UM-D welcomes Young Entrepreneurs Academy

DEARBORN – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce and area schools will launch a business startup program at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the fall.

YEA! is an educational program that takes students in grades 6 through 12 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, 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, children ages 11 to 18 start as students and graduate as CEOs. They learn to make a job — not just take a job.
“We are so excited to participate in the national movement of making experiential entrepreneurship education available to youth all across our country,” Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Jackie Lovejoy said. “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!” Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston said. “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.”

Local professionals applauded the collaboration and clear vested interest in the future of business in the area, and anticipate the benefits of this program will reach far beyond the classroom.
“The entire community is really on board with school’s plans to launch the program in the fall,” Whiston said. “We are urging all local business leaders to become involved with the program and act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs.”

Jagel developed the YEA! program in 2004, while serving as the director of the Office of Special Programs at the University of Rochester. In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the university to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc., with help from the Kauffman Foundation, which is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.

For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, call 585-272-3535 or go to