DEARBORN, Michigan – The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) fall of 2014 class. YEA! is a program that guides middle and high school students through launching and running their own real businesses or social movements.
Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, today YEA! serves thousands of students in communities across America.
In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce and Campaign for Free Enterprise became a national sponsor and partner of the program to help promote the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders. Through coordination with its network of local chambers of commerce, the U.S. Chamber has helped communities across the country adopt the YEA! program. Together, YEA! and the U.S. Chamber are celebrating the power and promise of young people in business and encouraging the next greatest generation to make a job, not just take a job.
YEA! is a groundbreaking and exciting year long class that transforms middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Throughout the class, students develop: business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors, and actually launch and run their own real, legal, fully formed companies and social movements. Wendy Fichter, program manager of the program, during a CW50 Street Beat interview says, “(YEA!) kids who graduate with this opportunity really have a leg up on the business owners today.” Fichter goes on to say, “I think many (business owners today) don’t have business plans or ideas written down and put into practice.”
Demetrius Harmon and Carrington Bell, class of 2013 YEA! graduates, designed clothes made of vinyl and 100% cotton to avoid clothes from shrinking or fading. Harmon stated, “(Our clothes) stay the same. You can wear it over and over like brand new.” Their line of Detroit Creativity Apparel received the most funding from investors concluding their YEA! experience and they were invited to pitch their product in Rochester, New York for more investors from around the U.S.
YEA! is open to all students in grades 7-12. Accepted applicants will be provided access to valuable resources like attorneys, accountants, business mentors, and graphic designers; plus an audience with investors for REAL start-up cash! Students will even have the opportunity to win college scholarships! Fichter stated, “Any kid who wants to work for themselves, this would be a great program.”
Students are not only taught skills to start and run a business but most students exclaimed the program helped teach them to develop leadership skills, teamwork skills, time management, peer development, and organizational skills. “(YEA! shows its graduates) how business in the real world works.” ,says YEA! program manager, Ron Hinrichs.
Applicants are required to fill out the application along with submit a $10 application fee, complete the essay and the short answer questions, submit their transcripts, submit a letter of recommendation, and participate in an interview. No prior experience with business is required to be considered for acceptance. Scholarship and program applications are both available to download from the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce or can be requested by calling 313-584-6100.
The selection process is competitive and applicants are urged to apply early. Both program and scholarship applications must be postmarked by September 30, 2014 to be considered into the Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) fall of 2014 class. YEA! kicks off on October 30, 2014 and ends June 4, 2015. Classes will be held at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Mardigian Library on Thursdays from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.