Young entrepreneurs prove you're never too young to have a great idea

The Detroit program of the national Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, held an Investor Panel on the Wayne State University campus on March 24.

YEA! offers year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Students learn how to develop business ideas, write business plans and conduct market research in these classes.

The WSU/Detroit program is unique to YEA! programs across the country in that it focuses exclusively on preparing female entrepreneurs. The driving force in establishing the program was the foundation of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO/EXCEL).

The Investor Panel event offered students the chance to pitch their business ideas to actual investors. All 11 student businesses received some funding. The total amount awarded was $10,000, said NAWBO/EXCEL President Carol Kirkland.

Judges on the panel included: Dr. Anna Amato, founder of edtec central, LLC; Mary Buchzeiger, CEO of Sure Solutions and Lucerne International; James Carissimi, president of JMC Electrical Contractor, LLC; Melissa Hughes, CEO of Live Rich. Spread Wealth; and Han Peng, microloan fund manager of the Michigan Women’s Foundation.

Photos from the event can be found here.

The student business chosen to advance to the next round of YEA!’s national pitch competition was TAV Formalwear, whose CEO is Tahvya Krok.

Tahvya advances to the winner’s circle of the Saunders Scholars National Semi-Finals Competition May 5-7 in Rochester, New York. The students who are selected by the judges as the six National Finalists will win an all-expense paid trip to attend America’s Small Business Summit, June 13-15 in to Washington, DC.