Young Entrepreneurs Academy

applications now available detroit skyline

2016 yea logo v2

Sponsored by:

The Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy Ambassador’s

Applications are now available for the 2018-2019 program year! For the paper application, click here!

Click here for the online application! To nominate a student, click here!

Watch this special story featuring one of our 2015 grads on WXYZ Channel 7!

Watch this special story featuring some of our 2015-2016 students from WDIV, Local 4!

Watch this short video to learn more about the exciting program we call YEA!

Meet the YEA! Class of 2017-2018!


 To apply or for more information, call (313) 584-6100

Email PJ Lemanski our Program Manager at or our President Jackie Lovejoy at 

What is the Metro Detroit YEA!?

The Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a groundbreaking and prestigious program that empowers young people to take control of their futures in a bold and powerful way, transforming students into CEOs of their own real businesses!  Our program, held on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, is the recipient of the 2016 Directors Award at a national level from the corporate office of YEA!, is a recent recipient of a proclamation from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, and has been featured prominently in our local media. Click here to watch a short intro video, here for our recent story on WDIV Local 4, and here for our story on WXYZ channel 7!
In the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, kids ages 11–18, learn how to turn their passions, skills, and talents into a real business or social movement!  In YEA!, students come up with a big idea, pitch that idea for real funding to an investor panel (just like “Shark Tank”), and actually launch a fully formed, legally registered business – starting as students and graduating as CEOs – YEA! teaches kids how to make a job, not just take a job, all in less than 100 hours!

Over the course of the program, students:

  • Brainstorm business ideas
  • Write a business plan
  • Interact with business professionals
  • Pitch their business plan to investors for real startup funding! (think Shark Tank meets the Apprentice meets American Idol)
  • Obtain funding
  • Legally register their businesses
  • Participate in a Trade Show
  • Actually launch their own businesses or social movements


Why Apply?

This program offers students the chance to:

  • Develop the skills necessary to launch their own business or social movement (hands-on entrepreneurial experience!)
  • Learn about real businesses – why they succeed or fail.
  • Hear from local entrepreneurs.
  • Launch their own business or social movement!
  • Become more confident in their ideas and their abilities.

Organization of Program

YEA! classes will meet November through May, for three hours weekly.    Applications will be accepted from students in grades 6-12.

There are no classes during regular school holidays and recesses. Students are taught by an instructor, but are exposed to guest lecturers, successful entrepreneurs and business mentors. The class goes on field trips to a variety of local businesses. Finally, the students participate in three major events throughout the year: the Investor Panel, Trade Show and a formal graduation ceremony.


Student Selection Process

To apply for YEA!, students must:

  • Fill out the YEA! application. Download here.
  • Complete the essay and the short answer questions
  • Submit their transcripts
  • Submit a letter of recommendation

Once the completed application packet is received, students will be asked to come in for an interview. Acceptance in the program is based on all aspects of an application, as well as the personal interview. Prior experience with business is not required!

How Business Professionals Can Get Involved

Through their interactions with business professionals during the year, YEA! students gain some of the most important knowledge and experience they need to succeed. Local professionals volunteer their time and expertise as guest speakers, mentors, investors, graphic designers, field trip hosts, business plan reviewers, and much more. The time YEA! students spend with adults who encourage their futures is invaluable, and participants often report getting even more out of their participation than they put in to it!
If you are interested in becoming involved with YEA! as a guest speaker, field trip host, or volunteer, contact PJ Lemanski at (313) 584-6100 or email


 2017-18 Sponsors

A big thank you to our sponsors, who have helped bring YEA! to the Dearborn Area:

DTE Energy Foundation

Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy Ambassadors Club

Eric Nemeth, Premier Ambassador,Varnum LLP
Rudaina Hamade, Premier Ambassador, RPMS Group
Dr. Ned Fawaz, Premier Ambassador, Energy International Corporation

University of Michigan-Dearborn (Site Sponsor)
Marlon Westley, Master Plumber’s, Inc.
Sean McGraw State Farm Insurance
Sunglo Restoration Services
Active Solutions Group
Member Focus Community Credit Union
Rotary Club of Dearborn
ACCESS Growth Center
Raymond James
Al-Ameer Restaurant
Eastborn Market
Empire Realty Group
Sam Baydoun-Century 21
Dr. Mohamad Khansa, Khansa Medical Center
Little Caesars of Dearborn, Dartmouth/Monroe
Trinity Transportation-Transportation Sponsor
Fairlane Town Center

Demetrius Harmon, a graduate of the 2013-2014 class, explains how the Young Entrepreneur’s program helps to encourage the entrepreneurs of tomorrow on CBS CW50 Street Beat Program that aired April 18, 2014.  Click here for video.

 For more information, call (313) 584-6100

or email