Sponsorship photo

Janet Pipkens, Assistant Vice President at Charter One Bank poses with the students and instructors of the Dearborn Area Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Charter One Bank recently made a significant donation to the Chamber’s 2014-2015 YEA! program, helping students to start and operate
their very own business.

DEARBORN, MI–The Dearborn Area Chamber’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) received a significant contribution from Charter One Bank as a part of their Colleague Choice Community Awards program for the 2014-2015 academic year. As a result of the donation, Charter One Bank has joined several Metro Detroit area businesses and organizations that have committed to support this wonderful business academy for middle school and high school students.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades seven 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 12 to 18 years old start as students and graduate as C-level executives. They learn to make a job, not just take a job!

“I am proud to be part of an organization that supports not only our local communities, but also supports financial education to our students,” commented Janet Pipkens, Assistant Vice President at Charter One Bank. “I’ve been honored to serve as a mentor with the YEA! Program for my second year and look forward to many more opportunities to support the students.”

Local business leaders and community members 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!” commented Ron Hinrichs, Director of Events & Media Relations and YEA! Program Manager at the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “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.”

“We as a community get to benefit from all the enterprises these students are creating,” mentioned Jackie Lovejoy, President of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “It sets our community up for a thriving future for years to come, and provides the training our next generation of business leaders need to steer our country towards prosperity.”

Other local businesses and organizations that have committed to supporting the Dearborn Area Chamber’s YEA! Program for the 2014-2015 program year include State Farm-Agent Sean McGraw, Sun Glo Restoration, Dearborn Rotary Club, RPM Solutions, LLC, Dearborn Branch of Raymond James, Del Taco of Dearborn Heights, Member Focus Community Credit Union, Kiwanis Club of Dearborn, ACCESS, Center Street Wealth Strategies, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Leader Printing and Mailing, Little Caesars of Dearborn, Biggby Coffee of Dearborn, and Henry Ford Village Senior Living Community.

By partnering with YEA!, both large and small companies volunteer funding, 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 program strengthens the community!