Students work closely with local business leaders to cultivate and research business ideas, write a business plan, pitch their plan to a panel of investors (think Shark Tank meets The Apprentice meets American Idol!), obtain funding, develop their brand, participate in a Trade Show at the end of the year, and actually launch their enterprise! Through the YEA! program, kids 11 to 18 years old start as students and graduate as CEOs. They learn to make a job–not just take a job!
“Without major gifts such as this from important local community partners, we would be unable to offer this life-changing program,” said YEA! program manager Peggy Richard. “We are so excited to participate in the national movement of making experiential entrepreneurship education available to youth in our area. This is how, as a society and as a nation, we’re ultimately going to change the world!”
Local educators and business executives are thrilled with the promise of the YEA! program to bestow upon its students valuable real-life skills and training. “One of the most interesting components of the program is the actual behind the scenes knowledge the students are given from local business leaders, who were at one time, standing in their shoes!” said Madelyn B. Williams, Regional Relations Manager, DTE Energy. “The experience is something they will be able to apply to whatever field they choose to enter, thereby giving them the necessary skills to become future leaders of industry.”
“The entire community is really on board with school’s plans to launch the program in the fall,” adds Dearborn Superintendent Brian Whiston. “We are urging all local business leaders to become involved with the program and act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs.” By partnering with YEA!, both large and small companies/businesses volunteer their time and services acting as business mentors, field trip hosts, guest lecturers, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys, etc. Community support strengthens the program, and the academy strengthens the community!
When asked why the Dearborn Area Chamber chose to partner with YEA!, Richard responded, “Our chamber has always been committed to improving our local community and preparing our area’s youth to meet the challenges of today’s world, and the YEA! program is in perfect alignment with that mission. We can’t wait to see all of the enterprises students in our area will be launching!
The Dearborn Area Chamber and the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights School Districts are proud to make it possible for middle and high school students in our area to start and launch their own REAL businesses and experience firsthand that they really can embrace their passion, live their dream and change the world! The Chamber is seeking applications from students interested in applying for this exciting curriculum to begin October 2013. Tuition is $395 for 30-week curriculum. Partial scholarships are available. Application forms can be found at www.dearbornareachamber.org/education/ .