DEARBORN — The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce will kick off the fifth year of the Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy Nov. 1 at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Supported by Beaumont Health, Varnum Law and other local businesses, middle and high school students with a keen drive to launch and run their own real businesses begin a 20-week curriculum to compete for up to $6,000 in seed money.
A competitive application process requires students to complete an essay, submit their school transcripts and a reference, and participate in an in-person interview prior to acceptance into the program. Students can apply at www.dearbornareachamber.org or call 313-584-6100.
“I’ve been involved since our first class formed in 2013,” DACC President Jackie Lovejoy said. “These kids are amazing. We have seen every type of business launched from bakers and restaurants, health care ideas, clothing and jewelry to software development and virtual reality applications. Our winners go on each year to the national competition.”
Founded in 2004 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, this is a national program; regional winners convene in Rochester, N.Y., each year to win full scholarships and further funding in a national pitch competition.
Throughout the year students will work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop business ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch to investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and more.
By the end of the 20-week class, students own and operate fully formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried after their graduation from the program.
“The innovation I’ve seen is so mind blowing to me, it’s an honor to watch these creative minds work each year” program director P.J. Lemanski said. “It’s great to see kids with a ‘maybe’ idea work it to a complete working business model.”
Classes at UM-D are instructed by local business owners and DACC members John Zadikian, Sean McGraw and Kevin Bozeman. A variety of mentors and guest speakers, and field trips are scheduled.
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a national program offered for students in grades 6 to 12 by chambers of commerce, professional organizations, colleges and universities and public and private middle and high schools.
For more information go to dearbornareachamber.org.