Chamber’s YEA! program begins new classes this fall

DEARBORN — The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a program that transforms local middle and high school students into entrepreneurs, will again host classes for the 2014-15 school year beginning in the fall

YEA! takes students between the ages of 12 and 18 through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement over the course of an academic year. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried on after their graduation from the program.

YEA! aims to teach students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job. It is the only pre-college program developed by an entrepreneur, at a university, with support from a major entrepreneurial foundation, the Kauffman Foundation and the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“As the host site in the program’s inaugural year, we are so thrilled to be offering the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Young Entrepreneurs Academy program to local middle and high school students in our community,” said Jeff Evans, vice chancellor for Business Affairs at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. “This program enhances business education for our students, and provides a unique, challenging, and fulfilling experience for all participants.”

DACC Yea! students are already heavily involved in student-body activities and pride themselves on hard work, which bodes well for the program, since it requires a nine-month commitment from its young executives. In this time, students will brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to real investors, obtain funding, file their “doing business as,” and by the end, actually launch their own business or social movement.

Business mentors and local entrepreneurs across a variety of industries will support the students throughout the program. All of the learning is real and experiential.

“One of the most interesting components of the YEA! program is the actual ‘behind the scenes’ knowledge that local business leaders are able to share with students,”DACC President Jackie Lovejoy said. “This experience is something they will be able to apply to any field they choose to enter, and will provide them with the necessary skills to become future leaders of their industries.

YEA! is accepting applications for this fall. Applications can be found by going to or by contacting DACC Program Manager Ron Hinrichs at 313-584-6100.

Two informational booths are scheduled in the next month to inform interested parties about the YEA! program. The first will be at the Dearborn Farmers and Artisans Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 25. The market is located behind the Bryant Library, 22100 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn.

The second is scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 5 at Van Houten Park in Dearborn Heights as a part of the DACC’s Family Fun Day Business Open House and National Night Out event.

Contact the chamber office at 313-584-6100 for more information on these events.