Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Pitch New and Exciting
Business Ideas to “Shark Tank” Investor Panel
DEARBORN, MI– Metro Detroit student entrepreneurs took the stage to present their unique and innovative business plans before a “Shark Tank” style investor panel of local leaders of industry and a public audience on Thursday, March 24 at the Arab American National Museum in Downtown East Dearborn. Grant Sobczak, a student at Churchill High School in Livonia, and owner and founder of Modern Mind Technology was chosen to represent Metro Detroit at the Saunders Scholars Semi-Final Competition in Rochester, New York in early May.
14 students who attend numerous school districts across Metro Detroit in grades 6 through 12 presented 10 new businesses and social movements as a part of the Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) annual Investor Panel event (think Shark Tank meets The Apprentice meets American Idol!). The event, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, included presentations that detailed the students’ specific plans on marketing their organizations, business financials, and production of their product or social cause. Based on the appeal and merit of the students’ plans and presentations, the panel awarded specific amounts of funds to each business or social movement.
“Our students really impressed the investor panel and our audience,” commented Ron Hinrichs, Director of Events & Media Relations and Metro Detroit YEA! Program Manager with the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “It was such a wonderful experience to see all of their hard work come to fruition as they prepare to launch their dream enterprises!”
Each student was awarded startup funding for their business, including Flipside2in1, Destyne Moss and Marihon Westley ($372), Fresh2Go Smoothies & Treats, Paige Kennedy ($522), Infinum, Alyeldin Shahin and Ahmed Hassoun ($899), Jar Necklace, Asia Al-Battawi ($522), Little Picasso, Eman Azrak ($479), Mama’s Homemade Vinaigrette, Malak Mohsen ($664), Modern Mind Technology, Grant Sobczak ($1,088), Over the Rainbow Handmade Accessories, Zeinab Al-Hachami and Shelby Bradford ($439), PieGuy Pies, Nolan Beatty ($507), and Veletics Apparel, Hajer Noshi ($478).
The investors selected one business to advance to the YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-Final Competition that will take place in early May in Rochester, New York, where they will compete for college scholarships and an all-expenses paid trip, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to America’s Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. to compete at the National Competition. This year’s chosen business was Modern Mind Technology, owned and operated by Livonia Churchill High School student Grant Sobczak. Asia Al-Battawi of Jar Necklace was the runner-up.
Adding to the excitement, Sam’s Club of Southgate presented a complimentary membership and bouquet of flowers to a deserving student following the presentations. This year, Sam’s Club chose Paige Kennedy, CEO of Fresh2Go Smoothies and Treats.
The Investor Panel was made up of area business leaders including Fouad Ashkar of DTE Energy, Sean McGraw of Sean McGraw State Farm Agency, Dr. Hassen Hammoud of the Rotary Club of Dearborn, Eric Nemeth of Varnum Attorneys at Law, Harold Drews of Sun Glo Services, Rudaina Hamade of RPMS Group, Adam Sterling of Henry Ford Village Retirement Community, Fahd Shamery of Sam’s Club, and 2015 Saunders Scholars Semi-Finalist Ahmed Beydoun of BigTime Graphics.
“Our YEA! students are among thousands nationwide enrolled in this 30-week entrepreneurial education class that teaches kids how to generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and successfully launch their own, legally-registered companies,” said Jackie Lovejoy, President of the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is such a wonderful experience to have the opportunity to work with the next generation of leaders in Metro Detroit through this exceptional program!”
The Dearborn Area Chamber is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Metro Detroit YEA! program, which will begin in October, 2016. The program is open to all middle and high school students in the Metro Detroit region. Applications and more information can be found at the Chamber’s website, www.DearbornAreaChamber.org or by calling the Chamber office at (313) 584-6100.
The Metro Detroit YEA! program, hosted by the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce, receives major funding from the DTE Energy Foundation, and from the Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy Ambassadors Club, including Eric Nemeth of Varnum Attorneys at Law and Rudaina Hamade of RPMS Group, co-founders and Premier Ambassadors. The program is also sponsored by the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Sean McGraw-State Farm Agency, Sun Glo Restoration, the Rotary Club of Dearborn, Active Solutions Group, Raymond James, Member Focus Community Credit Union, Janet Pipkens of Citizens Bank, ACCESS Growth Center, Eastborn Market, Al-Ameer Restaurant, Empire Realty Group, Inc., Sam Baydoun Century 21, Khansa Medical Center, Leader Printing and Mailing, Little Caesars of Dearborn, John Zadikian Multimedia Communications, Fairlane Town Center, Henry Ford Village, and Biggby Coffee of Dearborn. The University of Michigan-Dearborn is hosting this year’s program on their main campus. Fairlane Town Center will host the program’s Trade Show on Saturday, April 30.
Be sure to follow the Metro Detroit YEA! on facebook at Metro Detroit Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Follow the Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook at facebook.com/DearbornAreaChamber, on Twitter @DbnAreaChamber and the Chamber website for all the latest Chamber news and events.
The Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce provides 600+ members with the opportunities and resources to engage and network with other businesses, enhancing financial growth, professional development, and the ability to contribute to a thriving community environment.